Monday, February 28, 2011
By Brett Ballantini
GLENDALE, Ariz. Reflective of the eagerness the Chicago White Sox have had for getting started on the 2011 season, Mondays Cactus League opener vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers couldnt come fast enough.
Slugger Adam Dunn echoed the sentiments of the entire clubhouse when he said, with a bit of a sigh, Im just happy to get the games going.
Dunn admitted that he and the other White Sox hitters are still behind pitchers, who reported to camp earlier than most position players. So despite bringing a career seven-of-11 mark against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (including three homers, seven RBI and a 2.273 OPS), Dunn warned against setting expectations too high: I wouldnt expect too much.
Dunn said he would be working on something I havent felt so far in batting practice yet, and even the notion that playing with pride might not kick in for the opener: You can pretty much throw pride out the window today.
This early in spring training is where pitchers will have their fun, Dunn said, recounting the fact that he derogatorily refers to hurlers as kickers (as in non-player specialists). Theyve been here longer than us. Theyre ahead of us.
Juan Pierre was Kershaws teammate for two seasons in Los Angeles and has never faced the wicked lefty. But the speedster takes a different stance on hitters vs. pitchers: They always have the advantage. You never know what theyre throwing.
Pierre is the kind of player who starts counting down toward a day like today as soon as the last out of the previous season is made. And he cant help but be eager to get going.
The games dont count, but your competitive nature kicks in, he said. You dont want to mess up. You cant simulate game action in drills, so for now, its just see the ball, hit the ball.
Lucas Harrell will relieve todays White Sox starter, Gavin Floyd, and hes excited to get game play underway as well.
Im excited for the games to start and show what I can do, Harrell said. You cant put pressure on yourself, but just let things happen.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.