Word on the Street: Pitchers ponder future in Chicago

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Word on the Street: Pitchers ponder future in Chicago

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cubs making a push for Vazquez

Despite a diminishing budget for the 2011 season, the Cubs are reportedly attempting to court Javier Vazquez to add to their starting rotation, as CubbiesCrib.com reports from Bruce Levin on ESPN Radio 1000.

Beyond Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs' rotation is pretty open, the blog states, and Vazquez could slide in the No. 3 spot. However, the team is also allegedly interested in Jeremy Bonderman, Kevin Millwood, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla to fill the same need, according to MLB Daily Dish.

Vazquez was a Cy Young candidate in 2009 with the Atlanta Braves, compiling a 2.87 ERA while running up a 15-10 record. Last season with the Yankees, he went just 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA.

Vazquez spent the 2006-08 seasons with the White Sox. (Cubbies Crib)

Putz heading to Arizona?

The Arizona Diamondbacks have already made it clear that they were interested in White Sox free agent first baseman Paul Konerko, but now they are reportedly turning their attention to free agent reliever J.J. Putz, according to multiple National League sources.

Putz lives in a northwest suburb of Phoenix in the offseason, so that may be a deciding factor for the right-handed veteran. He can close as well as set-up, so he could wind up being very valuable to whatever team he ends up with. (Chicago Tribune)

Sunday's Packers - Vikings game last for Favre?

The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played for the 100th time on Sunday, but the big question is whether or not it will be the last one for Brett Favre.

Favre has announced that he will retire after this season, but he has made that announcement several times before and still continues to play. So unless the two teams meet in the playoffs, this could be Favre's last Packers-Vikings game.

The game itself is the least hyped matchup between the two teams in several years. The Packers are 6-3, while the Vikings are struggling at 3-6. That might explain why Favre barely blinked when asked if he thought about possibly playing the Packers for the final time.

"No, I haven't really," Favre said. "We obviously need a win. That's my focus and hopefully our team's focus. We can't be concerned about anything else but winning the football game. There's no time to think about those types of things," (Player Press).

Canucks coach not happy with the Blackhawks
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wasn't too happy with the players the Hawks were using on the power play with the game in hand Saturday.

His words only make the Hawks-Canucks rivalry more compelling.

"Obviously we're going to have to find a way to play better at home against that team," Vigneault said after the Hawks demolished his team 7-1.

"We basically embarrassed ourselves tonight in front of our fans, and they did everything they could tonight to rub it in our face -- 6-0 and they throw their No. 1 power play unit out there when it's a 5-on-3 power play. They have every right to do that. They did it. They were pushing it, and they did," (Chicago Sun-Times).

White Sox add three players to 40-man roster

The Chicago White Sox added three players to their 40-man roster in advance of Friday's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline to set their roster and protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.

The team purchased the contracts of right-handed pitcher Anthony Carter and shortstop Eduardo Escobar from Double-A Birmingham and right-handed pitcher Nate Jones from Class A Winston-Salem.

The White Sox now have 34 players on their 40-man roster, (ChiSox.com).
Boozer close to practicing
Sidelined power forward Carlos Boozer says he hopes to practice with the Bulls soon, telling CSNChicago.com's Aggrey Sam, "The great thing about my injury is Ive been able to run a lot and stay in shape as good as I can, so when I get back out there to practicehopefully very soon; maybe in a week, week and a half, Ill be able to practice sometime this week Im hopingI wont be too far behind," (CSNChicago.com).
NFL using electronic forensics in Favre-Sterger investigation
NFL investigators are using high-tech methods to trace the electronic trail behind purported X-rated photos and voice mails sent to former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger and if they originated from Favre's cell phone.

Sterger's lawyer told the Daily News earlier this month that "substantial materials" were turned over to the NFL for its investigation, (NY Daily News).
White Sox ticket prices expected to increase

White Sox single-game tickets have yet to go on sale. But fans should expect a small increase price-wise from what they paid in 2010.

"We haven't announced our game prices at this time, but our philosophy for the last six or seven years has been a small incremental jump each year," said White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer Brooks Boyer, entering his eighth season in this capacity. "We are looking at making sure we have scenarios where families can get out to the ballpark.

"Our Value Mondays and our family packs will continue. You come in groups, and there's some cost savings there. It's going to be what our fans have come to expect," (ChiSox.com).

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."