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.

Chris Sale strikes out 14 but White Sox fall to Mariners

Chris Sale strikes out 14 but White Sox fall to Mariners

Felix Hernandez has proven for years that he doesn’t need much help.

But the White Sox provided him with three free outs on the bases anyway on Friday night.

Those mistakes allowed Hernandez to hold the White Sox in check as they wasted a 14-strikeout performance from Chris Sale in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners in front of 25,651 at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale retired 16 in a row to end it, but it wasn’t enough as the White Sox dropped back to five games below .500.

“We didn’t run the bases very well tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That ends up costing you. You’re getting something going against them, and it just takes the wind out of your sails. Both guys pitched great.

“They just executed better than we did when they got the chance. Both guys were going strong. The way we ran the bases, we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

Sale (15-7) deserved much better than to lose for the fifth time in his last six decisions.

[MORE: White Sox trade catcher Dioner Navarro to Blue Jays]

Though he allowed a run in the second, third and fourth innings, Sale got on a roll late.

After Adam Lind’s two-out RBI double in the fourth, Sale found an extra gear and retired the last 16 Mariners to hit, including 10 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the sixth and seventh innings and afforded his teammates a chance to rally.

“Thank God we did it early because as everybody saw, when he gets on a roll it’s like lights out,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He’s obviously one of the best pitchers in the league for a reason. We had no chance, really, after the fourth and fifth inning. He got into a groove and got all his pitches working.”

Two of Seattle’s three runs off Sale came on opposite-field drives as Lind doubled to left in the fourth and Franklin Gutierrez homered to right in the second inning. Sale walked none and only allowed five hits and three runs in nine innings. He threw strikes on 88 of 120 pitches.

It was the 13th complete game of Sale’s career and his fifth this season.

“I wanted to find a groove and I felt like after the fourth inning I got into a pretty good groove, that cruising speed I was talking about,” Sale said. “I just tried to lengthen it as much as I could, just fill up as many innings as I could. Just give us a chance to win, keep us in the game.”

While Sale kept his team in the game, they repeatedly took themselves out of it.

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The White Sox had plenty of chances against Hernandez, none better than the bottom of the eighth inning. Trailing by two runs, Avisail Garcia and Tyler Saladino singled on both sides of a J.B. Shuck fielder’s choice. Adam Eaton’s one-out walk knocked Hernandez out of the game after 104 pitches.

But closer Edwin Diaz got Tim Anderson to hit into a fielder’s choice as third baseman Shawn O’Malley made a perfect throw home on the slow roller for a force out. Jose Abreu then fouled out to leave the bases loaded. Diaz retired the side in order in the ninth for his 11th save.

Todd Frazier homered in the seventh inning of Hernandez for the team’s only run, but they should have had more. The White Sox had the leadoff man reach base in five of eight innings started by Hernandez, who allowed a run and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. Hernandez erased two of those five as he picked off Frazier and Shuck in the second and third innings. He also got out of a first-and-third jam in the fifth inning when Shuck lined into a double play and Omar Narvaez was caught leaning.

“That’s the frustrating part,” Ventura said. “You know you’re not really going to have too many opportunities (against Hernandez). You might be able to hit and run or all of a sudden you’re first and third. But if you just take it out of your own hands, that’s where you scratch your head.”

White Sox hope second-rounder Alec Hansen's 'fun ride' continues at Kannapolis

White Sox hope second-rounder Alec Hansen's 'fun ride' continues at Kannapolis

The way he dominated the Pioneer League had to boost to Alec Hansen’s confidence. It also prompted his promotion.

When the White Sox sent their second-round pick to Great Falls last month it was in the hope he could rebound from a rough junior season at Oklahoma that caused his draft stock to fall. Once thought to be the potential first overall pick of the 2016 draft, Hansen was selected 49th after he posted a 5.40 ERA and walked 39 batters in 51.2 innings. But Hansen — who made his first start at Single-A Kannapolis on Friday — looked every bit the first-rounder at Great Falls with a 1.23 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

“We wanted to put him in a position where there was a little less pressure to start off the season,” White Sox player development director Nick Capra said. “There's always pressure, but it's a little less magnified in the Pioneer League. We wanted to get him on the right road. We did a couple things with him mechanically and he took off with it.”

“We kind of held him hostage in Great Falls a little bit too long. He’s been really good. He’s double-digit strikeouts every night. He’s not walking people.”

Hansen is expected to make two starts at Kannapolis before the team’s season ends. He earned a no decision after he allowed three earned runs and five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Columbia Fireflies on Friday.

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Capra described the mechanical changes the White Sox made with Hansen as minor. Essentially, they want Hansen to take advantage of his 6-foot-8 frame and stay taller and release the ball more quickly. They believe it will help him better command his pitches.

Through 11 minor-league starts, Hansen has walked 18 batters in 49 innings (he also pitched seven innings in Arizona). That’s compared with the 96 batters he walked in 145 innings in college.

“Our player development guys deserve so much credit for the way they've handled it,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “There was a little bit of concern about the confidence part of it, just him taking the ball every fifth day and knowing that we believe in him. Our pitching guys and PD guys deserve a huge amount of credit for just the time they put into it. They really, really know how to make these guys excel and succeed. Been a pretty fun ride to watch and I hope it continues.”

White Sox hope pitcher Colton Turner can 'build' on strong season

White Sox hope pitcher Colton Turner can 'build' on strong season

The White Sox acquired minor-league pitcher Colton Turner from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for catcher Dioner Navarro.  

Turner, 25, has a 1.33 ERA in 44 games this season across three levels with 70 strikeouts in 54 innings. The White Sox assigned Turner, who missed all of 2014 after he had reconstructive elbow surgery, to Double-A Birmingham.

“Ever since he got back (from pitching in Australia), he seems to have hit his stride well,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Fastball/slider mix, good command.

“You can obviously see from the numbers he has done impressive work against righties for a left-handed reliever, which is nice to see.

“We’re going to wait to get to know him better. He’s had a real nice year and we like the stuff, we like the command and we’ll see if he’s able to continue to build on what he has done this year and try to figure out that more in 2017, the role he’ll play going forward.”