First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman

First Sox drops include a surprise in Leesman
March 9, 2011, 6:13 pm
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Posted: 12:05 p.m. Updated: 3:50 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Chicago White Sox announced their first seven roster cuts of the spring, headlined by aspiring spot starters Lucas Harrell and Charlie Leesman.

Harrell and pitcher Jhonny Nunez were sent to AAA Charlotte, while Leesman, outfielder Brandon Short, catchers Josh Phegley and Jared Price, and pitcher Kyle Bellamy were reassigned to minor-league camp.

Harrell, coming into camp considered the front-runner for the No. 5 spot in the rotation had Jake Peavy proven unable to break camp with the big club, had a mostly disastrous spring. His first appearance was a scoreless inning of relief, during which he made a diving, linebacker assist of a spinning tapper toward first, but his Cactus League was disappointing from there. His spring numbers included a team-worst 20.25 ERA (six earned runs in 2 23 innings), nine hits, and two home runs.

He should be disappointed in himself, Guillen said. We gave him the opportunity. We gave him everything. The first meeting I had, I told him wed give him a chance. What we saw is not what were looking for. Youve got to go out there and throw strikes.

Bellamy was also among the springs biggest disappointments, recording a 9.00 ERA in two games, with two strikeoutstwo walks and a wild pitch.

The remaining cuts saw little action this spring. Nunez pitched to just one batter, striking him out (he did allow two hits and punched out three batters in two innings of B-Game action vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 3). Phegley was 0-4 with two Ks, Price was 1-2 in two games, and Short was 2-6 with three Ks in five games. He made his Cactus League debut in fine fashion, with a diving catch in left field late in the opener vs. the Dodgers.

Leesman also saw little action this Cactus League, pitching just two innings, allowing one hit and three walks against two Ks. The young lefty notched a 0.00 ERA but also had a wild pitch. White Sox brass shine sunny on Leesman, but his struggle with breaking-pitch command was made evident in a number of bullpen sessions prior to game action.

White Sox manager on Monday had implied the window was wide open for any player fighting for a roster spot, as no one had distinguished themselves in battles for the teams 12th pitcher spot and final bench seat.

I dont see anybody stepping up into last bullpen or bench spots, Guillen said. Thats not too bright. Were going to give guys a chance to make the team. At the end of the day, they will make the team for you or they will cut their own throats.

Guillen, known as ruthlessly efficient when it comes to his spring work, said on Wednesday that he wasnt in the business of sending out false signals or hopes to young players.

Nobody will be sent down, at least if youre a kid, until we have to send you down, he said. Were going to give you a shot. Were not going to send you down just because. I dont think we should waste anybodys time here. I dont think we should go home and make this guy hope for an opportunity: Oh, Im in the mix. The way were going to do it this year, the way GM Kenny Williams wants to do it is move quicker and try to put this roster together as quick as we can.

Chicago is now down to 46 players in camp, including 24 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders.

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