White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

June 28, 2012

How soon before Leyson Septimo learns to throw a cutter?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 28, 2012 10:00 pm
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May 14, 2012

Chris Sale is trying to develop a cutter

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 14, 2012 8:00 pm
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From his CTL interview:

Q: Hey Chris Redman so from the Tribune. Don Cooper gets a lot of credit. Four. Resurrecting some careers and developing young guys like Q — what — specifically are some of the things that that he emphasizes. With you and and another — young pitchers.

A: I mean the biggest part for me is is that the mentality of it you know he he stresses the mentality of pitching. You know also working with me — just different things you know get — letter back to where it needs to be. I’m trying to develop — fourth pitch that and cutter. You know he’s been all fastball command has just order. You know you gotta you gotta love the off your fastball on me that that really sets the tone for your game and — good fastball command and you know good feel for your secondary pitches you can. You know go out there and pretty much compete with anybody. And good job of loved having him as a as a pitching coach and you know I’m I’m I’m very excited with the time I’ve had with them in — in the time that you know what happened with.

Tip of the hat to James for the link. Check out his post.

May 11, 2012

On the rotation again

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 11, 2012 10:00 pm
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whitesox.com:

Chris Sale‘s return to relief pitching turned out to be short-lived indeed. The White Sox announced on Friday that Sale will return to the starting rotation and will take the mound on Saturday against the Royals. Sale will replace left-hander Eric Stults, who was originally scheduled to start Saturday’s middle game. “He’s back in [the rotation],” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Friday’s series opener.

… As it turns out, Sale was able to talk his way back into the rotation. “Let’s just say I really, really thought I could do this,” Sale said. “This is something that’s been a dream of mine and a passion of mine for very long, and at the end of the day, I felt that I could do this and felt poorly that I set a goal to do this and fell drastically short. I felt like I was letting my teammates down and felt like I was depending on other people to pick up my slack.”

… When the club returned to Chicago on Thursday, Sale underwent an MRI, which the left-hander said was identical to the MRI he underwent after being selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. “MRI is clean and pristine,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. “He’s going to pitch.”

Williams said the club prides itself on protecting its young pitchers and will continue to monitor Sale closely now that his one-week hiatus from the bullpen is over. “We are very conservative in our approach with regards to the care of particularly our pitchers,” Williams said. “I think our history, when you look at all the injury reports over the last dozen years, will show you that. “The course of action that we’ve taken with [Sale] has not been unlike the course of action we’ve taken with many of our Minor League guys in such situations.”

So what changed since last week? “The only thing that changed was that when the expression of general soreness turns into ‘I feel pain in my elbow’ and ‘I feel discomfort in my elbow,’” Williams said. “It’s beyond the general soreness that we’ve come to expect.” Williams said the 23-year-old Sale was unyielding in his desire to pitch out of the rotation when they spoke on the phone during the White Sox recent road trip.

“I’m really proud of him, because he stood up for himself,” Williams said. “The reason why this changed is that when Robin Ventura said he was going to the bullpen, that was a course of action. That was the game plan based on what [Sale] had communicated to our medical staff. “What changed is Chris Sale’s phone call to me, saying, ‘No, it’s not exactly described as pain. It’s more general soreness. It’s something that I’ve had and I can get through this. And he was adamant about it. He was adamant to the point where he almost crossed the line. And I like that.” …

What a relief! Seems the coaching staff heard ‘pain in the elbow’ and blacked out. Why they didn’t skip his start and have him undergo an MRI immediately I don’t understand.

Sale gets brownie points too:

“I truly felt this was something I could do,” Sale said of starting, and he made that clear to Williams in a phone call the day he worked out of the bullpen.

“He wants it badly, and I love that about him,” said Williams, whose conversation with Sale brought about the latest change. “I’m really proud because he stood up for himself. When Robin Ventura said he was going to the bullpen, what changed was a Chris Sale phone call to me.”

Sale insisted that what initially was thought to be “pain” in his elbow — Williams called it “a red flag” to the team — was more “general soreness.” Sale told Williams, “I can get through this.”

“He was adamant. He almost crossed the line,” Williams said. “But the forcefulness he had told us something. It told us he has something extra mentally.”

Also,

And the closer now according to Robin Ventura is “Whoever ends up in the ninth inning”.

BTW, here’s James’ take.

PS. Title is Willie. Contemplated Mick too.

May 9, 2012

Chris Sale to get MRI on his elbow [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 9, 2012 2:00 pm
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UPDATE: Scott Merkin says Chris Sale will have an MRI on his elbow tomorrow when the Sox return to Chicago:

[Chris] Sale will have an MRI on his elbow Thursday afternoon when he returns to Chicago.

After the results are read from a move that is considered purely precautionary at this point, a decision will be made as to where Sale fits on the pitching staff. Sale still was in the bullpen for Wednesday, but probably not available for the series finale against the Indians, and manager Robin Ventura indicated the bullpen is where he presently envisions Sale staying put.

“That’s something we’ll go over when we get back home,” Ventura said. “This all happened pretty fast. Getting everybody in the room and expressing it face to face is probably the best thing to do. That’s when you get the most information and make the right decision.

“We’ll see when we get everybody in the room. Personally, I’m probably not making that decision. [Sale's return to the rotation] could happen. I’m not saying it can’t but I would be surprised if it did.”

… During this down time, Sale came to Cooper and told him that his tender elbow felt great. So, Cooper wanted to revisit starting.

“Nothing is out of the possibility,” Cooper said. “He missed a start, we gave him time and we quieted down the elbow that was barking a little bit. We backed off and took care of that situation. Now he’s back to pitching.”

“It’s not for me to make the call on,” said an upbeat Sale, when asked about the relieving/starting conundrum. “Those guys obviously, they run the team and they know what they’re doing with the team and if they have a decision, it’s not like I can say, ‘No.’ I’ve obviously talked with them and it’s one of those things that you go with what’s said and grind it out another day.”

… “Everything is swirling around him having pictures taken tomorrow,” Ventura said. “He’s not hurt. It’s more monitoring what’s going on and seeing where it’s at. It’s kind of precautionary stuff that happens all the time.”

“Chris Sale is going to be pitching in prime-time spots, whether it’s closing, eighth-inning big moments or if we decided, you know what, he’s good enough right now and we are going to send him back out starting,” Cooper said. “I don’t think anything is out of the question, but no matter what he’s doing, we are going to be watching him and taking care of him.”

Initial post:
(more…)

Chris Sale wants back in

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 9, 2012 3:00 am
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Daryl Van Schouwen:

Left-hander Chris Sale’s move from the starting rotation to the bullpen may only be temporary, he and pitching coach Don Cooper said Tuesday.

Sale, who was named the White Sox’ closer Friday because he had been experiencing discomfort in his left elbow — raising concerns about the rigors of starting on his arm — still wants badly to start.

And he might get another shot this season, even though manager Robin Ventura had said his move to the bullpen would be for the rest of the season.

“Never say never,’’ Cooper told the Sun-Times when asked if Sale’s move to the pen is permanent this season. “For this moment, right now, he’s in the bullpen.’’ …

… Sale said his arm feels great and that the subject of starting again is on the burner.

“No, absolutely not,’’ Sale said when asked if he had ruled out starting this season. “Starting is something I hope I can get back into. We’ve been kind of talking back and forth. There’s a possibility of it. Not ruling it out is the best way to say it.’’

It was thought that Cooper and former manager Ozzie Guillen were against making Sale a starter when plans for this season were discussed last year. Cooper said that wasn’t true in his case.

“No, no, I was never adamantly against it,’’ Cooper said. “All I knew is we had one of the best lefty relievers right there. And like I said from the beginning, as an organization, we decided to do this undertaking. And I was all in. I was looking forward to getting him over the hump and making him a starter, and we were proceeding accordingly. I want what my guys want. He wants to start. I want him to start.’’

As of now, Sale is being “held back,’’ Cooper said. “We’re going to continue to watch it. Who knows what we may do? Right now, we just kind of backed off him a little bit. In effect, we’ve missed a start. He’s feeling great right now.’’ …

… Cooper dismissed the notion that Sale’s mechanics aren’t suited for the rigors of starting.

“No, no, no, there were no concerns about that,’’ Cooper said.

“If you don’t have a good delivery, you can’t throw strikes. And Chris Sale is a strike-throwing machine. He has a good delivery.’’ …

So, the situation is the opposite of this:

May 4, 2012

That’s not good. Not at all. In fact it sucks. A lot.

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 4, 2012 7:00 pm
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Scott Merkin:

Chris Sale’s time as a starting pitcher lasted one month and 32 innings.

But the White Sox view the left-hander’s move from the rotation to the team’s closer, as announced by manager Robin Ventura prior to Friday’s series opener in Detroit, not as a disappointment but more as a move to preserve Sale’s career.

The 23-year-old had been experiencing a mixture of soreness and tightness in his pitching elbow, according to Ventura. So Ventura met with Sale on Friday and the decision was made.

Sale left the meeting wearing a compression sleeve on his elbow. He elected not to comment pregame. Sale has said before that he enjoys the thrill of closing but has always felt more comfortable as a starter.

As Ventura pointed out, Sale is not hurt and still could probably go out and start. Ventura added that Sale is tough enough to handle the starting rigors, but Ventura would feel terrible if Sale got hurt in the process.

“It’s not disappointing to us,” said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of the change. “It’s disappointing to him because this was something that he’s always wanted to do.”

In what could be his first and only year as a starter, Sale has a 3-1 record with a 2.89 ERA during five trips to the mound, with 29 strikeouts and eight walks over those 32 innings. He threw at least 100 pitches in each of his first four starts, before being pulled with 88 pitches after six innings against Cleveland on Tuesday.

… This Sale move obviously affects alignment for the rest of the staff. Hector Santiago, who recorded four saves as the White Sox closer, will move into a middle-relief role with the South Siders now having four left-handers in the bullpen. Dylan Axelrod gets the start in Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers and will have the first chance to hold on to that fifth spot.

… There wasn’t a complete feeling of permanence with this Sale move, as both Cooper and Ventura espoused a “never say never” attitude. But the 13th pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, who had a 2.58 ERA over 79 career relief appearances coming into the 2012 campaign, not to mention 12 saves, will be the White Sox closer for the foreseeable future.

“He is much more important to the White Sox organization with a uniform on and pitching,” Cooper said. “And we are not going to put that at a greater risk, or jeopardize that.”

Here’s Don Cooper:

“It’s not disappointing to us, it’s disappointing to him because this was something he’s always wanted to do,” pitching coach Don Cooper said before the Sox’ game at Detroit Friday. “We’re not making this decision based on what’s best for the team because obviously he’s starting and doing well and that would be a wonderful thing to keep him in. We feel we’re doing what’s best for him, his career and his health. It’s the best way to keep him healthy and strong.”

“It’s easier to maintain that and keeping tabs on this in the bullpen than it is as a starter,” Cooper said. “We already know he’s a good left-handed reliever. That’s been proven over the past 1 ½ years. Now we’ll be trying to make him one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball, not just in the American League. That’s all we’re at with it. Chris is going to be fine. He was upset. He wanted to continue to do this. But sometimes we have to make decisions based upon what we feel is best for that individual, and that’s what we did.” …

When I first saw the headline I said ‘dammit, don’t these knuckleheads understand that he’s more valuable as a starter?’ After reading the whole article though I’m convinced this is no ‘we’re desperate for a closer’ move and I’m scared beyond words. Merkin’s article sounds horrible. Cooper’s quote is as scary as it gets.

April 21, 2012

27 up, 27 down. Phillip Humber throws the 21st perfect game in MLB history (video) [UPDATE #2]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 21, 2012 7:00 pm
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Sox @ Seattle:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Humber(W, 1-0) 9.0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0.63
Totals 9.0 0 0 0 0 9 0 3.10

Pitches-strikes: Humber 96-67.
Groundouts-flyouts: Humber 5-5.
Batters faced: Humber 27.

Pitch F/X for Phil Humber:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Linear Weights Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 91.55 94 -6.17 7.01 31 24 / 77.42% 3 / 9.68% -1.8743 0.414
CH (Changeup) 85.68 87.4 -7.68 1.20 9 6 / 66.67% 1 / 11.11% -0.6242 0.438
SL (Slider) 84.02 85.5 1.36 -0.59 19 15 / 78.95% 3 / 15.79% -2.5574 0.451
CU (Curveball) 80.99 85 4.75 -5.28 29 19 / 65.52% 7 / 24.14% -2.4106 0.470
FT (TwoSeam Fastball) 91.19 93.5 -8.49 6.47 7 3 / 42.86% 0 / 0.00% -0.2028 0.416
Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate. Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches. Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
1 12 8 66.67 12 -0.834
2 14 10 71.43 26 -0.877
3 11 9 81.82 37 -0.848
4 8 6 75.00 45 -0.848
5 6 4 66.67 51 -0.834
6 5 4 80.00 56 -0.871
7 12 8 66.67 68 -0.848
8 11 8 72.73 79 -0.848
9 16 10 62.50 95 -0.862

Humber’s breaking stuff was F-I-L-T-H-Y G-O-O-D today!

Congratulations to Philip Humber. Congratulations to Don Cooper too. His pitchers have 2 perfect games in the last 3 years!

Humber only started throwing a slider last year after Coop taught him:

UPDATE: Here’s a video of all 27 outs:

More video and other stuff here.

Humber’s needed 96 pitches today. That’s the 7th smaller amount of pitches for a perfect game.

UPDATE #2: More perfect game stuff:

UPDATE #3: Even more perfect game stuff:

March 17, 2012

Addison Reed adds a cutter to his pitches

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 17, 2012 10:00 pm
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Dave van Dyck:

Rookie reliever Addison Reed, the organization’s No. 1 prospect, has added a cutter to his fastball, slider and changeup. He discovered it almost by accident while “messing around with grips” in a bullpen session with coach Juan Nieves.

“It feels awesome, so we’ll see what happens with it,” he said. “If I have all those pitches, that’s just one more thing (hitters) have to be thinking about.”

Reed has allowed one run in 4 1/3 spring innings.

Awesome. Maybe Reed can master his cutter and become a starter next year.

PS. You’re freakin’ awesome Juan! You too Coop!

March 11, 2012

Will Ohman (LHRP) adds a change-up to his pitches

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 11, 2012 2:31 pm
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Daryl Van Schouwen:

Left-handed relief specialist Will Ohman, who has made a career with his fastball and slider, is throwing a changeup that he and pitching coach Don Cooper are excited about.

A changeup gives Ohman a pitch to get right-handed hitters out with, which could extend his outings from one or two hitters to a full inning or more.

Another Cooper fix?

March 4, 2012

Coop says there are 3 more bullpen openings

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 4, 2012 11:00 pm
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Scott Merkin:

Although Cooper has wavered between eight or nine locks on the pitching staff over the past 10 days since camp began, he clearly mentioned nine on Sunday. That number means Addison Reed will join Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Will Ohman as relievers who break camp with the club.

So, three stands as the magic number to complete the bullpen and the pitching staff, when factoring in starting pitchers John Danks, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and Humber. At least two of those remaining spots will be of the long-relief variety, based on Cooper’s criteria.

“We kind of need two — or possibly even three — of those to be guys that can give us some innings,” Cooper said. “The other guys — Reed, Crain, Ohman, Thornton — those are the guys, in a perfect world, to keep to an inning.

“But I’ll stretch it to two. Know those guys will be getting two-inning outings down the line, so those other guys have to give us some innings. But we’re going to be taking guys who can give us innings and get the job done.”

… Through a brief Major League callup last season, the White Sox already have working knowledge of Santiago and his screwball out-pitch. They also know what Zach Stewart and Dylan Axelrod can provide in long relief, as well as in a spot start. That past knowledge is preferred in picking pitchers, as opposed to basing selection on the hitter-friendly environs of Arizona.

“Sometimes, we have some guys who don’t have past records, so we’ll have to make decisions,” Cooper said. “We’ve seen Stewart, Axelrod, Santiago in Chicago. We haven’t seen [Leyson] Septimo and [Jose] Quintana and Donnie Veal and others. They’ll show us what we need to be thinking about.”

December 15, 2011

Jake Peavy has no problem with Don Cooper

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 15, 2011 12:00 am
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Ozzie is another story though!

Mark Gonzales:

“Ozzie didn’t care for me at the end because I was shut down,” Peavy said. “It didn’t end on good terms. The one thing about it, Coop and I have an open relationship. There was one time where I disagreed about something he said about me being on and off after coming back from the surgery, and I told him about it.

“But let’s be real: The Sox don’t win a World Series without Mark Buehrle, and look at what Coop has done over the years. It takes time to know someone. I have no problems with (Cooper).”

October 5, 2011

Surprise candidate!

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 5, 2011 3:00 am
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Gordon Wittenmyer:

Depending on the day, the source or the direction the wind blows, Martinez or Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. is the favorite to land Guillen’s old job. Terry Francona’s sudden availability adds a high-profile wrinkle to the mix, and there’s some talk of a surprise off-the-radar candidate.

Jim Thome is coming back!

Other White Sox links:

October 1, 2011

Coop wants Terry

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 1, 2011 3:00 am
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September 27, 2011

Don Cooper to sign multi-year deal with the Sox [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 27, 2011 6:30 pm
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Scott Merkin:

A contract extension for White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper figures to become official on Tuesday afternoon with the announcement of a new multi-year deal that will precede a two-game stint as manager in place of Ozzie Guillen.

Cooper is finishing his ninth full season and 10th overall as Chicago’s pitching coach, having begun the task on July 22, 2002. He has worked under managers Jerry Manuel and Guillen, and soon will be practicing his craft for a third — whomever is hired during the offseason to replace Guillen.

With Guillen released from his contract after Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays to pursue other opportunities and bench coach Joey Cora apparently heading to the Marlins with Guillen, Cooper will run the show over the final two days of the 2011 season as the team’s interim manager.

CSN reports first base coach Harold Baines will get a multi-year deal too, but third base coach Jeff Cox and hitting coach Greg Walker won’t get new deals.

UPDATE: The extension is for 4 years:

Of Cooper, Williams said, “Well, the pitching has been as consistent over the last decade, and that’s a testament to our scouting department, to our player development department, to Don Cooper, directly in his direction. It’s something that’s well deserved and I’m happy, thrilled to know that he’s going to be on board here for the next four years.”

Nice!

Ballantini’s new Sox manager odds

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 27, 2011 3:00 pm
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Dave MartinezDon CooperSandy Alomar, Jr.

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