Results tagged ‘ Randy Williams ’

Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly off-season opinions and observations about the White Sox…


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With the World Series in the rearview mirror, The White Sox brass can now get busy preparing for a championship run in 2011.


No huge news has come out of the Sox camp thus far, but there have been some productive and interesting activity as we wait on bigger things to come. Those “bigger” things I’m talking about are the decisions around free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the attempt to get a solid lefthanded hitter (the Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus has been rumored as a target), a move to shore up the bullpen which will impact the futures of arbitration-eligible Bobby Jenks and free agent J.J. Putz, plus various and sundry other determinations.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happened up until now:


Omar Back in Fold

Omar Vizquel‘s signing for another year at $1.75 million is the most positive move so far. He was a godsend this past season and, aside from Konerko, was probably the club’s MVP as a result of his infield wizardry and respectable .276 batting average. With promising third baseman Brent Morel slated for third base, Vizquel provides insurance there and valuable backup at both second base and shortstop.

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Thornton, Castr
o Return to Unsettled Bullpen and Catching Situations

Next to the Vizquel deal, picking up the options of All-Star setup man Matt Thornton and Ramon Castro, perhaps the best backup backstop in the game, have provided the most positive news. Depending on what happens with the bullpen, Thornton could be next year’s closer. And Castro, who batted .328 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in only 37 games, gives depth to the catching position, especially if Pierzynski walks.

Paulie News

Konerko’s decision will probably take a while, but word is that there is at least one serious suitor–his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks. Paulie, who lives in Scottsdale and grew up in that area, certainly could be tempted to stay home as opposed to re-upping with the Sox.

Pal Joey

Unless something surprising happens, Joey Cora will be back as the White Sox bench coach. Just last week he came in second to Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke for the Milwaukee Brewers managing job.

Peavy on the Mend

Because his shoulder injury is so rare, no one knows when and, frankly, if Jake Peavy will come back close to his Cy Young form. Latest word is that he’s working hard in rehab and it won’t be long until he starts soft-tossing.

Sox Seek New AAA Skipper

The White Sox are looking for a new manager at AAA Charlotte. The previous incumbent, Chris Chambliss, best known for his pennant-winning homer for the Yankees in the 1976 ALCS, is the new hitting coach for the Mariners under new skipper Eric Wedge.
Lucy, Williams Minor League Free Agents

The Sox have outrighted both catcher Donny Lucy and lefty reliever Randy Williams to Charlotte. They are now off the 40-man roster and qualify as minor league free agents.
Rising Stars: White Sox Style

Three White Sox prospects were named to last Saturday’s Rising Stars Game, the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star Game.
Those Sox chosen were standout shortstop Eduardo Escobar (pictured below), right-handed pitcher Anthony Carter and the club’s 2009 No. 1 draft pick, Jared Mitchell.
Thus far, Escobar has been far and away the most impressive of the trio in the AFL. He is hitting .377 with an outstanding OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) while leading the league with four homers along with great play in the field. For the record, he has also added four doubles and four triples.
Carter has recorded two saves while striking out 12 in seven innings of work while Mitchell, sans the gaudy stats, is still making significant progress after missing the entire 2010 season due to a leg injury.
In the Rising Stars Game itself, Escobar and Mitchell were both 0 for 1 and Carter pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. Their team, the West, nipped the East, 3-2.
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Pena Makes Chicken Salad Out of Chicken &%$#



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The game got off to an awful start. After both Ozzie and Mark Buehrle were tossed early in the game by veteran umpire Cowboy Joe West–Guillen for arguing a balk call and Buehrle for tossing his glove in disgust after committing his second balk–things looked rather dim as Randy Williams jogged to the mound to relieve Mr. Perfect.
Williams didn’t last long, giving up a run and three hits in 2/3 of an inning. But the day was saved by Tony Pena (above), who pitched four scoreless frames while allowing only two hits. Offensively, Mark Kotsay smashed a homer with a man on and Mark Teahen clubbed a two-out, two-run double. The Sox needed every bit of it in the 5-4 win today against the Indians as Bobby Jenks imploded in the ninth by giving up three runs before getting out of a bases loaded, one-out jam.
Aside from being credited with the victory, Pena’s noble performance also saved the bullpen from work it didn’t need. The Buehrle ejection and the potential negative impact it could have had on the pen was the last thing we needed heading into a four-game series in St. Pete against the Rays. Hopefully Pena’s rescue effort will pay dividends this weekend.
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“The Lucy Show” and Bullpen Made the Sox Worth Watching

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I guess we should be happy to leave Toronto with a split, but I was hoping for more. Freddy wasn’t ready, the offense reverted to its “first week” form and the Sox lost the chance to win the series and leave Canada with a .500 record. On to Cleveland for, hopefully, better results.
I have to say that the 7-3 defeat Thursday night had a very special moment. Backup catcher Donny Lucy, the Sox player who was forced to endure scooping up my spring training ceremonial first pitch out of the dirt, hit his first career home run (pictured above). The 27-year-old, who has bounced around the minors for six seasons with only a cup of coffee in the bigs (2007), had no chance to make the team this spring until Ramon Castro was put on the DL. All he’s done in his brief action is hit .500–and now a homer. Great story.
The Sox were “get away day” flat, but Lucy’s homer lifted my spirits.
More good news: In addition to Lucy’s solo blast, there was another big positive in the Sox defeat. Four relievers–Randy Williams, Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz and Scott Linebrink–combined for five scoreless innings and 12 strikeouts after Garcia faltered.
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Sox Win Impressively in Camelback Ranch Finale

With the White Sox blanking the A’s 2-0 yesterday in their last spring home game, I can’t help but think we’re going to see a lot of similar games this year. With one of the best starting staffs in baseball and potentially an outstanding pen, it’s reasonable to expect that the Sox will keep the opposition from lighting up the scoreboard more often than not.

Offensively, the Sox have lost the power of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. The hope is that the “Ozzieball” approach will score as many runs and folks like Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios and Andruw Jones can provide adequate power numbers. That said, I still think lower scoring games will be the rule rather than the exception. And, to me, that’s a good thing.

Back to yesterday, it was neat and clean. Mark Buehrle (5 innings), Tony Pena (1), Randy Williams (1) and Bobby Jenks (2) combined for the shutout and Konerko and Quentin both went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Quentin hit his fifth homer of the spring.

The South Siders close out spring training this week. They make the short trip to Goodyear today to face the Indians, have split squad games against the Mariners in Peoria and their AAA affiliate in Charlotte on Thursday and journey to Atlanta to face the Braves on Friday night and Saturday. Then it’s onward to Chicago for Opening Day Monday against Cleveland.

uscell.jpg                                      Opening Day: Five Days and Counting…

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

Successful Finale in Tucson, Beckham is OK (Whew!) and Getting Down to Business

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tucson2.jpgFrom 1998-2008 the White Sox called Tucson Electric Park (above, top) their spring training home after 37 years in Sarasota, FL. With both the Diamondbacks and Rockies moving to the Phoenix area next spring, the Sox played their final game in Tucson today at venerable Hi Corbett Field (above, bottom), beating the Rockies, 6-2, with an impressive 15 hits.
The Sox rebounded from a 10-1 pounding at the hands of the D-backs on Friday in their TEP finale. Mark Kotsay went three for three  with a walk, including a double and a triple. Alexei Ramirez had a pair of singles with two RBI, Paul Konerko collected two hits and an RBI and a rejuvenated Mark Teahen singled twice and scored two runs. After a couple of days in minor league camp, Teahen has been hitting and is now up to .256. Jayson Nix also doubled in a run.
On the pitching side, Randy Williams and Greg Aquino, a candidate for the last pitching roster spot, threw scoreless ball.
Sox notes of note…

It looks like Gordon Beckham‘s abdominal strain was nothing to worry about as reported yesterday. He should be back at second base Sunday…Sox have a pair of split-squad games
tomorrow. They are at home against the Royals and on the road in Surprise vs. the Rangers.
Dan Hudson is scheduled to start at Camelback Ranch and Gavin Floyd will be given the nod against Texas…Ozzie has made it known that starting Monday it’s time to bear down and get ready for Opening Day with the starters playing nine innings. There undoubtedly will be a different intensity that has resulted in an 8-13-4 spring record thus far with a mixture of starters, prospects and other minor leaguers.

Sox Cut Seven, 32 Remain in Major League Camp

In less than two weeks (Monday, April 5), the White Sox open up the regular season against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.

Today, the Sox got a bit closer to their Opening Day 25-man roster by sending two players to Charlotte–pitcher Carlos Torres and catcher Tyler Flowers–and five others to their minor league camp. They include outfielder Jordan Danks, first baseman Josh Kroeger, third baseman Brent Morel, second baseman C.J. Retherford and pitcher Ryan Braun. There are now 32 left in the big league camp.

The likely scenario finds two roster spots yet to be filled. The Sox expect to take 12 pitchers north–starters Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Freddy Garcia and a bullpen of Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, Tony Pena, Randy Williams and one of the following: Sergio Santos (pictured below), Dan Hudson, Greg Aquino, Erick Threets and Charlie Leesman. The best bet to make it is Santos, who is out of options and has been very impressive this spring.

imgc.jpegThe other spot, a backup infielder/outfielder, will probably go to either frontrunner Jayson Nix, who is out of options, or Brent Lillibridge. The wild card here is if the Sox decide to go with red-hot outfielder Alejandro De Aza instead of Nix or Lillibridge. Or, they could go with 11 pitchers and take both De Aza and Nix/Lillibridge (pictured below, left to right, under the watchful eye their skipper). One last possibility, admittedly remote, is to take a 13th pitcher instead of the extra position player.

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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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A Fun Win, the Roster Narrows Down and Another Day in Paradise

GLENDALE, AZ–After witnessing a tie on Sunday against the Reds and a blowout loss against the Royals last night, it was fun to be part of yesterday’s 6-1 Sox win over the Rockies at Camelback Ranch.

Juan Pierre was 3 for 5 with an RBI, Mark Kotsay 3 for 4 with an RBI and Alex Rios clouted a stand-up triple, driving in two first inning runs. The struggling Mark Teahen singled and laid down a nice sacrifice bunt.
On the pitching side, Freddy Garcia gave up a run and five hits in three frames. Dan Hudson and Randy Williams pitched two perfect innings each. Sergio Santos had some control issues in the eighth, but was rescued by Greg Aquino who got the last out of the inning and pitched a flawless ninth.
Speaking of Hudson, Santos and Aquino, it appears that they are the last men standing for the seventh and final spot in the pen as Jhonny Nunez and Freddy Dolsi were both optioned to Charlotte. Others on the chopping block were pitchers Lucas Harrell, Brian Omogrosso, Clevelan Santeliz (optioned to Charlotte), Brian Hynick (outrighted to Charlotte after an injury-plagued spring) and Santo Luis (Birmingham). The lone non-pitcher cut was catcher Cole Armstrong, who was assigned to minor league camp. The Sox are left with 44 players in the major league camp–20 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and nine outfielders.
Sox notes of note: Nothing serious, but both Rios (left quad) and Carlos Quentin (left shoulder after being hit by a pitch for the second time) were taken out of yesterday’s game for precautionary reasons…Jared Mitchell‘s surgery was a success, but he’s definitely out for the season…Spent a great day at the ballpark yesterday with a group of friends, including Jeff and Lee Weiss who are fellow natives of Northwest Indiana. The only negative was that their sister, Lynn Garson, was in Florida and couldn’t join us. She’s at the top of the list when it comes to fans of the Pale Hose.
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   Jake Peavy, who will be on the mound against the Dodgers in today’s St.
   Patty’s matinee, and Alex Rios, one of yesterday’s hitting stars. 

Kissing Your Sister

You know the old adage, playing to a tie is like kissing your sister. That’s exactly what happened yesterday in Tempe as the Sox kicked off their spring training schedule with a 4-4 tie with the Angels.

The Sox had a 4-2 lead heading into the eighth, but prospect Brian Omogrosso couldn’t find the plate and the tying runs scored. The South Siders had a chance in the top of the ninth with Alejandro De Aza on third and two outs, but C.J. Retherford struck out.

While it certainly wasn’t as satisfying as getting the win, we’ll take the tie on the road. And here are a few positives to ponder.

* A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run homer in the fifth to give the Sox a 4-2 lead.
* Starter John Danks‘ two shutouts innings.
* If yesterday was any indication, the Sox will indeed run in 2010. They stole four
   bases in the opener–Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, De Aza.
* Converted infielder Sergio Santos was very impressive, striking out the side in
   the sixth.
* Dayan Viciedo, trying to make the switch to first, played well in the field and singled
   in a run.
* Newcomers Pierre and Mark Teahen each reached base on a hit and scored a run.
* Lefties Randy Williams and Erick Threets and righty Clevelan Santeliz each pitched
  a scoreless inning. Santeliz shut the door in the ninth to preserve the tie.

  Mark Buehrle makes his first spring start today against the Dodgers at Camelback
  Ranch. J.J. Putz and Scott Linebrink are also scheduled to see action.

mark1.png                       Mr. Perfect takes the hill today vs. the Dodgers in Glendale

 

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