While Williams has great respect for the handling of his pitching staff, he doesn’t like that pitching coach Don Cooper expressed strong feelings about keeping left-hander Chris Sale in one role for the sake of the 21-year-old.
Williams prefers to have Sale trained this spring as a starter while Jake Peavy recovers from a detached latissimus dorsi muscle under his right shoulder, which could last into April. “But to have (Sale) prepare as a reliever and take away one or two of his pitches because that’s what guys tend to do, I don’t think it’s wise, ” Williams said. “My pitching coach will ultimately fall in line with his general manager and his manager. Coop should probably speak to us before he speaks to you guys.”
Cooper didn’t attend SoxFest because of obligations involving his children.
January 21, 2011
Williams did anticipate that Jake Peavy could miss up to the first month of the regular season but stated that he has received positive text messages from his injured pitcher.
Nevertheless, Williams intimated that Chris Sale will prepare this spring as a starter until Peavy is healthy.
UPDATE: Merkin @ CWS:
The reason Chris Sale prepared himself as a starter this offseason was not necessarily because he is expected to be inserted into the 2011 starting rotation. General manager Ken Williams simply didn’t want Sale to break from the usual routine he employed over the past few years at this formative stage of his career.
“If you now try to have him do something he’s not used to doing, you might not get the guy you just saw the last half of the season,” Williams said. “I think it’s important for him to always prepare — for all guys, not just him — as they always have to get the most out of him.
“As we are currently set up, it’s my feeling he ultimately will be in the bullpen. We won’t have that need, at least no longer than 30 days, if we have it at all. But to have him prepare as a reliever and take away one or two of his pitches because that’s what guys tend to do, I don’t think it’s wise.”
Williams also doesn’t believe Sale would be hampered by moving back and forth between starter and reliever in the same season.
“When you can do it, you can do it,” Williams said. “He’s shown he can do it. Leave him alone.”
UPDATE #2: Peavy thinks he will be ready by Opening Day.
Williams also confirmed that [Dayan] Viciedo would be moving to the outfield, remarking again that the young player “has the potential to be very special” and that “we need to find a place for him to play.” The GM wouldn’t rule out Viciedo as a future infielder, but definitely endorsed his current move to the outfield, making it imaginable that the young slugger could fill a hybrid role of corner outfielder/DH/corner infielder that could see him playing a couple of games a week in 2011.
Prior to the start of Friday’s opening SoxFest Town Hall Meeting involving general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen, Williams announced the team exercised its 2012 option on Guillen’s contract. So, one more potential off-the-field distraction was removed, with the questions of Guillen’s future erased for at least the next two years.
The Red Sox showed interest in Soriano, and appeared willing to do a one-year deal for him to be their closer. Had that happened, Boston would have found a new home for Papelbon, probably Oakland or the White Sox. … The Red Sox talked to the A’s and White Sox about Papelbon. But the A’s wound up signing Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour to bolster their bullpen in what turned out to be a solid winter for them despite their failure to land third baseman Adrian Beltre. The White Sox signed Crain but will likely try Matt Thornton as their closer, with 2010 draft phenom Chris Sale also a possibility. Sale might also start the year as the fifth starter and stay in the rotation until Jake Peavy returns. The team sees Peavy’s likely return date as sometime around June.
6. Chris Sale, White Sox: Wow, that was fast. Sale was in Chicago just two months after being drafted in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. And he wasn’t there just to check out the scene; he ended up closing games during a pennant race. His long-term role, though, should be as a starter, so he can use his plus fastball, above-average slider and outstanding changeup to greater effect. He has a terrific mound presence and is mature, so he should be able to handle the opportunity to join the White Sox rotation soon without any real difficulty.
On his absent change-up, and newly prominent slider: Chris expressed that the gradual disappearance of his change-up (a go-to pitch in college), and emergence of his slider (a show-me pitch in college), was more of a thing that just kinda happened without any particular design. He postulated that it may have been due to him facing an inordinate number of lefties, but views it as a positive development, because he’s still really comfortable with his change-up, and now has developed equal confidence in his slider.