Tagged: Mark Kotsay

In the Beginning…Sox and Buehrle vs. Tribe and Westbrook

The long cold winter and six weeks of spring training are in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to play for real. Let’s hope the White Sox take the first step toward an AL Central title and a trip to the postseason.

Today’s Opening Day lineups:

Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Grady Sizemore, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Travis Hafner, DH
Jhonny Peralta, 3B
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
Lou Marson, C
Michael Brantley, LF
Jake Westbrook, P

Sox

Juan Pierre, LF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Carlos Quentin, RF
Paul Konerko, 1B
Mark Kotsay, DH
Alex Rios, CF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Mark Teahen, 3B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Mark Buehrle, P

                                                                          
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Now pitching for the Royals…Brian Anderson?

Brian Anderson was once the White Sox golden boy who had the opportunity of a lifetime. He was the club’s No. 1 draft pick out of the University of Arizona in 2003 who was given the chance to be the starting centerfielder for the World Champion Sox three years later.  As we know, he never made the grade in Chicago.

That said, there were some memorable moments for the superb defender who was unable to hit consistently. While he wasn’t on the playoff roster his celebration with eventual predecessor Aaron Rowand, captured in the ’05 World Series video after Scott Podsednik‘s walkoff homer in Game 2, will live in Sox lore. His two home run performance off of Felix Hernandez and making the final catch of the “sudden death” game against the Twins to give the South Siders the 2008 AL Central crown are two other memorable instances. And, of course, he has a World Series ring.

Despite these sporadic highlights the Sox simply gave up on BA last summer just prior to the trade deadline, sending him to the Red Sox for Mark Kotsay. Obviously not in Boston’s long-term plans, he signed a one-year deal with the Royals this past offseason.

Despite hitting for the cycle during a 5 for 5 day in spring training, Brian must have seen the writing on the wall and is now heading back to the low minors in an attempt to become a pitcher.

“I’m not sure how that process is going to go, but it’s got to start at the very bottom,” said KC manager Trey Hillman. “We’re milling through that right now. He’s committed to making a go of it. So that’s what we’re going to do.” For the record, BA last pitched in college for Arizona. He was in 17 games with a 5.40 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

Anderson is no different than hundreds of others in baseball history who were highly touted, but never quite lived up to their supposed potential. Some just didn’t have the talent to stick, others didn’t have the stick-to-it-iveness and still others may have not had the professional maturity. In BA’s case the first and third points seem to apply as he has admitted that he wasn’t ready when the Sox handed him the starting job after the championship season.

Who knows how all of this will turn out. Will it be the second coming of Sergio Santos? For Anderson’s sake, I hope it’s a happy ending.

qnpwnl.jpg                                                   BA in happier times


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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

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.

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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.

Mark it Down: Teahen Breaks Out of Slump as Sox Hammer D-Backs, 10-3

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Will the real Mark Teahen please step forward? The new White Sox third baseman (pictured above) was acquired from the Royals during the off-season partially due to his dominance over Sox pitching–particularly Mark Buehrle. In other words, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Whether he has been trying too hard to impress his new teammates or simply is in a routine slump, Teahen has had a very disappointing spring. Going into yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch, ultimately a 10-3 Sox victory, he was hitting .143. It got so bad that instead of staying with the varsity, Teahen was jettisoned to minor league camp in an effort to get him straightened out. Well, so far so good.
This afternoon, Teahen’s first appearance since his short stint in the outer fields, he went 2-4 with a single and a two-run homer–his first extra base hit this spring. While Teahen provided the best news of the day, there were other happy highlights:
* Omar Vizquel snapped out of a slump by going 2 for 4 with a double, two RBI, a walk with two runs scored.
* Carlos Quentin was 3 for 5 with two RBI.
* Juan Pierre went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and his fourth stolen base of the spring.
* Mark Kotsay was 2 for 4 along with two runs scored.
* Pitching-wise, John Danks hurled six good innings, allowing three runs and five hits. Greg AquinoBobby Jenks and Erick Threets each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the win.
The Sox are now 7-11-4 this spring. They travel to nearby Peoria tomorrow afternoon to face the Padres.

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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