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.

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

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USA TODAY

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

With Yoan Moncada now with the White Sox and making an early impact, White Sox fans may be wondering which highly-touted prospect is next to join the big league roster.

Reynaldo Lopez is certainly making a strong case for himself in Triple-A Charlotte. Lopez, one of the pitchers the Sox received from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade, gave up one run in six innings for the Knights on Friday night. That was the latest in a string of five strong starts for the 23-year-old.

In Friday's 2-1 loss against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Lopez struck out six and allowed just two hits and one walk. That's five straight starts for Lopez in which he has allowed two or fewer runs while pitching six or more innings.

Here's his last five starts:

June 29 vs. Columbus: 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 hits

July 4 at Durham: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 5 hits

July 9 at Louisville: 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits

July 16 vs. Gwinnett: 7 innings, 1 run, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hist

Tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hits

Loepz has a 3.65 ERA on the season with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings against 40 walks and 90 hits. In a short stint in the majors last season, Lopez had a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings in six starts and five relief appearances for the Nationals.

Does Guaranteed Rate Field await the Dominican right-hander?