Chicago White Sox

Peavy picks up where he left off in spring debut

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Peavy picks up where he left off in spring debut

Friday, March 4, 2011
Posted: 2:43 p.m. Updated: 6:29 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy breezed through his first appearance of spring training, throwing a scoreless and hitless two innings.

Im relieved, pleased, Peavy said. Its a big step to get out there in a game. I did what I expected to do and hoped what I would be able to do, turn it up a level get some big league hitters out, and feel normal in doing that. I accomplished that today, and hope Ive put a lot of questions and issues to rest.

Peavy struck out Los Angeles Angels leadoff hitter Maicer Izturis on four pitches, then worked Bobby Abreu to a full count before walking him. With a 1-0 count on Torii Hunter, Peavy coaxed a 4-6-3 double play from the Angels right fielder.

In the second, Peavy punched out cleanup hitter Vernon Wells on four pitches, then completed the minimum six batters by getting Howie Kendrick to fly out to center on an 0-2 count and Erick Aybar on a 3-2 drive to left.

I put something on that pitch to Wells. I wasnt airing it out, but was putting something on the ball and trying to take it up a notch, Peavy said. The last few pens, my velocity has been slowly climbing. Ill see what I have in the tank and the end of spring training.

In all, Peavy threw just 26 pitches, allowing one walk and striking out two. From the start, he looked comfortable and smooth in striding to the mound for the first time since July 6, 2010.

I didnt throw any changeups, Peavy said. I threw some cutters and breaking balls, and obviously fastballs. Didnt really air anything out but certainly tried to put something on the ball to make it challenging for big league hitters. I missed a few barrels and balls got away from me a little bit with Abreu and Aybar. But other than that, it went pretty smoothly.

After the second inning, Peavy was given a standing ovation by White Sox players and coaches, as well as fans behind the third-base dugout, as he exited the game. Manager Ozzie Guillen and bench coach Joey Cora then orchestrated a standing ovation for the clubs incomparable trainer, Herm Schneider, who was in the dugout walkway, cautiously watching Peavys first start in eight months.

I havent been in Chicago healthy and able to do what I wanted to do, said the relieved starter. I feel very blessed that Im going to get that opportunity in the near future, and on a great team as well.

The hitless, scoreless innings stretched the streak by White Sox starters to 10 straight innings.

Today was one of those mental hurdles, he said. Today was a big moment, to get out on the mound and throw breaking balls and make big-league hitters swing and miss, to throw some fastballs around 90 mph.

The last time I stood on the mound and let a ball go to Mike Napoli, it wasnt pretty and wasnt a pretty feeling Today, I felt like I was healthy. I think I showed that today.
From here

Peavy realized that his great outing and high spirits doesnt mean its smooth sailing from here on.

Tomorrow is a big day in seeing how I feel, Peavy said. Hopefully, theres nothing abnormal. Ill just move right ahead with a bullpen session and start focusing on the next spring training start, and head toward April.

Peavy is scheduled to make his next start on March 9 at the defending champion San Francisco Giants.

Wednesday is the game plan, Peavy said. Everything is renegotiable at this point, but since you guys have been covering the story, Ive been on track. Ive been very fortunate and blessed not to have any setbacks, and I hope that continues. At the same time, if theres anything abnormal, we are likely to back off instead of pushing through because of what has happened since coming to the White Sox.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

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USA TODAY

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

HOUSTON -- Don’t think the White Sox front office isn’t enjoying every second of Yoan Moncada’s tear.

Everyone can breathe a little easier knowing there are fewer questions for baseball’s top prospect to answer headed into 2018. Pleased as they’d been with Moncada’s patient plate approach, the club desired a breakthrough before Oct. 2 for the confidence boost it would provide him alone. Moncada continued a torrid run on Wednesday night that should have him bristling with poise when he arrives in Glendale, Ariz. next February. He homered as the White Sox fell 4-3 to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“We’ve been looking for him to continue to try and make adjustments,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There was probably a point there where people were a little concerned. Truthfully, when you see some of the talent these kids have, you recognize that their skillset is going to play up, it’s just a matter of getting the repetition.”

The White Sox have been impressed with Moncada’s improved awareness as he gains more experience.

One area in which Moncada has made the most gains is pitch recognition. The book has been that second baseman has had trouble with offspeed since he arrived in 2016, hitting .154 against sliders and .238 against curveballs entering Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

But Moncada is trending upward. The first-pitch slider from Astros starter Brad Peacock that Moncada ripped for a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fourth inning was his fifth hit of the trip on a slider or curveball in 11 at-bats. On the trip, Moncada -- who has 189 plate appearances this season -- is hitting .415/.477/.683 with three homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs in 41 plate appearances.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

Given Moncada’s struggles in a brief 2016 tryout with the Boston Red Sox, having success is certainly helpful as he won’t head into another offseason wondering when it might happen for him. Moncada doesn’t compare the two situations because of playing time -- he was limited to 20 plate appearances over a month in 2016. But he agrees his recent play is good for the psyche.

“It’s important for my confidence, especially thinking about next year,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “With this run, I have been able to have more confidence and believe in myself and my talent, and I think that’s something I can carry into next season.”

“This offseason is going to be different because I’ve been able to play almost every day. I have more confidence in myself. I know the game better. Last season I had an opportunity to be at this level a little bit, but it wasn’t the same. This year is the opposite because I’ve been playing a lot and have been able to handle good and bad stretches at this level.”

While a reduction in strikeout-rate is still needed to be more effective, Moncada has begun to establish himself as a major league hitter. It’s exactly how teammate and mentor Jose Abreu hoped Moncada would spend his time this season.

“He has to get to know a lot of things at this level,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “The game, the pitchers, the culture here -- there’s a lot of little things he has to get to know here. The way you can work through it is give your best every day and try to learn as much as you can and try to use all your knowledge and to pool your knowledge on each play in the game. That’s the only way you can get results and you can build on those results and this experience for the future. I think he’s finally doing it and that’s important for him and for us thinking of the next season and beyond.”

Renteria not only likes the pitch recognition but the way that Moncada has tried to hit through the shift several times against Houston. Though the White Sox never wavered, they’re certainly happy to see Moncada produce the way they thought he eventually would.

“He’s starting to slow it down a little more,” Renteria said. “He’s starting to see more of the landscape and making adjustments in general. It’s been a good run for him. We thought he would show signs of growth at the end of the season and he’s doing that.”

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

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USA TODAY

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

This one may sting a bit, White Sox fans.  

On Wednesday evening, former White Sox ace Chris Sale accomplished a feat that no other American League pitcher has since 1999. The current Red Sox left-hander whiffed his 300th batter of the season, becoming the first A.L. hurler since Pedro Martinez to do so. 

Sale reached the impressive milestone in a dominant eight-inning, 13-strikeout gem. Vintage. 

Overall on the season, he's posted a 2.75 ERA with opponents hitting a mere .203 against him. Before his postseason debut in October, Sale has a shot at leading two franchises in season strikeout totals: 

The consolation on the South Side is that the prized prospect acquired in the Sale blockbuster had a pretty nice night himself. Yoan Moncada drilled a two-run blast in Houston, his seventh since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 19. 

The great trade debate wages on.