Infante was recently cut from Major League camp, but figures to get some innings with the Sox at some point in 2011. After transitioning to the bullpen last season he showed major heat. His fastball sits mid to high 90s and has been clocked hitting triple digits. His curve is a good pitch, but Infante needs to be more consistent with it. He has the potential for a one-two punch of plus pitches. Of course, control is key and that will probably be the No. 1 thing to watch in Charlotte this year.
March 23, 2011
And the news for the White Sox right-hander was about as upbeat as could be expected on Wednesday. Peavy was examined by Dr. Anthony Romeo, who performed the experimental surgery on July 14 to reattach the tendon that anchors the latissimus dorsi muscle to the rear of Peavy’s shoulder. The discomfort Peavy has been feeling in that area since his last start on March 19 in Phoenix was nothing structural and just the blip on the radar everyone in the organization expected during this comeback.
This piece of information was so positive that general manager Ken Williams still would not completely rule out Peavy from breaking camp with the team and being part of the opening rotation. It’s unlikely, at this point, but nothing seems to be impossible with Peavy’s unique situation.
UPDATE: Here’s Kenny:
“One of the reasons we went out to get Jake Peavy is because he has that attitude. When you say bulldog, that’s who you are talking about. That kind of guy. He is going to exhaust himself to get back out there. And the doctors have done an amazing job through the whole process keeping us informed and in layman’s terms explaining it to us. We’re not surprised where we are right now. And I continue to be surprised that we have the opportunity to get him out there a lot sooner than we wanted. But what we want is to keep a mindset toward the player first, and the club. This is not an Ozzie Guillen decision or a Don Cooper decision. I will take my guidance from the doctors, medical staff and Jake.”
Factoring in the Peavy setback, Williams said the White Sox will break camp with 12 pitchers. That decision leaves Phil Humber or Jeff Marquez as the fifth starter, the second of these hurlers working in long relief, and Brent Lillibridge and Lastings Milledge fighting for one position player slot — a decision likely to be made by Monday. Williams also said the temporary fifth starter will be filled by Humber or Marquez and not from someone off the waiver wire.
Game at 3:05 CT. Watch an exclusive free webcast at 3:05 p.m. CT this afternoon, when the White Sox face the Dodgers in the final spring meeting between the Camelback Ranch co-tenants. John Danks, who has a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 spring innings, is slated to make his fifth start. Watch | Gameday
March 22, 2011
Meet Lori Moreland: new stadium organist for the White Sox.
Moreland takes over for Nancy Faust, who retired last season after 40 years and more than 3,000 games with the White Sox.
“I can’t even believe I’m sitting here,” Moreland said Tuesday from her organ booth behind home plate. “It’s almost like a dream.”
Moreland, 52, is a church organist by day at Our Lady of Knock in Calumet City. Now she’s brushing up on her Eminems and Ushers.
According to Dr. Tony Romeo, who performed the radical surgery to repair Peavy’s detached latissimus muscle at Rush University Medical Center last July 14, don’t expect the right-hander to be on the mound in April.
“I think we know how competitive Jake is and he still wants to be able to play from the beginning of the season,” Romeo said in a phone interview Monday night. “But as I said last year after the surgery, when there is any type of tendon injury around the shoulder, the return is going to be close to one year.”
… “I could see him pitching with the White Sox at the beginning of May.”
If that happens, Peavy would miss his first five starts — with Phil Humber filling his slot — and possibly debut against the Orioles on May 2 at U.S. Cellular Field.
According to Romeo, who is flying to Glendale, Ariz., Tuesday morning to personally examine Peavy, that’s the best-case scenario.
Optioned to Triple-A Charlotte prior to Tuesday afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Mariners were outfielder Alejandro De Aza, right-hander Gregory Infante and catcher Tyler Flowers.
Also reassigned to Minor League camp were six players who had been in the big league camp as non-roster invitees: right-handed pitchers Brian Bruney, Jeff Gray, Josh Kinney and Shane Lindsay; infielder Dallas McPherson; and outfielder Jordan Danks.
… Milledge was in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game in Peoria, Ariz., as he continues his competition with Brent Lillibridge for the last seat on manager Ozzie Guillen’s bench.
The White Sox are down to the final couple of roster decisions before breaking camp, and two of those players on the bubble will be on display Tuesday in Peoria against the Mariners. Lastings Milledge gets the start in left field and will be leading off, while Brent Lillibridge hits ninth and starts in center. Milledge and Lillibridge stand as the main candidates for the 25th man or last utility outfield spot.
BTW, Humber on his cutter:
Humber talked Sunday with pitching coach Don Cooper, who laid out the current scenario for the right-hander. With Peavy almost certain to start the 2011 regular season on the disabled list, the fifth-starter’s job is there for the taking for Humber.
A strong Spring Training by Humber has been enhanced by the development of a cutter. Cooper discussed with Humber adding the pitch during the offseason, and Humber seems most satisfied by the consistency of the pitch as opposed to being able to find success on one or two offerings.
“It has definitely been huge for me, being able to put more movement on my fastball,” Humber said. “I’ve gotten a lot of easy outs on it. When you get in tough counts, it’s nice to have something to throw in there that stays off the fat part of the bat. That’s what it has been for me.”
March 21, 2011
For most players, arbitration eligibility is their first shot at a million-dollar salary. Let’s go around the diamond and look at the potential notable first-timers for 2012. I’ve included some potential Super Twos, based on the possibility of the cutoff being in the range of two years and 120 days.
… Second Basemen
Gordon Beckham of the White Sox might be the most interesting name here, if service time of 2.123 results in Super Two status.
Q: When does a player become eligible for salary arbitration?
A: A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
Jake Peavy says the White Sox are making the decisions. Merkin @ CWS:
But while Peavy realizes the final call involves his input, it ultimately comes from White Sox general manager Ken Williams, manager Ozzie Guillen, pitching coach Don Cooper, head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and the team’s medical staff. So reports of Peavy convincing Guillen or even begging the manager to let him pitch through shoulder discomfort on Saturday against the A’s, after Peavy had been crushed all week by the flu and missed work between starts, were a bit overblown, in the hurler’s opinion.
“Ozzie and the staff have had complete control from the start,” Peavy said. “I didn’t beg, I didn’t ask. I let those guys make the decision — Coop, Herm and Ozzie.
“They obviously know I wanted to pitch and stay on schedule. They’ve known that from Day 1. I certainly didn’t, as it was portrayed in certain situations, try to beg to get out there. I told them I’d do whatever they wanted me to do as a staff and I pitched.”
Basically, Peavy will be out of action for 48 hours and will be replaced by Philip Humber for Thursday afternoon’s start against the Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Ariz. There’s no timetable for Peavy’s return, although Guillen guessed Peavy would miss three or four regular-season starts and return some time in the second half of April.
Jaffe @ THT asks and answers five questions about the 2011 White Sox. From the 4th question:
Is Don Cooper the most underrated man in major league baseball?
… The Sox have a secret weapon, perhaps the most underrated man in major league baseball: Don Cooper, their pitching coach. Since Cooper took over in mid-2002 as the Sox’s hurler handler, the team has had an impressive record with its pitchers.
… Perhaps what’s most impressive about the Sox under Cooper is the health of their starters. From 2002-10, the Sox have coaxed 30 starts in a season from one of their pitchers 32 times. For perspective, here’s how the Sox compare to the other leading MLB teams in this category in the Cooper Era.Team 30+ GS CWS 32 OAK 26 ANA 25 BOS 24 LAD 24 SFG 24 STL 24 ATL 23 PHI 23 7 teams 22
Damn. That ain’t even close. The Sox are a standard deviation unto themselves.
It takes more than just a pitching coach to produce results like that. It tells you the front office prioritizes dependability in picking starters. It tells you their farm system takes care of guys. It tells you the pitchers are durable. No, you can’t give Cooper all the credit, but you sure as hell can’t ignore his contribution. As the pitching coach for the MLB team, he’s point man in ensuring the starters remain healthy and effective. He’s done an excellent job of that.
Cooper doesn’t wave a magic wand and suddenly make people better. (Buehrle may very well be a back-of-the-rotation guy if his strikeouts keep sinking, and that drop could easily happen this year.) But Cooper is mighty nice pitcher insurance to have on the team.
Cooper has never gotten the attention of say, Dave Duncan or Leo Mazzone, at least not yet anyway. If Cooper isn’t the most underrated man in MLB, it may be his counterpart in Minnesota, Rick Anderson. Both men are part of the reason why their teams often seem to exceed their projections.
Phil Humber, who after signing a minor-league free agent deal in December found a good pitching groove this spring, will fill the void left by Jake Peavy and likely be one of 12 pitchers on the White Sox’ opening-day roster. Humber will get Thursday’s start against the Cubs, pitching coach Don Cooper said Sunday night, and is the likely fifth starter penciled in for April 6 in Kansas City.
“We’re going to have him ready to start if necessary during the season until Jake is ready,” Cooper said on 670-AM’s “Mully and Hanley Show” Monday morning. “Because of that we’ll probably look into taking 12 [pitchers]. Sounds like a good idea to me because we’re going to need that 12th guy.”
Left-hander Matt Thornton accepted his appointment as the Chicago White Sox’s closer in stride, adding he was ready for any changes during the regular season.
“(Manager Ozzie Guillen) said, ‘Look, you’re our guy to start the season,’ ” Thornton said. ” ‘And if you throw back-to-back days and we got a run of big righties coming up, we’ll probably go with someone else in that situation.’ Obviously, at the same time, if a closer throws back-to-back games early in the year, more than likely you’re going to give him that third day off. I’m looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge of being the ninth-inning guy.”
March 20, 2011
Some doubt existed as to whether Peavy would make his set start on Saturday in Phoenix, as Peavy missed important work days in between due to a severe bout with the flu still clearly plaguing him. Guillen voted against Peavy staying on turn, meaning he would also stay on turn to break camp with the team and start for the White Sox on April 6 in Kansas City.
That vote was overruled, or in more accurate terms, the intense competitor that is Peavy convinced Guillen to let him face the A’s. That method of convincing also worked last year, when Peavy skipped one start in Pittsburgh and then faced the Nationals after battling shoulder inflammation.
This same convincing won’t work again, as far as Guillen is concerned. It’s not an expression of anger or disappointment aimed at Peavy, but more a protective measure for Guillen’s player and his staff.
“Jake Peavy will pitch the day I tell him to pitch. He’s not going to convince me,” Guillen said. “I don’t care, we went through it. When he tells me ‘Skip, I’m ready to pitch,’ I give him another couple of more days to recover. That’s the way we do stuff.
“When you tell your kid don’t do this and the kid is doing it, and you don’t do anything about it, you are not doing your job, and that has happened twice. My job is to protect him and the organization, to make sure when he is out there.
“I respect him because he wants to be out there. I love when players want to be on the field. That’s the best thing that can happen to any manager,” Guillen said. “He’s that type of guy who has the passion for the game. He wants to help. Sometimes when you want to help, you don’t really help.”
more inside (more…)
… The outfielder has been fighting for a spot on the White Sox throughout spring training, which may be more routine than warming up for him. Milledge hasn’t taken any time off since the last season ended.
“I went to Venezuela and played the whole season there,” Milledge said. “I just haven’t take off since last season. I went home for about seven to ten days and for those seven to ten days I actually went to instructional league to get ready for the season over there.”
Earning a starting position isn’t likely for Milledge and he knows that.
“What I want to accomplish is to show the team that I can do anything at any time. If somebody’s tired or somebody’s down, I can step in and be able to produce and not look at the lineup sideways,” Milledge said.