Sox Drawer: Let it snow

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Sox Drawer: Let it snow

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Posted: 3:30 p.m. Updated: 4:56 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Indians head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke knew he had quite a mess on his hands when he arrived at Progressive Field this morning at 6:30 a.m.

Two inches of snow had fallen in Cleveland, and the field hes responsible for, which just had brand new grass installed this past winter, suddenly looked ready for Christmas Day, certainly not Opening Day.

The White Sox were supposed to hold a workout here. Instead, the session began with Juan Pierre, Mark Buehrle, Ramon Castro, and 3rd base coach Jeff Cox building a snowman.
Buehrle, who will extend his White Sox record by making his 9th Opening Day start, loves the Midwest. Hes just not sure why the White Sox always start each season playing in it.

It makes no sense, Buehrle said. Why start on the East coast or the Midwest where theres snow and its 30 degrees? Theres no reason not to be in Anaheim where its 80 degrees right now.

For the record, it was 84 degrees today in Anaheim. It will be 80 there tomorrow. Where are the Angels beginning the season? Kansas City. Buehrles right. It makes no sense.

As for being in Cleveland for Opening Day, Ozzie Guillen your thoughts?

Very stupid to play in Cleveland right now, Guillen said. Nothing against Cleveland. We expect that. When you play in Cleveland on Opening Day...a couple years ago they canceled like 30 games here. But were here, and have to play through snow.

Speaking of which:

Hey, you ever been hit by a snowball? Matt Thornton said to Chris Sale as he walked out of the dugout. Sale proceeded to get pelted by a 97-mile-per-hour fastball.

Sale, a Florida native, was definitely at a disadvantage, which might be the same for hitters on Friday, even if the temps rise into the 40s, which has been forecasted.

The hitters are going to be cold up there, Thornton said. I honestly think its an advantage for the pitcher because youre out there and feeling warm and pretty much in constant motion. Hitters dont like hitting in the cold either."

Maybe so, but how about posing for a picture in the cold in shorts and no shirt? Thats what 43-year-old Omar Vizquel did on the field for a Cleveland newspaper. The former Indian is set to begin his 23rd season in the major leagues. Friday will be a memorable day for Vizquel, assuming hes not in the hospital suffering from frostbite and pneumonia.

This one in particular is really special because my best years were here in Cleveland and how special everything went when we had those teams, Vizquel said. Its going to be really, really great. An emotional moment for me.

By the afternoon, the snow had been removed from the Progressive Field tarp. Groundskeepers were blow drying the outfield grass. Yes, blow drying.

Thats April baseball. The White Sox are used to it. And even though hed rather be starting the season somewhere much more tropical, Guillen doesnt want to hear any excuses.

A lot of players this time of year have to prepare mentally to play in cold weather. Thats no excuse, the White Sox manager said. You want to play in nice weather, sign with the NBA. You play indoors and youre fine.

Last year the White Sox opened in Chicago. This year Cleveland.

As Thornton said, It is what it is.

Next year? On to Detroit!!

I'll be sure to bring my snowsuit.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Ex-White Sox Jesse Crain hosting charity event featuring Paul Konerko, George Brett

Ex-White Sox Jesse Crain hosting charity event featuring Paul Konerko, George Brett

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ex-White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain is hosting a local charity golfing event featuring Paul Konerko, Matt Thornton and Hall of Famer George Brett among others.

Crain, who pitched for the White Sox for three seasons and was an All-Star in 2013, and his wife, Becky, recently created the Crain Family Foundation to benefit children. 

The couple is hosting the Swing into Spring event at Top Golf in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday night, which is designed to benefit the Tandem Resource Center, Arizona RBI Baseball and Autism Speaks. Crain expects between 25-30 current and former players will participate in the event, which is open to the public.

[RELATED: Todd Frazier out with left oblique strain]

"Me and my wife had wanted to start a foundation for a long time with the platform that we'd give back to kids any way possible," Crain said. "We just want to be able to help kids in whatever capacity, whether through medical, hardships or whatever it may be."

Crain, who was at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday, said planning for the event began in October. Though he had wanted to begin a foundation during his playing career, Crain said after planning the event he knows he wouldn't have had the appropriate amount of time while he was an active player.

Among those scheduled to attend are Cody Ross, David Aardsma, Jonny Gomes, Nick Punto, JJ Putz, Brandon Webb, Justin Morneau, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Feldman, Nate Jones, Mark Melancon, Denard Span and Chad Qualls. Crain also hopes to convince a few more current White Sox players. He said reservations for the event or donations can be made through Crainfamilyfoundation.org.

Todd Frazier out with left oblique strain

Todd Frazier out with left oblique strain

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier has been sidelined with what he's describing as a left oblique strain.  

Frazier — who produced a career high 40 home runs and 98 RBIs last season — said he injured himself swinging on Monday. White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Frazier is day-to-day and the club would take advantage of the extra time on the spring training calendar this season.
 
The veteran also said he expects to be cautious with the injury and thorough.

"Just felt a little tightness in my left side," Frazier said. "That's what spring training is for, you've got to just be careful. (Athletic trainer Herm Schneider has) been working with me the past day and a half. I don't feel like it's anything that serious, but we have so much time. Let's take a break, take a few days off and hopefully it keeps getting better and better.

"It's something I've dealt with before. But at the same time, from what I've heard they're not anything to mess with. So let's take a couple days and see how it is after a couple days and go from there."

[MORE: Lighter Avisail Garcia wants to show White Sox his best]

The White Sox begin their exhibition season on Saturday with a contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the team's regular season opener isn't for another 5 1/2 weeks, which should give Frazier ample time to rest, rehab and prepare. The White Sox open the 2017 campaign at home on April 3 against the Detroit Tigers. 

"He's been working good," Renteria said. "I just saw him, he's smiling. He's day to day and we'll re-evaluate and see where he's at.

"We'll back him up. We're taking it day to day. We'll see where he's at before I can determine how far back we can push him back."