Thornton doesn't want Pierre's apology

Thornton doesn't want Pierre's apology

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Posted: 8:24 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Left fielder Juan Pierre, consummately professional, attempted to apologize to Matt Thornton after two errors on the homestand have led to two of Thorntons three blown saves.

But that apology was met with a 98-mph fireball from the closer.

"Stop right thereyou dont have to apologize to me, theres nothing to apologize for. You didnt hang a slider on an 0-2 count to the leadoff batter, Thornton told Pierre.

He didnt have toif thats the way he feels, good for Juan for apologizing but he doesnt have to, Guillen said. The only people I dont expect to make errors are the people seated with me, because were not on the field. That was nice of Juan but I dont think it was necessary. I know Juan very wellyoure talking about a very professional man. In all the years I have been around this game, hes one of the top three.

The play last night was not an easy play. Im not protecting Juan, either. He doesnt need my protection. But it was nice of him. Matt did not apologize to him when Andy LaRoche hit the double off the wall to open the ninth. But I think thats nice. Thats the type of person Juan Pierre is.

In a stand-up clubhouse, both players and the manager have put their full colors on display. But Thornton agreed with Guillen and took the hit for his third blown save in three tries.

I fell behind Daric Barton 2-0 and he was able to put good wood on that ball and get the ball in the air, Thornton continued. Thats a tough ball to catch. Ill have the ball go up 10 times to J.P. and Ill believe in him every single time it goes up. Theres not anyone who prepares himself more and is more dedicated to this game than he is. Every day I know hell be there for me in left field, no matter what the situation is.

Pierre was collected while discussing the play, citing his faith in God as what was pulling him through the toughest defensive stretch of his career.

To make those kind of mistakes in the ninth inning like that, honestly, if I caught those balls, we win the game, Pierre said. With a guy like Thornton, who is closing for the first time, I feel bad for him as well as the team. It has cost us two losses.

Again, Pierre dismissed the difficulty to the fly ball, something Guillen and others in the White Sox clubhouse cited.

You know, I just missed the ball, no way to explain it. Im standing right up here. It wasnt no wind or nothing. I just flat-out missed the ball It wasnt an extraordinary play. It wasnt a diving play. It was a routine fly ball. It was tough, but the sun came up today and Im back out there doing my work and try to help the team win.

Pierres teammates see how hard he works each dayNo. 1 is the first on the field, without failand are supporting him every bit as much as Thornton was.

We have no complaints about Juan, Brent Lillibridge said. Juan works his tail off and has all the respect in the world in this clubhouse. Hes had a couple of tough plays, but its not a lack of effort or drive. Hes going to be the hardest guy on himself and we want him to know its not a big deal. Were going to win a bunch of games because of him. It just shows up in games like this early, and it looks big, but we have a long season ahead of us and hes going to win a lot of games for us. You talk to all of us, and were not worried about anything.

The key for Pierre, who Guillen ran right back out to left field on Tuesday, is to have a short-term memory.

Mr. 10,000

Lillibridge, the consummately modest major leaguer, was somewhat embarrassed by all the attention hed earned by hitting the 10,000th home run in White Sox history.

If it was my 10,000th then itd be something, Lillibridge said of his fifth-inning drive to left-center. It was good to get the one run across, which is what we thought was going to be all we needed. It was a tough loss, but well look down the road a month from now and were going to be able to get those wins easily Its great to be a part of history, but more importantly get back after it, do my job and go from there.

Interestingly, the stars seemed to be aligned for Lillibridge to push the Chisox into five-figured round trippers. Paul Konerko called the superutilitymans shot from the dugout, and Lillibridge and Adam Dunn had both discussed the milestone clout before the game.

Me and Dunn were talking about it before the game, Lillibridge said. He was saying, Hey, somebody is going to get that 10,000th home run today, and I was like, I got it. I was very coynot expecting it.

In fact, Lillibridge wasnt even sure whether his 391-footer had enough gumption to get over the fence.

I didnt know it was out as soon as I hit it, he said. I was kind of hoping. I blew on it a little bit.

Lillibridge has usually made his relatively rare home runs count, hitting them in big situations, but through a handful of at-bats early this season, the mighty mite is outslugging Dunn (.667 to .571) and has equaled the slugger in homers.

At-bats alone will award the round-tripper win this season to Dunn, the teams regular designated hitter, a stark fact that Lillibridge was quick to acknowledge.

Well see how it goes, he said, laughing. I think he might pass me pretty quick.

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

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tyler Saladino hit leadoff on Wednesday, finishing with a home run and a single.

Saladino's first-inning drive was one of eight combined homers hit between the White Sox and San Diego Padres, who finished in a 9-all tie at Camelback Ranch. Before the game, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said that Saladino, who finished 2-for-2, would see most of his playing time at second base.

"He's been developing and continuing to grow every single season," Renteria said. "The flexibility that he brings allows him to be in the lineup over an extended period of time. But we want to make sure we take care of him as we want to do with everybody else, kind of keep them all fresh as much as we can.

"He's developed into a pretty good major league baseball player."

Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico and Jake Peter all homered for the White Sox. Delmonico led the White Sox with five homers this spring. Abreu went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.

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Rule 5 pitcher Dylan Covey, who appears primed to make the Opening Day roster, allowed two earned runs in his lone inning pitched. Covey then headed to the bullpen and threw additional pitches there as the White Sox continue to build up his arm strength.

Veteran Anthony Swarzak allowed a run and struck out two in two innings. Reliever Dan Jennings allowed five runs (four earned) and four hits in 1/3 innings.

First-rounder Zack Collins drew a pair of walks in his only plate appearances and scored a run.

The White Sox ended the spring with a 16-15-2 record.

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With Zack Burdi headed for the minors, the White Sox 12-man pitching staff is all but set.

The Opening Day roster won't be finalized until Sunday and the White Sox hypothetically could find an attractive candidate to claim off the waiver wire over the weekend. But barring that, it looks as if veteran Anthony Swarzak and second-year reliever Michael Ynoa have made the team after Burdi said Wednesday morning that he'd start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. 

The No. 7 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com, Burdi finished the spring with a 6.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 innings. Burdi finished his Cactus League on a high note with three strikeouts over an inning on Tuesday, including one of Kansas City four-time All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. 

"Man, it's been crazy," Burdi said. "Coming in and being the young guy in the locker room and then just progressing and showing a little bit more (comfort) around the guys and the veterans and then just being able to pick their brains and go out every day and try to progress. You get to the innings and you are facing guys you've watched your last 10 years of your life. It has been crazy and definitely something I won't forget."

Burdi lasted the longest this spring out of the cache of highly-touted prospects the White Sox brought to big league camp. Prior to escaping a first-and-third, one-out jam Tuesday, Burdi looked like he would allow a run in a third straight game after a hot start to camp (he only allowed a run in one of his first 10 appearances). But Burdi battled back and struck out Perez on three pitches, one of two straight strikeouts to strand both runners.

Pitching coach Don Cooper has been impressed by Burdi throughout the spring. But he also wants to see the Louisville product continue to work on command in the minors.

"You can't not see his stuff," Cooper said. "Everybody gets excited when you see 99, 100, 101. But whether you throw it 101 or 83 like [Mark] Buehrle you have to throw it to the glove with command, change speeds and all that stuff. But he's a big part of our future going forward. He's one of the names."

Burdi said he plans to operate like he has already spring and not pay attention to any of the hype. Though he'd like to play in the majors, Burdi is excited to play alongside the likes of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer in Charlotte.

"Once you get a feel for all this stuff and you feel how cool it is to be in the locker room with all these guys and play with them, of course you want to get back up here," Burdi said. "But at the same time, a lot of my really good friends are on Charlotte and I couldn't be more excited to go down there and play with them and make the most of the season down there."