White Sox morning roundup

710828.png

White Sox morning roundup

From the weekend:

The White Sox won three straight, defeating Arizona on Friday, Milwaukee on Saturday and San Francisco on Sunday. Important notes to glean from the games: Philip Humber looked good, A.J. Pierzynski hit an inside-the-park homer and Chris Sale continued to be a work in progress as a starter. The Sox also played a split-squad game Friday, with Dylan Axelrod struggling against the Dodgers.

Hector Santiago joined the closer mix and nailed down the save in Sunday's game. The screwballing lefty has been fantastic this spring, striking out nine -- although the safest bet still appears to be on Matt Thornton landing the role out of spring training.

Jesse Crain, who was considered a candidate for the closer job when spring training began, threw a successful 35-pitch bullpen session over the weekend. He's still working his way back from an oblique injury suffered earlier this month.

The Sox pulled of a pair of minor deals, acquiring outfielder Greg Golson from Kansas City and trading minor league infielder Greg Paiml to Atlanta. Golson will head to Triple-A Charlotte and, as Larry writes, was acquired to fill the hole left by the season-ending injury to Brandon Short.

Dayan Viciedo's spring OPS dipped to .288 -- he has just four hits in 40 at-bats with two walks and 14 strikeouts -- and part of that rough line could be the product of his defensive lack of comfort.

Jared Mitchell finally took a walk over the weekend, but he's still struck out nine times in 24 at-bats. On Friday, Buddy Bell said the Sox wanted Mitchell to be aggressive at the plate, but not to the level he's taken it this March.

And finally from the Sox, Chris Kamka has a nice read on left-handed Opening Day starters in Chicago baseball history. Spoiler alert: the Sox have the majority of them, between Mark Buehrle, Wilbur Wood and Billy Pierce. Only one righty has started Opening Day for the White Sox since the turn of the millennium, with that being Jose Contreras in 2007.

Around the division: Kansas City made the curious decision to go with Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt at second base over Johnny Giovatella, Miguel Cabrera will likely be ready for Opening Day, Chris Perez is progressing nicely for Cleveland and Justin Morneau's pair of homers against Tampa Bay were an encouraging sign.

Mark Buehrle describes the 'amazing feeling' of having jersey number retired by White Sox

Mark Buehrle describes the 'amazing feeling' of having jersey number retired by White Sox

Mark Buehrle might need time to process everything that took place Saturday afternoon when he was surrounded by friends, family, teammates and fans, showered with gifts and overwhelmed by emotion.

The White Sox officially retired the number of one of the most popular players in team history in front of 38,618 at Guaranteed Rate Field. A banner covering Buehrle’s No. 56 was unfurled during an afternoon ceremony that makes the left-hander one of 11 players in club history whose number has been retired. Surrounded by fellow honoree Frank Thomas among many others, the always humble Buehrle -- who won 161 games in 12 seasons with the White Sox -- said afterward he’s not sure he belongs in the club.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Buehrle said. “It’s going to take time. I don’t know if it’s ever going to sink in and realize there it is.

“Amazing feeling. Can’t really put it into words how you feel. I wasn’t actually as nervous as I thought I would be once I was up there. But obviously glad it’s over with and it’s a special day.”

Buehrle’s list of dignitaries included Thomas, managers Ozzie Guillen and Jerry Manuel, Cliff Polite, Scott Podsednik, Jim Thome, Joe Crede, Jon Garland, John Danks and hitting coach Greg Walker.

White Sox play by play man Hawk Harrelson emceed a ceremony that lasted 30 minutes. Included were speeches by Thomas and White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper as well as an unveiling of a series of gifts. The team presented Buehrle with a new truck, a baseball collage put together by Ron Kittle, a four-seat All-Terrain Vehicle -- much to the enjoyment of his duck hunting club seated on the 400 level -- as well as the flip-through-the-legs ball from Opening Day 2010. Club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also spoke during the ceremony, dropping in a series of one-liners.

“I’ve never seen him upset,” Guillen said. “I’ve never seen him overreact. Day in and day out he was the same guy. That’s what makes him so special. His teammates loved him.

“Buehrle did something: outsmart people. People don’t have stuff like him they think I’m smart, I can do this and fake it. Buehrle just grabbed the ball and threw it.

“To survive for so many years and have your number retired, there’s not that many people up there.

“It’s amazing with the stuff he had. I’ve seen a lot of better pitchers with better stuff. You don’t see too many guys with the same heart.”

Buehrle said Friday that he anticipated he’d be an emotional wreck for the event. The man beloved by the public isn’t much for public speaking. Throw in all of his friends and family present and Buehrle just hoped to get through his own speech. He said the sight of seeing his number unfurled almost put him over the edge.

“Emotions and trying to breathe deep and don’t start crying, tearing up,” Buehrle said. “I was trying to hold my emotions together. But just looking up there and seeing that. I can’t put it into words.”

When it was his turn to say the words, Buehrle spoke the way he pitched: tidy and efficient. Wearing a suit and sunglasses in case he teared up, Buehrle spoke with his wife and children at his side. Aside from his family, Buehrle said he avoided naming names during the 4-minute, 19-second speech because he had too many people to thank for the journey from 38th round draft pick to all-time great.

Buehrle said he wouldn’t be able to pick out his favorite part until he watches the ceremony again later.

“When I watch it back in a couple hours and realize what happened and what really went on,” Buehrle said. “It’s kind of hard to hear out there, but it’s just everything. I had Frank Thomas and Jim Thome behind me. They’re here for my day. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

James Shields makes history in loss to Athletics

usatsi_10128656.jpg
USA TODAY

James Shields makes history in loss to Athletics

James Shields put his name in the record books twice on Mark Buehrle Day. 

Making his second start since returning from injury, Shields became the 81st pitcher in major-league history to record 2,000 career strikeouts. He then became the first pitcher in major-league history to allow three players to hit their first career home runs in a single game. 

Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto each tagged the White Sox pitcher for their first career blast, resulting in the Athletics jumping out to a 6-0 lead. They held on to a sizable lead all game, scoring a 10-2 victory in front of 38,618 at Guaranteed Rate Field. 

Shields' day was done after three innings, allowing seven hits, six earned runs and striking out five. He also walked three batters. 

The White Sox offense picked up two unearned runs in the third and fourth inning, thanks to infield errors. Melky Cabrera singled home Yolmer Sanchez, who reached on a Barreto miscue. The following inning, Tim Anderson roped a sac fly to center, plating Todd Frazier. 

Frazier later picked up his first ejection in 855 MLB games for arguing after umpires called and reviewed that Jose Abreu had slid off the bag while stretching for the third baseman's errant throw. For the second time in as many games, Rick Renteria followed suit. He slammed his hat while vehemently disagreeing with two umps in the middle of the infield. 

Olson homered again - this time off Jake Petricka - in the seventh to extend the A's lead to eight runs. 

Alen Hanson, who improved his batting average to .333 in a White Sox uniform, was the only player with multiple hits in the Sox order. He went 2-for-4 with two singles. Frazier recorded the team's lone extra-base hit when he delivered a double in the fourth. 

For the Sox, it was another case of starter struggles. Saturday marked the 25th time in 31 games that a South Side starter has failed to make a quality start.