Results tagged ‘ Alejandro De Aza ’

SoxFest Day 2: The Chairman Explains “All In” Philosophy and Konerko Bullish About 2011

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The most fascinating news item coming out of the second day of SoxFest was Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf‘s explanation of why the Sox took the “All In” route in 2011 as opposed to entering the season with a younger, less expensive product.
Reinsdorf, who has been given a bad rap over the years for NOT spending, went above and beyond this offseason by increasing the payroll by more than $20 million.
Here are some of the comments from the man who has won seven titles–six with the Bulls and in 2005 with the White Sox–courtesy of MLB.com’s Scott Merkin:
“Last year was a difficult year. We weren’t as good as we thought we could be. Our attendance was down. Financially, it came out OK. 

“Thinking about this year, we had to make a decision for the long term: Were we better off to try to get better or were we better off to use this as a rebuilding year? That’s the thing that took us a long time to make up our mind.

“Finally, I just decided like two days before the Adam Dunn signing, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Let’s hope if we spend the money, the attendance will pick up and once we committed to Adam Dunn, then we had to be all in. Then it had to be (Paul Konerko) and we had to bring A.J. back.”

More from SoxFest:

* Another inside tidbit that was revealed yesterday involved Pierzynski. Apparently he was a phone call away from signing with the Dodgers, but because LA ownership was unavailable to approve some the of language, A.J. changed course and accepted the Sox offer through his agent. Because of the delicate nature of the circumstances, Pierzynski even called Reinsdorf to make sure the offer was real.
* In addition to relating the story behind his signing, A.J. endorsed another Sox offseason signing (via Merkin): “I told (Don Cooper), ‘We need another lefty. We need another lefty. We need another lefty.’ Going out and getting Will Ohman was huge. He can get lefties out. Look at our division with Mauer, Morneau, Choo, Sizemore…You have to have more than one lefty available to go through a lineup three times. People look at the eighth inning, but what about the sixth inning when you have the bases loaded with two out and Joe Mauer up and you have an extra lefty. Will Ohman is that guy.”

* Kenny Williams indicated that outfielder Alejandro De Aza, infielder/outfielder Brent Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo, who is now learning how to play the outfield in addition to his previous experience at the two infield corner positions, will be fighting it out for the final utility spot on the roster. Williams also offered that De Aza is better than people think he is.
* Ozzie predicted that Carlos Quentin will revert back to his 2008 form when he was vying for the league MVP award before an injury cut his season short with a month to go. CQ slugged 36 homers, drove in 100 runs, batted .288 with a .965 OPS in ’08.
* Sox captain Konerko sees good things ahead for the 2011 Sox, as reported by Mark Gonzales in today’s Tribune: “Everyone has their opinions on who is good and who isn’t in baseball, and people have their advice and thoughts. But you’d be hard-pressed to say, ‘there’s a gaping hole there’ or ‘this is a real problem that is going to affect them.’ We’re pretty solid everywhere you look with everything you need.”

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White Sox Look to Viciedo and Morel as Possible Pieces to 2011 Puzzle

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Dayan Viciedo (above), Brent Morel (below), Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza found themselves in the Sox starting lineup last night as the likes of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, Manny Ramirez and the injured Gordon Beckham were firmly planted on the bench in the third base dugout.

Ozzie apparently felt that giving the youngsters some playing time was more important than the Sox extending their three-game winning streak and finishing the season a game shy of 90 victories. The Good Guys wound up losing to the Tribe, 7-3, after Tony Pena surrendered three runs in the first.
With so many questions that need to be answered, it’s impossible to predict what roles, if any, the above four prospects will have with the big league club in 2011. In my view, Morel could certainly be the starting third baseman and Viciedo either a DH or maybe the first baseman if Konerko doesn’t return. With his great speed, De Aza is a possible fourth or fifth outfielder. Pun intended, the bloom could be off the Flowers rose. He no longer looks like the blue-chipper both the Braves and White Sox thought he was. I would be surprised if he’s in the picture next season.
With two games remaining, it’s uncertain who Ozzie will put on the field. But there is still something to play for. I would like to see Mark Buehrle get to the .500 mark tonight with his 13th win and it would be a nice sendoff for Edwin Jackson, who has been less than stellar lately, to shine in his last start of the season.
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Sox Blink, Drop 4 1/2 Behind Twins

Kansas+City+Royals+v+Detroit+Tigers+U6SGJ7lPRhql.jpgOur impressive seven-game winning streak came to abrupt end tonight with the lopsided 
9-1 loss to the Tigers. Even if Freddy Garcia hadn’t left the game after two innings because of his troublesome back, the White Sox weren’t going to defeat Justin Verlander (above) on this particular night. Let’s just chalk it up to the law of averages and move on to tomorrow.
We also came to the realization–again–that the Twins aren’t going to lose many games, especially at home against teams like the Royals. They clobbered KC again tonight to 
move 4 1/2 games ahead of the Sox.

It was September Call-Up Night at Comerica Park 
Because of the blowout and Garcia’s injury, the South Siders emptied their bullpen and bench tonight with a host of September call-ups–Lucas Harrell, Carlos Torres, Gregory Infante, Alejandro De Aza, Brent Morel, Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo.


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Sox Sale to 7th Straight, A.J. Drives in 3 and Manny’s Hit Key to Victory in Extras

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The White Sox did it again this afternoon in a 5-4 victory over the Tigers in 10 innings. Coming from behind on three separate occasions, including tying the score 4-4 in the eighth and scoring the winning run in the 10th, the South Siders won their seventh straight without a loss on this road trip.
Chris Sale, in relief of Edwin Jackson with one out in the eighth, pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings to record his first major league win. A.J. Pierzynski, who has seemingly found his groove, collected two hits and three RBIs. As for Manny Ramirez, he pounded out three singles, including what represented the winning run. Alejandro De Aza, who came in to pinch-run for Manny, actually scored the 10th inning tally on Pierzynski’s single to left, which put The Good Guys over the top for good.
The Sox showed a great deal of versatility in the win. Pulling out all stops, a group of non-starters–De Aza, Brent Lillibridge, Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez–all saw action and five players found themselves in multiple roles–Omar Vizquel (SS-3B), De Aza (PR-DH), Mark Teahen (3B-1B), Lillibridge (PR-CF), Rios (PH-CF), A. Ramirez (PH-SS).
Same Old Story:  The Sox win…and so do the Twins. What else is new? Despite the winning streak, the Pale Hose still remain 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota.
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It’s September 1, Sox Call Up Reinforcements

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The calendar has turned to September and the White Sox have expanded their roster.

Reporting today from AAA Charlotte will be catcher Tyler Flowers and speedy outfielder Alejandro De Aza (above), who was a sensation in spring training.  Promoted immediately from AA Birmingham is righthander Gregory Infante, who will be dispatched to the Sox bullpen. Dayan Viciedo, who was sent down to AAA when Mark Teahen returned, will join the South Siders in Boston. Carlos Torres, the odd man out when Manny Ramirez arrived, will be brought up after the Charlotte season is over on September 6.

Tale of the tape for the three players arriving today :

* Flowers slugged 16 homers, drove in 53 and batted .220 in 100 games at Charlotte.

* De Aza hit .302 in 79 games with the Knights.

* Infante, after being called up to Birmingham from Winston-Salem, was 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA.

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Sergio Santos is Living the Dream, Reaches the Majors as Sox Announce 25-Man Roster

After failing to get a sniff of the major leagues as an infielder with five organizations, Sergio Santos is finally a big-leaguer–as a relief pitcher. He earned that distinction with a fine spring and today the 2002 No. 1 draft pick of the Diamondbacks was named to the White Sox 25-man roster heading into Opening Day. And he’s only been pitching since last year.

The other roster question was also answered as Jayson Nix made the team as a utility infielder/outfielder.

The final cuts were infielder/outfielder Brent Lillibridge, outfielder Alejandro De Aza, pitcher Dan Hudson (Charlotte) and hurlers Greg Aquino, Erick Threets and Charlie Leesman plus catcher Donny Lucy (assigned to minor league camp).

The Sox will go into battle beginning next Monday with the following roster:

Pitchers (12): Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Freddy Garcia, Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, Scott Linebrink, Tony Pena, Randy Williams, Sergio Santos

Catchers (2):  A.J. Pierzynski, Ramon Castro

Infielders (7):  Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Teahen, Mark Kotsay, Omar Vizquel, Jayson Nix

Outfielders (4): Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Andruw Jones

85521035.jpg                                    The dream comes true for Sergio Santos

The White Sox From A to Z: Notes From Spring Training

After a week at Camelback Ranch, it’s back to reality. Here are my spring training thoughts from A to Z:

* A — A big plus for me was to see both Andruw Jones and Alex Rios off to great starts. Jones has hit two home runs, eight RBI and is hitting .385 with a .467 on base percentage. Rios has been nursing an injury, but is hitting .304 with a pair of homers, six RBI and a .346 OBP.

* B — The Natural, Gordon Beckham (pictured below), doesn’t look like he’s going to suffer from the sophomore jinx. So far in the spring, he’s hitting .333 with five doubles and a homer and is getting on base 43 percent of the time. He’s also been making every play at second base.

* C — is for the catching situation. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting at a .345 clip and shows no signs of slowing down. Ramon Castro is a capable backup. There was never any question that Tyler Flowers would begin the season at Charlotte, but it is a bit troubling he’s off to such a slow start.

* D — One of the highlights of Sox spring training has been the play of former Florida Marlin, outfielder Alejandro De Aza. Despite being destined to begin the year with Charlotte, he is hitting .333 with seven RBI. He’s an exciting player who very well might be up in Chicago at some time during the season.

* E is for errors, which I’m happy to say will hopefully occur much less in 2010. The Sox will be a more versatile and fundamentally sound team so there will likely be fewer miscues and brain cramps.

41231.jpg* F — is for the Twittergate “flap,” which looked for a while like it would be a major
distraction. Luckily Ozzie stopped it before it really impacted the team.

* G — Our old friend Freddy Garcia (pictured below) takes the hill this season as the fifth starter. He seems a lot older because he’s been around so long, but Freddy is just shy of 34 and should give us the necessary push at the No. 5 spot in an outstanding rotation.

* H — If Freddy doesn’t come through the Sox are well-protected with Dan Hudson, who pitched at every level of baseball last season and did a creditable job with the Sox in September. He looks like the real deal.

* I — I predict that the Sox will win the AL Central with the Twins, Tigers, Royals and Indians finishing in that order.

* JBobby Jenks has been struggling with his calf, but he says he’ll be ready to go Opening Day. The Sox have some depth in the bullpen, but losing Jenks would definitely be a big blow.

t1_1206_garcia_getty.jpg* K — We need Paul Konerko to have a big year, especially with the departure of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. It could be Paulie’s last season in Chicago, but let’s hope it’s one of his best.

* LScott Linebrink has proven himself to be a capable reliever, but you wouldn’t know it from his performance a year ago. He’s been up and down this spring, but he needs to rebound to max out our pen.

* M — As THE lefty in the bullpen, Matt Thornton (pictured below) is indispensible. While I was in Arizona he was perfect. The other half of the main DH platoon with Jones, Mark Kotsay, is on fire this spring, hitting .433 with a .514 on base percentage and a .500 slugging mark.

* N — Will Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge or a perhaps a late spring pickup win the last remaining spot among position players?  Since it’s listed under “N,” my choice is naturally Nix.

* O — Brought to the Sox to back up and mentor Alexei Ramirez and Beckham, Omar Vizquel, who will be 43 in April, still looks perfectly capable of contributing.

43105659.jpg* P — Jake Peavy, entering his first Sox season, J.J. Putz and Juan Pierre (pictured below) all have key roles. From what I witnessed in Glendale, Peavy’s in mid-season form, Putz was up and down and it’s obvious what positives Pierre is going to give us from the leadoff spot. Another “P” is Tony Pena, a member of the relief corps who has compiled a 1.59 ERA in five appearances in Arizona.

* QCarlos Quentin looks ready to go, even though his spring stats aren’t gaudy. Health is the key here and CQ looks like he’s ready for the long haul.

* R — With the help of Vizquel, Ramirez will be better defensively and that may make him more relaxed at the plate.

* S — A converted infielder and former No. 1 draft choice of the Diamondbacks, Sergio Santos has been a revelation and a real candidate for the final spot in the bullpen. He’s been very impressive and brings a lot of heat. The fact he’s out of options may force the Sox to bring him North.

* T — If I have one major concern, it’s Mark Teahen. He’s been awful so far in spring training, presumably putting a lot pressure on himself. I don’t even want to think about what happens if he flops.

52656898.jpg* U — U stands for the Sox being underrated. Haven’t seen any of the so-called experts throwing compliments our way, let alone picking the Sox to win the AL Central. Hopefully I’m right and they’re wrong.

* V — I’ve thrown around the word versatile when writing and talking about the Sox. It was certainly apparent to me that they’ll be more running and bunting on this team–with players that can actually execute.

* WRandy Williams, the journeyman reliever who has pretty much locked up the role as the second lefty in the pen, has pitched eight scoreless innings this spring.

* X — Saw a few ex-Sox in Florida, including Orlando Cabrera, Nick Masset (Reds), Josh Fields, Chris Getz and Scott Podsednik (Royals) plus former farmhand Aaron Cunningham (Padres). I saw that Brian Anderson hit for the cyle for KC and went 5 for 5 in a game during that time, but I wasn’t there to witness it.

* Y — Why is Jordan Danks listed here? Because I had to find some place to give him his due, that’s Y. He’s big, strong, fast and will be a major element to the Sox fortunes for many years to come. We’ll likely see him in Chicago with his big bro some time this season.

* Z — Z stands for the many zeroes our starting staff will throw this season. The strength of the club is definitely our rotation with Peavy (pictured below, top), Garcia, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and last but not least Mr. Perfect, Mark Buehrle (pictured below, bottom).

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First Day in Arizona: In This Case, “Kissing Your Sister” Wasn’t So Bad

GOODYEAR, AZ–My wife Bonnie and I landed in Phoenix yesterday, checked into the hotel and rushed over to catch the first pitch of Sox-Reds in beautiful “no clouds in the sky” weather. 

Through eight innings, the Sox found themselves down 5-1 as the Reds got to John Danks and J.J. Putz, who had both been perfect entering the game. Up until then, Gordon Beckham doing his Robbie Alomar impression on a play at second, an RBI single by Alexei Ramirez and strong performances on the mound by Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton and Scott Linebrink highlighted the action for Sox fans. 
In the top of the ninth the fireworks began. The Good Guys scored four runs to tie the game, including an Alejandro De Aza triple to drive in a run, and it ended 5-5–not such a bad fate under the circumstances.
Sox things to think about: De Aza’s 2 for 2 day against Cincinnati, including a double, triple and an RBI, gives him a .500 batting average for the spring. Whatever the outcome, he’s certainly making the case for a spot on the 25-man roster…Ozzie is on record now as saying he’s disappointed with both Jayson Nix and Brent Lillibridge, candidates for a backup spot. What makes it interesting is that the skipper is lauding the hustling C.J. Retherford, who just may be in the picture to go north at the end of the month…Ozzie has also been singing the praises of Jordan Danks. 
It’s Mark Buehrle vs. Zack Greinke tonight at Camelback Ranch as the Sox face the Royals, who are loaded with former Sox–Scott Podsednik, Chris Getz, Josh Fields and Brian Anderson. Wonder how many of them will be in Glendale.
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        C.J. Retherford: A Birmingham Baron in 2009, a White Sox backup in 2010?


Ozzie on Mitchell: “Very, Very Bad, It’s a Shame…”

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Something pretty awful happened in what was expected to be a routine spring training game yesterday between the White Sox and Angels in Tempe. After entering the contest as a defensive replacement in the sixth, top prospect Jared Mitchell made a spectacular catch off the bat of Juan Rivera for the first out. The bad news is that Mitchell crashed into the wall, tore a tendon inside his left ankle, will have surgery next week and is most likely out for the season. 
Ozzie put it perfectly. This is really a shame, especially considering how much speed is part of Mitchell’s game. The 2010 season was going to be Jared’s first full year and, after an eye-opening spring, was certainly headed in the right direction on his quest to play in Chicago.
Back to the games: The Sox did defeat the Angels, 10-7…Jake Peavy pitched three scoreless innings, Gordon Beckham was 3 for 4, a homer and two RBIs and Alex Rios went 2 for 3, a homer and two RBIs. Beckham is now hitting .364 this spring, Rios is at .357…Sox lost to the Cubs, 6-5, in yesterday’s other game in Las Vegas…Alejandro De Aza was 2 for 4 with two RBI. He now sports a .471 Cactus League batting average.

Bing, Bang, Boom–23 Runs, 32 Hits, 0 Errors and the First Two Sox Victories of the Spring

It was a Saturday of epic proportion. Well, maybe not epic, but boy it was fun.

The beautiful Spring-like day in the New York area, didn’t prevent me from spending the day in front of the tube. It all started out with my alma mater, Indiana, halting an 11-game losing streak by upending Northwestern. 
That was followed by Sox vs. Cubs in Mesa and Sox vs. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in a split-squad doubleheader. Thanks to the Big Ten Network, WGN and the MLB Network, I was able to watch all of the action–albeit the nightcap was on tape delay and I knew the score going in. Gone are the days of having to go to spring training to find out what’s going on.
Sox 15, Cubs 3

The Sox got off to a 6-0 start in the first two innings on the strength of two Carlos Quentin blasts (a two-run homer and a three-run four-bagger) and it just got better and better. The Pale Hose pounded out three more homers (Brandon Short, Cole Armstrong and Jayson Nix) and pounded out a total of 18 hits (Nix had three and Quentin, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, Christian Marrero, Cole Armstrong and Brett Lillibridge collected two apiece).
On the pitching side, Dan Hudson gave up the Dodgers’ only tallies in three innings of work while Carlos Torres, Greg Aquino and Charlie Leesman each hurled two innings of shutout ball. I was impressed with Aquino, who struck out three. He’s had major league experience with four other clubs.
And the Sox committed NO errors and stole four more bases–Jones (2), Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks.
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                        Quentin led off the hit parade yesterday against the Cubs



Sox 8, Dodgers 4

The Sox were homerless against LA, but full of punch, connecting for 14 hits. The standouts were “can’t miss” Jared Mitchell, who had a pair of RBI doubles, and former Marlin Alejandro De Aza, who added two infield singles and scored a run. Former Dodger Juan Pierre beat out an infield grounder for a single that drove in a run and stole a base. 
Eight Sox pitchers took the mound, including Freddy Garcia and Bobby Jenks, but I was most impressed with Tony Pena, who was on again, off again for us in 2009.
And NO Sox errors and a pair of stolen bases–Pierre and Alexei Ramirez.
If the rain holds off in Glendale today I’ll be in the same place as yesterday, watching Jake Peavy make his spring debut for the 2-1-1 South Siders.
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                                              Peavy hopes to stifle Cubs


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