The Sox are 0-3 through the first week of spring training.  There may be some basis upon which to be concerned by the results of the first three pre season games of the year, but I don’t see it.

What I prefer to see is that each of our three starters so far (Floyd, Buehrle, and Jackson) have pitched well (two scoreless in each of their outings).  The starters look strong!

The bats will come

Sox v. Dodgers

Two days until the Sox face their first live action against their spring training co-tenant the L.A. Dodgers.

So far not much of anything coming out of camp except for a lot of chatter about what might happen over the course of the year, all of which will truly be decided between the lines, and not during a press conference.

The one real point of progress that has been seen in Arizona is the health of Jake Peavy.  He continues to throw for longer and longer stretches and shows no ill effects from his shoulder injury.

If Peavy is right heading into the start of the season then he will prove Alex Rios right, this is the team to beat in the AL Central.

Day One

Day one of spring training is in the books, and the most important news of the day was that Jake threw without any discomfort.  If Jake is healthy and ready to contribute to the rotation come opening day, everything else falls in to place around him.


Four Days Until Pitchers & Catchers Report

Only four days until the Sox hit the field in Glendale, Arizona.  Yes, it just so happens that the White Sox are the very last team in the league to officially open their camp this year!

Focus will be on the health of Jake Peavy, the battle for the closer spot, Chris Sale’s contribution to both of those issues, the battle at third between Morel & Teahen, and the battle for the fourth outfielder position.

My predictions are that Peavy will prove himself healthy enough to start the season as the fifth starter.  With all of the two day breaks in the April schedule, he can go out and pitch five innings and let the pen carry the rest of the load.  That will allow him to avoid too much early stress on his surgically repaired shoulder. 

Having Jake in the rotation will allow Sale to start the year as the team’s closer.  In admittedly limited work, Sale looked outstanding as the closer last September.  Putting Sale at the back of the pen and leaving him there allows all of the pitchers in the pen to know their role.  That consistency is critical.  The idea of a closer by committee makes me queeezy. 

When Jenks was the closer and was healthy it allowed all the other guys in the pen to know exactly what their role was.  When Jenks was out or ineffective, it threw everyone’s game into flux, and the performance of the entire pen suffered.  To tell Sale the same thing not only gives the kid some clarity in terms of his role, it locks everyone else in as well.

Teahen v. Morel – I hope that Morel proves to all of us that he can hit well enough to start in the majors.  His play in the field toward the end of last year proved clearly that he has the glove for the majors.  If he can do anything serviceable with his bat he can sit at the bottom of the lineup and give the Sox a vast improvement over Teahen.

Finally, for no other reason than that he has five tool skills, I think Milledge will get the early shot at the fourth outfielder position.  If he fails, De Aza will be ready, but the early opportunity will be with Lastings.

The issue that not many folks are talking about is Carlos Quentin.  With Konerko back, Rios clearly playing in his prime, and the arrival of Dunn, TCQ will likely hit no higher than 6th in the lineup.  I think this could be a very good thing for the kid as the pressure to perform higher in the lineup had clearly stressed him out.  Not thinking that he has to carry the team will clearly work to the benefit of the very earnest Mr. Quentin.

The ice is melting in Indianapolis, and the baseballs are being hit in earnest in Florida and Arizona.  Baseball is coming, and it’s bringing summer with it.

You can almost smell the churros!

Rest In Peace, Skipper

Chuck Tanner has died at the age of 82.  While most will know him as the manager of the 1979 “We Are Family” Pirates.  I will always remember him as the skipper of the White Sox teams that I first grew up idolizing.

Cy Acosta, Bucky Dent, Dick Allen, Bill Melton, Terry Forster, Jim Kaat, Jorge Orta.  They were’nt pretty (well the red pinstripes were actually pretty sharp), but they were my team, and Chuck Tanner was their manager.

RIP Coach.

Nine Days!

Nine days ’til pitchers and catchers report for the Sox!

Peavy held a presser today expressing his desire to be 100% by opening day.  I hope that Herm and the medical staff do everything necessary to make sure that he is right before he tries to pitch eight innings.  I am certain that this team has the talent to live without Peavy if he needs the month of April to bring himself back to full strengith.  I am less certain that they have the talent to live without Peavy if he rushes himself and ends up on the shelf for a significant chunk of the year.

Baseball is coming, you can almost smell the churros!

Lastings Milledge Off The Bench?

Kenny signed the former first round phenom to a minor league deal with an invitation to camp.

It’s a good low risk, high reward proposition.  If he doesn’t get his stuff together cut him.  If he finally shows that he’s got his head screwed on straight, he could be a real benefit coming off the bench.

What manager better to get a guys head on right than Ozzie!  I’m not sure if that’s a joke or not, and I wrote it.

All The Right Moves

Kenny Williams and the Sox are doing everything in their power to make a deep run into the playoffs in the 2011 season.

They signed Dunn, they resigned Konerko and AJ, they brought in some bullpen depth, they picked up Ozzie’s option, and now they’ve gone and locked up A.Ram for four years.

The only real question mark heading into the season is Peavy’s health, and with the strength that we have in the rotation without him, that is really a question that only impacts who the 5th starter will be.  Which is not to say that Peavy would be the 5th in the Sox rotation; but with Buehrle, Danks, Floyd, and E Jax, you’ve got pitchers with the talent necessary to fill the one through four spots in your rotation.

It’s February, baby!  Just a few more days until pitchers and catchers report!