Results tagged ‘ Tony Pena ’

Sox Split with Rays; Jayson Delivers in Nix of Time

mlbf_8512419_th_13.jpg
A week ago, when the White Sox embarked on their seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Tampa Bay, it’s safe to say that we would have been happy with what now has happened–a series win over the Tribe and a split with the Rays. 
Of course more would have been better, but the way this season is going a 4-3 mark is satisfactory–with the hope that June will be the time for the turnaround.
The finale in Tampa Bay yesterday, an 8-5 triumph over baseball’s best team, had a lot of heroes. Jayson Nix, who replaced Mark Teahen (injury to right middle finger) at third in the middle of the game, gave the Sox the lead for good in the sixth with a grand slam (pictured above). Alex Rios went 3 for 5 with his 11th homer and a pair of RBI and Juan Pierre made two spectacular catches. 
On the pitching side Jake Peavy was nothing special, but got the win. Sergio Santos lowered his ERA to 0.48, Matt Thornton pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Tony Pena finished the game by retiring Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.
Now it’s back to Chicago to face the Rangers, Indians and Tigers. No time to waste.
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif
 

We’re Well Aware of the Present, How About the Future?

dayan-viciedo.jpg
The spring training of 2009 offered something Sox fans hadn’t seen in a long time–bonafide position prospects. Gordon Beckham, Chris Getz, Brandon Allen, Dayan Viciedo (above), Jordan Danks and Tyler Flowers were among them and offered a glimpse of what appeared to be a bright future for the South Siders.
More than a year later, things have changed. That’s not to say all is lost, but right now the situation is very different and critics are questioning the Sox future.
* Beckham is hitting .194

* Getz, traded to the Royals in the Mark Teahen deal, is batting .188

* Allen, dealt to the D-backs for Tony Pena, is now at AAA Reno hitting .216 with three homers and 11 RBI.

* Viciedo, now 21 and moved to first base, is hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 23 RBI at AAA Charlotte. Certainly promising.

* Danks, who was so impressive in the Arizona Fall League and had a good spring, has a .218 BA with two homers and 19 RBI for the Knights.

* Flowers, the prize in the Javier Vazquez deal and the heir apparent to A.J. Pierzynski, has eight homers and 18 RBI, but is hitting .220 at Charlotte.
So, with the big league floundering with one of the oldest rosters in the majors and some of our top prospects failing to live up to expectations (plus the injury to ’09 top pick Jared Mitchell), where do the Sox go from here?
KW, any comment?
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Pena Makes Chicken Salad Out of Chicken &%$#



53963613.jpg
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.
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

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

Enough Ties Already, Let’s Get a Win or Two Before We Leave Glendale

When Ozzie commented that, in essence, the Sox would start getting down to business during the last week of the season, I don’t think he had last night in mind.

Blowing a 7-0 lead, the Sox salvaged their fifth tie of the spring with Scott Linebrink (he gave up four runs, two earned) and Tony Pena (he committed a balk that allowed the tying run to score) the mound culprits and the defense playing a major role in the blown lead with four errors.

Offensively, the Sox were led by red-hot Mark Kotsay (pictured below), who homered with three RBI and raised his spring average to .426. Alexei Ramirez went 3 for 5 and Paul Konerko 2 for 3 with an RBI. He’s now hitting .345 this spring.

Mark Buehrle and the Sox face the A’s today in Glendale with the possibility that the club will announce the 25-man roster as well.

kotsay2.jpg

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.

52420002.jpg

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).

chicago_g_peavy_5760.jpgmark_buehrle_no_hitter.jpg

Sometimes in Baseball, Down is Up and Up is Down

chi_a_jones01_600.jpg
GLENDALE, AZ–Former major league catcher and broadcaster Joe Garagiola once wrote a book called Baseball is a Funny Game. Indeed. Very often what you expect to be your strength is your weakness and vice versa.
This notion can certainly be applied to the White Sox DH situation. Many have been skeptical about the current rotation of Andruw Jones (pictured above), Mark Kotsay and Omar Vizquel with others like Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko getting some playing time there to get a breather during the course of the long season. Many thought the Sox should have signed Jim Thome or made a bigger push for Johnny Damon before he signed with the Tigers.
Granted, we’re still in the middle of spring training, but the Sox DH scenario is looking awfully good. Following Jones’s 2 for 3 day yesterday where he doubled, stole a base and smacked a three-run homer in the 5-1 win over the Dodgers, the former Braves All-Star is now hitting .400 with seven RBI, three stolen bases, a .500 on base mark and .750 slugging percentage. Equally as significant, he’s in great physical shape. Kotsay, an Ozzie favorite, is batting .391 with a .500 on base percentage, five RBI and a trio of thefts.
Sox notes of note: While the DH situation may be a pleasant surprise, if yesterday is any indication, the Sox strength–pitching–will certainly continue to be so. Jake Peavy led the staff, giving up one run and one hit with six strikeouts in five innings to get the victory. Matt Thornton, Tony Pena, Scott Linebrink and Carlos Torres each pitched one scoreless inning…The South Siders have made more roster moves. First baseman Dayan Viciedo, outfielder Stefan Gartrell and pitcher Jeff Marquez were optioned to Charlotte while pitcher Daniel Cabrera and outfielder Jason Botts were released…There was a lot of White Sox talk at my dinner last night with former Sox and Arizona Cardinals PR guru Paul Jensen, who now promotes Camelback Ranch, and longtime Sox and Bulls TV producer Jim Angio…Sox enjoy their only off-day of the spring today with the Cubs looming at Camelback on Friday. The game is a sellout.

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.
PH2010030601963.jpg
                        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.
chicago-white-sox-jake-peavy-kenny-williams1.jpg
                                              Peavy hopes to stifle Cubs


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.