Streak struck - Sox starters no longer unscathed

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Streak struck - Sox starters no longer unscathed

Saturday, March 5, 2011
4:43 p.m.
By Brett BallantiniCSNChicago.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. All good things come to an end, even when the good things are happening in spring training, untelevised and on the down low.

But indeed, the Chicago starters' streak was snapped with two outs in the first inning of the Cleveland Indians 5-3 win over the White Sox on Saturday.

Physically, I felt great, Gavin Floyd said of his rough two-inning, four-run outing. Youd like to make an adjustment early, especially when youre missing up in the zone; I just didnt make the adjustment You want to go out there and get your pitches in and be consistent with it. Today, it was a little hit or miss.

He was off a little bit, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. He couldnt find the strike zone; I expected him to make an adjustment right away, but he was up in the strike zone. But as a second outing, theres no panic, he threw the ball well, velocity was good.

The Wahoos did all their damage in the first three frames, pushing across five runs, aided by one of two throwing errors by Mark Teahen in his six innings of play. The White Sox mounted a minor comeback in the fifth, pushing across all three of their runs on hits by Omar Vizquel, Lastings Milledge, and Gordon Beckham.

Floyd gave up only two hits, but walked another two batters and hit Jason Donald, who immediately left the game for x-rays. Floyd also was drilled in the leg (just a flesh wound) by the second batter of the game, Asdrubal Cabrera, and was wearing an ice wrap after he left the game.

It didnt bother me until the trainers got in there, Floyd said. They had to spread the swelling out. You press a couple of thumbs in there and it kind of hurts a little bit. Its there, but its no big deal.

When he got hit in leg, that bothered him a little bit, Guillen said. Im not going to make that excuse, but he got hit pretty good.

After compiling a 3.68 ERA through five spring games through Friday, White Sox hurlers coughed up six earned runs vs. Cleveland. And somebody noticed.

Thats the worst our pitchers have been in spring training, Guillen said. This one was pretty ugly. We walked a lot of people. But this is what the sixth game? We should start playing better after the split-squad Monday. I expect them to pick it up. Right now, Im just letting them play and get ready, get their stuff together.
Teahens troubles

It would be remiss to call Teahens effort on Saturday his worst game as a member of the White Sox, but given whats at stake for hima starting position at third, and possibly even a roster spotit was a devastating effort. Not only did he make two poor throws for errors and stumble over the bag at third on an inning-ending popout, he was thrown out trying to score from second base by right fielder Chad Huffman in the fifth inning.

Weve got to give Teahen a shot, but obviously, weve got to make plays, Guillen said. Our biggest friend to a pitcher, especially when a pitchers in trouble, is defense. But Teahens only been out there for a couple of games.

Clearly, however, while just a week into Cactus League play Guillen is worried about how his roster pieces will fall together with Teahen in the mix.

Ive got to talk to our coaching staff and GM Kenny Williams in the next meeting and see what were going to do, if were going to give him a shot at third base or move him all over the place. Thats the next step, because its not fair for him or anybody. It will clear his mindwill I be at third or not? Weve got to try to make the decision as quick as we can and go from there.

No relief

While Chisox hurlers have been generally strong in the first week of play, two pitchers bidding for bullpen stops continued to struggle on Saturday. Kyle Bellamy came on to relieve Floyd in the third and wasnt fooling anyone with his sidearm delivery. His ERA in two spring training innings remains 9.00. Freddy Dolsi has also struggled, today surrendering three runs (two earned) in 1 23 innings, kicking his spring ERA over 2 23 innings to 10.13.

Bright spots?

According to Guillen, there were indeed bright spots to todays worst spring training effort of the season. Just not one youd expect.

The White Sox batboy beating the Indians batboy was the highlight, Guillen said with a loud laugh. Thats how bad the game was. That was the only excitement we had in the game.

There was a friendly competition between batboys when hustling for foul balls early in the game. Guillen and bench coach Joey Cora were yelling on every foul ball, both for their own ballboy to hustle and for the opposing, older batboy to slow down and not treat fouls back to the screen as if at Wimbleton.
The LAST word on the streak

Indeed, Floyd claimed he only became aware of the hitless, scoreless streak by White Sox starters this springthe streak he started back on Mondayyesterday, when his fellow rotation members were warning Jake Peavy not to screw it up. Predictably, Floyd played off caring much about seeing the streak snapped.

Its whatever. Its spring, Floyd said with a smile. Im sure Ill be texting them saying Im sorry I screwed it up for them.

Still, Floyd recognizes that the sort of buzz created by a relatively meaningless spring training streak is indicative of the kind of talent the White Sox rotation possesses.

Thats what were capable of, he said. Thats the kind of starting rotation weve got. Were capable of feeding off and encouraging each other. We have the talent to do something pretty good. Im not surprised, but you know the streak was going to end some day.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with executive vice president Ken Williams

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with executive vice president Ken Williams

GLENDALE, ARIZ -- Ken Williams acknowledges that this is the first time as an executive that he's ever been a part of a rebuild.  After realizing their go-for-it attitude for more than a decade had run out of steam, the White Sox front office decided it needed to look in the mirror, take a step back, and start anew. It began this offseason with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, and will continue into this season and likely next season.

No longer involved in the day-to-day running of the White Sox, Williams believes he has found the right balance as the team's executive and vice president, utilizing his strengths in scouting and player development while overseeing things as Hahn reshapes the organization from top to bottom.

How does this dynamic work between Williams and Hahn? Williams goes in-depth on this subject and many others in our White Sox Talk Podcast conversation.

Among the highlights:

Working relationship with Rick Hahn: "The relationship has been the same and consistent since the very beginning.  We're constantly talking.  I'm not going to BS you and say that we don't have these conversations. I just think that a certain point in time, you just have to say here is your responsibility and mine is over here. I have to respect the fact that this is what you want to do. I'm only going to express my interest to a point so that you can come to your own decision without my influence and then we're getting to brass tax.  Most times than not, he'll express, 'Hey, I need to know what you think. But until that time you've got to give people the space to do a job as they see fit, and to plot a course as they see fit."

Trading Chris Sale: "Contrary to popular belief, we have enjoyed a great relationship over the years. There was obviously a little blip in that part of it and I've always understood him because I was a little bit like that when I was younger too.  It was very often a couple days later we'd visit and laugh about a couple things but also in a serious manner.  he's one of the best in the game.  How do you trade one of the best pitchers in the game and not feel some remorse about it?  On the other end of the spectrum we got what we think are special pieces that will be with us for quite a while assuming good health. And you can envision them being part of a championship team.  We got to the point where we couldn't envision that particular group that we had be a part of a championship team and that's what it's about."

Possibly trading Jose Quintana: "I have not been presented with anything that has been recommended by Rick that he wants to do. So in terms of closeness, we've bantered some things around, but Jose Quintana is a very, very special pitcher. I'm sure if something comes up where it's consistent with what we've done thus far then I'm sure Rick will put it in front of both Jerry and I.  But until that time, I can't say that anything has been close or relatively close."

His hopes for the White Sox: "My only goal at this point in my career is to help bring another championship to Chicago and to Chicago fans, watch Rick Hahn walk across the stage to receive an Executive of the Year award and watch Rick Renteria accept the Manager of the Year Award.  Then I will consider this a job well done. If any of those things don't happen, then it won't be.  I sincerely feel that in my heart."

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.”