Peavy's best outing yet?; Sale struggles again

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Peavy's best outing yet?; Sale struggles again

Monday, March 14, 2011
Posted 5:05 p.m. Updated 7:05 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. If there was a team Jake Peavy could have imagined having a smooth outing against, the offensively-challenged San Diego Padres might have been the one.

Both Peavy and lefty phenom Chris Sale were touched for three runs apiece, setting the foundation for the Chicago White Soxs 7-6 setback to the Fathers.

I felt OK, better than I expected, Peavy said. I made good progress today. Im excited about the direction I went in. Obviously I worked on some things, found some flaws out there in the middle part of the game, worked on some things, and stayed stubborn. I got good work in. It was a fun day. I climbed.

To a man, the White Sox agreed with Peavys assessment, that his six hits and a walk en route to three earned runs against two strikeouts was the best outing the righthander has had in his comeback.

It went very well, manager Ozzie Guillen said. The feedback from him in the dugout was the best I got from him in the three outings hed had. He was talking very positively. Today he was more aggressive than he was earlier. He let the ball go a couple of times. Im very happy with where he is right now.

Peavy threw the ball better than what his line says, said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who clocked a two-run homer in the sixth as part of a 2-for-4 day. In the last inning we were trying to work on specific pitches in a specific spot out of the stretch when there were chances to put guys away. Instead of doing that, we just kind of continued to throw the same pitch.

Peavy was off to another strong start, taking just seven pitches (six strikes) to get through the first in 1-2-3- fashion. With two outs in the second, Peavy gave up a walk to Cedric Hunter and a single to Mike Baxter, but got Kyle Phillips to fly out to left to end the threat.

The righthander also allowed two baserunners in the third, surrendering back-to-back singles to Jason Bartlett (who had whiffed on three straight pitches in the first) and Chase Headley, but escaped any damage. The White Sox took the lead in the bottom of the third on a solo home run from Lastings Milledge.

Milledge turning heads

Peavy started the fourth inning from the stretch, giving up a sharp single to left from Cameron Maybin. Hunter drove him in with a double to right, and Baxter got his second hit of the game off of Peavy, crushing a home run into the White Sox bullpen in right. Peavy then retired the next three batters, all on ground outs to second base.

Peavy finished with 67 pitches, 47 for strikes, over his four innings.

Sale relieved Peavy and gave up another three earned runs, pushing his spring ERA to 7.36.

Im not concerned about him, but Im disappointed a little bit, Guillen said. Not because he gave up three runsthats part of the game. He was missing spots. The ball was supposed to be in and it was away. He was a little out of whack today, thats all. Pierzynski also said Sale was just a little bit off in his outing.

The White Sox scored two more runs in the eighth on an Alexei Ramirez two-run blast, but couldnt tie the game.

The team is doing a lot better than the record 6-10-1 says, Pierzynski said. I feel that were good. Guys have been coming in and throwing the ball well. As it gets closer to Opening Day, the hitters get closer and closer. Thats what you look for as a player.

Ozzie on Sale

Guillen admitted his disappointment with Sales outing, but remains encouraged about his prospects.

We have to be patient with this kid, he said. A lot of people think hes Sandy Koufax, 30 years in the big leagues, but this kid just came out of college two weeks ago or, last June. Its a learning process. I talked to the pitching coach Don Cooper and hes going to have a sideline pitching session. Its not about stuff, but where you locate your stuff.

Roster trimming

Eight White Sox were moved out of the major-league clubhouse after the game. Triple-A Charlotte gains outfielder Stefan Gartrell, infielder Eduardo Escobar, and pitchers Anthony Carter and Freddy Dolsi. Double-A Birmingham adds pitchers Kyle Cofield and Nate Jones. Two other pitchers, Brandon Hynick and Miguel Socolovich, were simply reassigned to minor league camp.

Gartrell, we have to send him down, but this kid had a great spring training, Guillen said. Escobar played better than what people thought and opened a lot of peoples eyes. Were very excited about him and what he can do.

The White Sox roster now stands at 38 players: 18 pitchers, four catchers, 10 infielders and six outfielders.

Hopefully, its about 25 players but its never going to happen because of injuries and slumps, Guillen added. Its about 30 or 32 players, and players sent down have to be ready and prepared to help us in the summer.

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

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.”