LIVE: White Sox trailing Tigers, 8-0

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LIVE: White Sox trailing Tigers, 8-0

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 1:50 p.m.

Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers signed veteran Brad Penny in the offseason to help bolster a starting rotation led by three-time All-Star Justin Verlander.

While Verlander remains a worthy ace, Penny has yet to step up.

Seeking his first win of the season for the fifth time, Penny takes the mound opposite onetime Detroit starter Edwin Jackson as the Tigers and visiting Chicago White Sox continue their three-game set Saturday.

Verlander, whose 85 wins since 2006 rank third in the majors, gave up three runs and struck out eight over seven innings of Friday's 9-3 win over Chicago (8-12).

Detroit starters have posted a 3.09 ERA in the four games since Penny (0-2, 8.44 ERA) last toed the rubber.

The right-hander, now in his 12th season, will look to regroup Saturday after allowing five runs, four hits and four walks in five-plus innings of Sunday's 5-1 loss at Oakland.

The defeat dropped Penny, who has never faced the White Sox, to 0-6 with a 6.89 ERA over his last nine starts dating to last season, but manager Jim Leyland isn't concerned.

"Penny was OK," Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "He had control problems in the one inning, but I don't worry about him at all."

The Tigers (10-10), who have outscored the White Sox 53-20 during a seven-game winning streak in this series, had averaged just 3.2 runs at home prior to Friday's offensive outburst, which was the first time this season they'd scored more than five runs at Comerica Park. Detroit has won three straight at home, and seven of 10 overall after a 3-7 start.

Utilityman Ryan Raburn homered for the second time in as many games and drove in a season-best four runs.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 13 over his last four games overall, and 6 for 21 (.286) lifetime against Jackson (2-1, 3.51), who surrendered season-worsts of 11 hits and four runs over seven innings in a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday.

"Jackson threw the ball pretty good," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We just didn't score any runs."

Other than two solo home runs from outfielder Carlos Quentin and one from first baseman Paul Konerko, the While Sox couldn't get much going offensively again in the series opener. They've batted .199 while dropping eight of their last nine games.

"Twenty games is way too early to be worried about our team," said White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, who gave up six runs to take the loss Friday. "We aren't clicking right now, but we will be."

Slugging designated hitter Adam Dunn and second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was slotted eighth in the lineup after batting second in his first 17 games, both went 0 for 4. Dunn and Beckham have a combined three hits in their last 46 at-bats.

Dunn is 6 for 31 lifetime against Penny with 16 strikeouts, but Quentin and Alex Rios are a combined 14 for 22.

Jackson, who went 13-9 while with Detroit in 2009, is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four career road starts at Comerica.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”