- WGN debuted a couple of new graphics today. One was a World Series trophy that displayed along just behind the Sox logo. I like it, but only for spring training. I agree with the Sox that 2006 is a different year. The other was a strike zone tracker that was modeled after ESPN's K zone, only it looks more like MLB Gameday's strike zone tracker. Finally, they were displaying players' OBPs along with other, more conventional, stats.
- Brandon McCarthy -- He wasn't sharp, or crisp, or any of those other cliched adjectives used to describe a pitcher who can't find the zone. It's not that McCarthy was wild such that he was walking everyone. He was just falling behind batters and never really located his fastball well. I don't recall him throwing a curveball at all. But his change-up was very effective when he kept it down in the zone.
- Jim Thome -- Warning.Track.Power. The game reports for each game he has played this spring has said he's hit balls deep to the warning track in left center. He did it three times today. Looks like his timing is still a bit off.
- Rusty Tucker -- No need to worry about him making the team. He had a hard time repeating his delivery and finding the same release point. He has a deep knee bend, and takes a l-o-n-g stride to the plate. Reminds me a bit of Jim Parque's motion. His fastball was 91-92 consistently, though, and touched 94 according to the WGN gun. He'd probably be best served if he could shorten up his stride by a couple inches and sacrificed a few MPH on the gun for increased control.
- Charlie Haeger -- The boxscore won't look pretty, and it was pretty painful to watch. But, his knuckler was definitely knuckling. Chris Stewart, who has experience catching him from their time together in B'Ham, must have dropped about half of the knuckleballs Haeger threw. He was just put on the 40-man roster, so he's got 3 years to figure it out. And with the Sox current starting pitching situation, it's not like they need him anytime soon.
- Chad Bentz -- He looked brutal. Think Arnie Munoz in Montreal, only Bentz was facing mostly minor leaguers.
- Jeff Bajenaru -- He came on in relief of Bentz and got the Sox out of a jam. He needs to keep his slider down in the zone to be effective. He's up in the zone to much with it, and it has a tendency to hang. He only touched 91 with his fastball.
- Casey Rogowski is a player to watch this year. He's among my breakout candidates along with Robert Valido, Micah Schnurstein, Tyler Lumsden (second half), and Clayton Richard. Casey's performed for two straight years, but I think he underrated because of his 'limited' power showing last year. He should more than double his total at Charlotte this year. Look for him to hit 20 HRs.
- Tadahito Iguchi looked stiff in the field. Paul Konerko was hitting for average, not trying to do too much with the pitches he saw. Brian Anderson finally got a hit. I was beginning to get worried. He even looked foolish on the pitch before he doubled. He's going to be hit-and-miss all year.
Impressions from my living room
By The Cheat