GLENDALE, Ariz. — Matt Lindstrom has passed his first test and looks forward to the next one.
The White Sox reliever allowed a hit in a scoreless inning during Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Cubs at Camelback Ranch. The outing was the first for Lindstrom this spring after he was sidelined since Feb. 26 with a left oblique strain. Lindstrom said he’s no longer tentative and believes he’s on the way to being ready for the March 31 opener.
“No ill effects,” Lindstrom said. “I can deal with soreness, and a little bit of weakness or whatever, but for the most part the fastball command was good. I threw a couple of good cutters, a pitch I’ve been working on this offseason. I didn’t feel really anything, and I’m excited to make my next appearance on Sunday. I threw some good offspeed pitches, and I threw a couple of crappy ones. I just need to keep getting better at that. It was fun feeling the adrenaline out there and having guys behind me. I got some groundballs, and that’s the kind of pitcher I am, so everything’s good.”
Lindstrom got a ground ball and a strikeout in his 13-pitch inning. He also allowed a single and got out of the inning when Tyler Flowers threw out pinch runner Chris Valaika trying to steal.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura is encouraged by the effort. He also noted that Lindstrom’s second effort would be just as important.
“He looked fine,” Ventura said. “It’s when you get him back out there again you’re going to find out really how he’s feeling.”
Danks works on command
John Danks is pleased with how his fastball command has improved over the course of the spring, but he still has room to go. The left-hander allowed four earned runs and six hits over five innings. Danks didn’t issue a walk and struck out two in a 79-pitch effort. He threw 20 more pitches in the bullpen.
“I was able to throw all my pitches and I felt good about where I’m at,” Danks said. “Obviously there are a couple I would like to have back, but the goal today was not to walk anybody and I did that. I feel like I got my command better than what it has been and still got some good stuff on the ball.”
Abreu leaves early
Jose Abreu is still experiencing some pain in his ankles and left Friday’s game after 4 1/2 innings. Abreu has felt pain over the past two weeks but has been able to play anyway. Ventura said last week the White Sox aren’t concerned about the soreness but are being cautious.
Abreu went 1-for-2 and is hitting .317 with nine RBIs.
“He’s still having the foot issues where he looks like he’s hobbling on it so get him out and ice him down,” Ventura said.
— Ventura believes Jeff Keppinger will start the season on the disabled list. Keppinger has been restricted from throwing since he arrived in camp and his shoulder hasn’t improved.
“Until he can throw,” Ventura said. “Watching him throw, it’s going slow. So, yeah it’s headed that way.
— Gordon Beckham doesn’t feel pain but said there’s still some soreness in his left oblique strain. Beckham suffered the injury last Friday and is set to test the area on Saturday. He doesn’t think missing the opener is in question.
“I think I will be fine, I would say,” Beckham said. “I know I haven’t swung yet, but I can tell my body feels a lot better.”