Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
1:33 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Sergio Santos enjoyed the best of both worlds on Friday night, pitching in front of an estimated 160 friends and family at Angel Stadiumand he didnt have to spring for many of the ducats, if any.

People had bought their tickets back at the beginning of April, so they all bought them in a bunch and wanted to go the cheapest way, Santos said of his upper-deck cheering section. They wanted to sit together, so they all just bought in that one section.

Even better for the rookie, playing his first game in Southern California, was that he made an appearance in the game, which he began by surrendering leadoff hits to Peter Bourjos and Howie Kendrick in the eighth.

That was probably the most nervous Ive been the entire year, even my first overall inning in April, Santos said. You want to do so well and want everybody to have that good moment. But after the first pitch it kind of went away and I went back to normal.

Normal was punching out Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter with swinging strikes, before giving way to eventual winning pitcher Matt Thornton. Although Santos hit 98 on the gun with his fastball in the inning, he retired Abreu with a changeup and Hunter with a biting curve.

Santos smile was a mile wide postgame, after getting his first appearance in front of his La Puente, Calif. compadres out of the way.

To be able to get into the first game was good, everybody can relax and know that theyve seen me, said Santos, who is now 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and more than two strikeouts per walk in 2010. Hopefully, I can get in one more game.

Speed Kills

The White Sox again were aggressive on the basepaths, stealing two bags in the game to raise their season total to 147, second in the American League. But the steals themselves arent as important as the disruption the threat of running creates.

The winning run in the ninth was keyed by speed. Juan Pierre, who leads the team in snagged bags with 60 (the second most in a single season in White Sox history), walked with one out. The left fielder had second base stolen on a hit-and-run attempt that Omar Vizquel fouled off, then advanced to second on Vizquels safety flare to right field. With Pierre dancing on second and Vizquel also a speed threat on first, Angels closer Fernando Rodney delivered two juicy fastballs on the plate for Alex Rios, the second of which Rios sent back to centerfield, knocking in Pierre with the eventual game-winning run.

I would think so, Pierre said, laughing over the notion of his speed disrupting the hurler. Youve got to ask Rodney or the Angels, but from the looks of it Rios got a good pitch to hit. I got on and was trying to steal, and Omar got a big hit. With speed on the bases, Rodney definitely cant take his time going to the plate; he has to split his attention, and we came up with a big run.

Whats more, Rios was aggressive despite just giving the White Sox the lead, getting a preposterous jump on Rodney to steal second and move to third on a throwing error by catcher Hank Conger.

Thats the way we play, Pierre said. We have speed and power. Definitely with Rios, hes a 20-20 guy 34 steals, 21 homers, so for him to take the bag right there puts pressure on the Angels and hopefully sets the tone where they might be thinking of steal attempts tomorrow and Sunday.

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

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.