For White Sox, retaliation a dish best unserved

540694.jpg

For White Sox, retaliation a dish best unserved

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011
Posted: 7:07 p.m. Updated: 7:29 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
CLEVELAND To a man, all the way up to manager Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox remain steadfastly against retaliation for four hit batsmen in Tuesdays doubleheader vs. the Cleveland Indiansthree in the final three innings.

When the question of what went through his head in the ninth after seeing Gordon Beckham drilled in the back and Alexei Ramirez nailed in the shoulder two batters later, knowing he would scale the mound to finish the game, reliever Chris Sale was unmoved.

Ive got a job to do, Sale said. Its a one-run ballgame. The last thing you need to do is be stupid. Obviously, we dont like our guys going down like that. I cannot afford to give them any free baserunners, especially in a game like that. You still want to win. At the end of the day, a win is most important.

Thats debatable enough, but the money quote comes as Sale got to perhaps what really went through his head when confronted with the notion of nailing a Wahoo.

I dont really do too well in situations like that, he admitted. I just go out there and give everything Ive got and try to do my job.

Beckham sends his regards, Chris.

As a hitter just four seasons ago, closer Sergio Santos might pack a little more nuance into his answer, and admittedly he struggled a bit with the notion of HBP impunity.

You have to look at the situation, the pitch, the count, and make a decision about whether someone is being thrown at intentionally, Santos said. Were not going to stand for that, but at the same time you cant go out and react emotionally. You take note of the count, the pitch, and make a determination from there.

Kudos to you, Sergio, says Alexei.

Paul Konerko was nursing a sore backhe was taking extended treatment after Tuesdays game and was not injured as a result of being plunked in the upper thigh in the seventh inningand was due for an off-day anyhow, which he enjoyed on Wednesday. But the Captain didnt seem too excited about the notion that numerous bruised batters wouldnt be avenged any time soon.

I was more upset about getting hit than actually getting hurt, Konerko said by way of explaining his outraged reaction to being hit by Indians reliever Zach Putnam. It didnt really hurt at all, just stung for a second. I dont want to get hit. Nobody wants to get hit I dont think any of them were intentional, but theres a cumulative thing that kind of adds up after awhile. So, well see how it goes.

You can hardly blame the White Sox pitching staff for mellowing down their ire when Konerko can hardly drum up outrage for being nailed.

Guillen maintained Clevelands innocence when asked again about his teams lack of retaliation on Tuesday.

If I knew 100 percent they were throwing at us, theres no doubt in my mind I would do something about it myself, Guillen said. I would let somebody know we have to control this, and thats it. But deep inside, I dont think they did it on purpose.

Guillen has calmed a bit over the years. When he came to the White Sox, he said his players should slide into second base hard enough to break bones. He infamously told former White Sox pitchers Sean Tracey and Jon Garland to hit batters, and both hurlers failed.

The jefes comments over the past two days would indicate hes gone soft, but not so, he insisted on Wednesday.

If players come to me to talk about retaliation, I will be more than happy to donate the money for any resulting fine and protect my players, he said. But Tuesday I didnt have anything telling me it was on purpose I played this game and Ive been in this game for a little while. You know when its on purpose.

Im not going to hit somebody just because. But if I have tohell, yeah.

Guillen ferreted out Josh Judys innocence despite hitting both Beckham and Ramirez in the space of three batters in the ninth due to his circumstantial sleuthing, such as seeing that Judy was unaware how many outs were in the inning.
"A beanball war would be fun.-- Ozzie Guillen.
However, when I posed more provocative proof of Judys guiltSouth Side Sox noting that Judy in fact had good control, hitting just one batter in 52 minor-league innings and none in nine for the Indians (and the unsaid facts that Judy has hit four White Sox in the past two weeks and that since the game where Frank Herrmann broke Beckhams hand last September, effectively ending his season, Cleveland has logged 15 White Sox HBPs while the White Sox plunked just six Indians)Guillen was nonplussed.

I dont think you are going to hit a guy up or down by one run, he said. It wasnt like we were kicking their butt. It was a close game.

The last time a White Sox pitcher defended a batter, it was Mark Buehrle last September, a game after Konerko was beaned in the face by Carl Pavano (also in that series, Delmon Young took a rather direct route toward A.J. Pierzynskis head while being tagged out at the plate). Would Buehrle wreak revenge for longtime teammate and friend Konerko on Wednesday night?

It would surprise me, yes, but I cannot read Buehrles mind, Guillen said. Some people have to protect themselves, but if I see something I dont like, I wont wait for the next game. I would have told Sale, The first guy in the ninth has to go down. If the players think differently, they are grown people and have their own ideas. I have to respect that.

In fact, after some soft talk after the doubleheader on Tuesday, Guillen seemed to get more and more excited at the prospect of future fisticuffs with the Wahoos.

Im not the kind of guy who says wait for tomorrow, especially if were out of the playoff race, Guillen smiled. A beanball war would be fun.

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

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland ended a productive spring with his best outing to date on Monday afternoon.

Healthy and excited to officially kick off his White Sox career, Holland delivered six strong innings in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The left-hander allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings pitched, walking two and striking out one. Holland is expected to pitch once more in Milwaukee on Saturday before pitching in the third game of the regular season.

“Definitely feel good,” Holland said. “Feel very confident with everything, very happy with how the spring went. I worked on what we needed to work on to get myself ready for the season and stay healthy and I’m very happy with that. But most of all when you get out there and pitch, the defense, you have to keep them on their toes, and I thought the last out was the perfect example of that.”

Holland was referring to a nice diving catch by Jacob May that prevented at least one run from scoring. The longtime Texas Rangers pitcher was pleased to have established his fastball early and mixed in his offspeed pitches and changeup.

“I wanted to make sure we were going the distance,” Holland said. “I didn’t want to have a setback, and I thought we did a great job.”

The White Sox appear to have narrowly avoided one setback on Monday and are awaiting word on another. An X-ray on the left wrist of infielder Tyler Saladino was negative after he was hit by a pitch while getting in work in a pair of minor-league games. Saladino has been diagnosed with a bruised wrist.

The team is still awaiting word on pitcher Jake Petricka, who took a comebacker off his pitching hand in the seventh inning. Petricka exited the game, got his hand wrapped in ice and left to take an X-ray.

The White Sox are also waiting to learn the results of Carlos Rodon’s second opinion. Rodon was scratched from Friday’s start with a tight bicep tendon and had a physical exam and took an MRI, both of which showed he had no structural damage. Rodon traveled to Los Angeles early Monday for the second opinion with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Even if he receives the all clear, the White Sox will remain cautious, manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s almost like you have to re-start the process a little bit,” Renteria said. “It would be foolish to try to anticipate or push him into any direction without first of all ultimately having whatever the diagnosis is or the validation or whatever it might be of the second opinion. Once we get that, we’ll know hopefully tomorrow how we can ultimately proceed. I wouldn’t think we’d try to ramp him up quickly.”

The club also expects to have more clarity on the status of right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya on Tuesday. Minaya, who has been out since March 15 with an abdominal tear, was re-evaluated on Monday. Minaya had a 3.18 ERA and nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings this spring.

Matt Davidson also had two hits in the White Sox victory and drove in a run. Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer, his first of the spring. Yolmer Sanchez blasted his third homer of the spring, a two-run shot.

Zach Putnam struck out two in a scoreless inning.

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After he pulled the ball more than ever in 2016, Todd Frazier has worked to hit it the opposite way more often this spring. Even if he struggled.

But as the Opening Day nears, Frazier doesn’t want to cheat himself. Though he struggled last season, Frazier hit a career-high 40 homers. That kind of success means Frazier will continue to pull a pitch if it’s where he likes it. That approach led to a double and Frazier’s first home run of the spring in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Both balls were hit to left field.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things and sometimes when you work on something the results aren’t going to be there,” Frazier said. “But I still stay true to myself. And once we start getting going here, pretty close, close as can be -- it’s time to have those things in the back of your mind. But at the same time, you have to hit it where the pitch is and put in play. I was working on a lot of things. I was still trying to go right field, couldn’t get it out there. And now you go to what you know best and just react.”

According to fangraphs.com, Frazier hit 22.8 percent of all balls he put in play to right field last year, which is actually above his career mark of 22.5 percent. But en route to slashing .225/.302/.464, Frazier saw a second consecutive dramatic drop in the number of balls he hit to center. Of the balls Frazier put in play, only 28.5 percent went up the middle, down from 37.7 percent in 2014 when he produced a career-best wRC+ of 122.

To correct that trend, Frazier has worked to give himself a better chance to hit outside pitches the opposite way. Now that his focus is back on hitting to all fields, Frazier thought it was a good sign to homer with a week left before the season starts.

“It feels good,” Frazier said. “It’s showing I’m in the right place. It was a changeup and I’ve been out in front on a lot of those. I’ve got about 10 or 12 more at-bats before the season starts and it’s go time. Get back in the rhythm of things. Whatever you worked on, keep that there. If it’s outside now I have that weapon too as well. I’m right where I need to be.”