Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

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Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

Sunday, July 18, 2010
1:31 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS - Contrary to popular rumor, Mark Buehrle doesnt pick off every runner he allows to reach first. It just seems that way.

With depantsings of Denard Span and Delmon Young last night, Buehrle has picked off 72 runners since his first full season in 200127 more than the New York Yankees Andy Pettitte, who has the next-best total in that time span.

The White Sox mainstay has 76 career pickoffs, which trails all-time leader Steve Carlton (144) considerably. However, every other pickoffs leader is squarely in Buehrles sights: Pettitte (99), Kenny Rogers (94), Mark Langston (91), Jerry Koosman (82), Randy Johnson (81) and Greg Swindell (77).

Somebodys figured out my move, because I dont pick everybody off, said Buehrle with a smile, regarding his masterful move. I give credit to Joey Cora, who calls all our moves to first.

Clearly, the southpaw has a real gift for fooling opposing runners. Even runners without aggressive leads and who arent a major danger to steal (paging Young, who appeared to be leading off in molasses in the fourth inning last night) are frozen by Buehrles cagey play off the mound.

Hes good, real good, said Span, with 16 steals in 17 tries Minnesotas only true base-stealing threat. I thought I got back last night, but the move is tough. You want the best lead you can, but a great move can freeze you and sometimes you react too late.

Buehrle also gives credit to Paul Konerko for sneaky-quick tags at first. While that was evident in both picks last night, Konerko deflects any credit.

Buehrle is the one who does the dirty work fooling runners, Konerko says. The challenge of making sure you have the ball and get a quick tag down, that doesnt compare.

The lefty rather famously missed out on a perfect game en route to his first no-hitter vs. the Texas Rangers in 2007, walking Sammy Sosa. But Buehrle gets an unofficial, asterisked perfecto for immediately picking Sosa off of first and facing the minimum 27 batters.

Thats sort of how Buehrle looks at letting runners onhed rather not, but if theyre lollygagging over at first base, why not make em pay?

You cant lose focus on the hitter, but I do want to make a runner think, Buehrle said. An out is an out, and my goal is to get my 27 any way I can, as quickly as I can.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.

The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.

Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.

White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.

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