Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists

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Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists

A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy were tabbed as Gold Glove finalists in advance of Tuesday, when the award winners are revealed. Gold Glove awards are voted on by each major-league manager and up to six of his coaches, so Pierzynski's play behind the plate and Peavy's on the mound impressed more than a few staffs around the league.

Mark Buehrle, who won the last three AL Gold Gloves for starting pitchers while with the White Sox, is a finalist in the National League. Before Buehrle, the last White Sox player to garner a Gold Glove was Robin Ventura, who won his fifth and final honor in 1998.

No other White Sox players made the final cut, but here's how the Gold Glove finalists stack up against the top defensive performers in the AL, as rated by UZR.

First base (Gold Glove): Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixeira
First base (UZR): Adrian Gonzalez (14.5), Mark Teixeira (10.5), Albert Pujols (5.9)

Second base (Gold Glove): Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Second base (UZR): Dustin Pedroia (10.0), Robinson Cano (9.7), Dustin Ackley (6.7)

Third base (Gold Glove): Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Third base (UZR): Mike Moustakas (16.8), Brandon Inge (11.1), Adrian Beltre (10.7)

Shortstop (Gold Glove): Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Shortstop (UZR): Brendan Ryan (14.7), J.J. Hardy (11.3), Jhonny Peralta (9.9)

Left field (Gold Glove): Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Left field (UZR): Alex Gordon (14.1), Desmond Jennings (10.7), David Murphy (9.4)

Center field (Gold Glove): Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Center field (UZR): Mike Trout (10.6), Denard Span (8.5), Austin Jackson (4.1)

Right field (Gold Glove): Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francouer, Josh Reddick
Right field (UZR): Josh Reddick (17.7), Ben Revere (15.8), Ichiro (12.7)

UZR doesn't do catcher defense, but there are some fairly decent catcher rankings done yearly by Matt Klaassen. The Gold Glove top four, against his top four (excluding sparingly-used backups)

Gold Glove: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
Klaassen: Matt Wieters (12.5), Bobby Wilson (4.9), Alex Avila (3.5), Jeff Mathis (3.5)

Pierzynski rates near the bottom at -3.6 runs, although Tyler Flowers was rated to have saved 2.9 runs with his play behind the plate.

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

PHOENIX — Carlos Rodon was pretty excited to face hitters at a major league venue on Monday afternoon, another step in his return from the disabled list.

Just when the White Sox left-hander will return is still to be determined. But it’s another telling sign of progress that Rodon threw 60 pitches and got up and down four times against White Sox minor leaguers at Chase Field on Monday. The exercise was the fourth simulated game that Rodon — on the 60-day disabled list with bursitis in his left shoulder — has participated in since he returned to the mound earlier this month. He said he currently views himself on an every-fifth-day schedule. Jake Petricka, who like Rodon was ecstatic to be back around White Sox teammates, also threw in the sim game as did Nate Jones.

“I’ve been itching for two months,” Rodon said. “Like I said, frustrating. Hopefully soon they’ll lift the leash off and let me pitch in a game and get back up here for my boys.

“Jake and I, we just play it by ear, listen to what they got for us and we do it.”

“We’re getting closer.”

While nobody is putting a timeline on when Rodon would return, he’s clearly advancing to a promising phase. General manager Rick Hahn watched Rodon’s outing and called it positive. Hahn said it’s encouraging that Rodon has begun to think of himself on a five-day schedule and the next step includes building up arm strength and endurance.

“He’s been out there now three or four times throwing to hitters,” Hahn said. “Each time has been a little more crisp from what I understand from the previous ones to today. Hopefully here in the coming weeks we are able to announce he’s starting a rehab assignment and we’ll have a better sense of his time frame at that point.”

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The entire ordeal has been somewhat of a frustrating odyssey for Rodon. He initially believed he would be ready to return to the White Sox at the start of the month.

“Now it’s May 22nd and we’re still here,” he said. “It’s taken a lot longer than I imagined. It’s hard to be patient when your team is out here battling. I’m sitting on the backfield throwing and fielding PFP’s and waiting back here. It’s been frustrating.

“That’s all I can say, frustration.”

Rodon said he threw at 100 percent in the game. He described his command as pretty close to normal and said his stuff has begun to return.

The process has taken longer than all parties expected because it’s based on feel and “throwing with discomfort is never a good thing,” Rodon said. However, that time appears to be in the past as Rodon feels like he’s made good progress and is itching to get back on the mound.

Rodon would love to ignore his body and try to pitch through this. But after experiencing discomfort, Rodon appreciates the methodical approach.

“The competitor in me tells me to go out there, screw it, I can pitch,” Rodon said. “I’ll do it. I don’t care. But then you have to step back and know this is your career. It’s something that could affect you over a long period of time, I have to be healthy. I can’t be on the DL every other month. You know? That’s not going to work. You have to be a reliable starter, a guy who goes seven innings. We’re looking into the future. Not just this year but into the future. Obviously, hopefully I’m a part of that. Have to be healthy to help out so. It’s hard to take the reins back on myself. As you get older you know your body better, what feels right and what feels wrong. I’m understanding that in the whole process. They’re helping me pull the reins back.”

Cubs in no rush to make Brett Anderson/Eddie Butler rotation decision

Cubs in no rush to make Brett Anderson/Eddie Butler rotation decision

Brett Anderson had been the only player on the 25-man Opening Day roster without a World Series ring or the equity built up from being part of last year’s championship team. The Cubs viewed him as a relatively low-risk, high-reward gamble at the back of their rotation.

Anderson got booed off the Wrigley Field mound in the first inning his last time out, walking away from a blowout loss to the New York Yankees on May 6 that spiked his ERA to 8.18 and put him on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his lower back.

“I still have confidence in myself that when everything’s healthy, and when everything’s right, I can get people out,” Anderson said. “I just got to get there.”

A significant step will be Tuesday’s bullpen session, but the Cubs are in no rush with a lefty who’s been on the disabled list 10 times since 2010 and already undergone two surgical procedures on his lower back. Anderson said he’s pain-free and relieved that this got diagnosed as a muscle issue and not the kind of disc problem he’s dealt with before.     

The Cubs are clearly intrigued by Eddie Butler’s immediate upside and long-term potential. But the change-of-scenery guy also followed up a great Cub debut – six scoreless innings in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium – by needing 92 pitches to get through three innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in an ugly, rain-soaked loss last week.    

“That’s an evaluation,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Hopefully, nobody gets hurt, either. There are so many different variables involved. For me, the biggest thing is for him to be well, to go pitch, to be pitching well and then you make that decision.”   

Maddon said Anderson – who’s working on a one-year, $3.5 million, incentive-laden deal tied to starts – “absolutely” will need to go on a rehab assignment. 

“But we haven’t put pencil to paper or whatever in regards to doing that yet,” Maddon said. “He’s doing well. It shouldn’t be too long. It’s just a matter of him getting everything together and getting some work back in. So I don’t have a finish line. But I think he’s in pretty good shape moving forward.”