Fresh off his honeymoon, Chris Sale talked to White Sox beat writers on a conference call Monday afternoon, informing them that the project to convert him into a starter has not hit any snags.
Among the other noteworthy points:
*There's no hard-and-fast innings limit. Sale didn't dismiss the notion of pitching 190 innings, pointing to the 135 combined innings he threw at Florida Gulf Coast University, the White Sox bullpen and his brief tour of the farm system in between back in 2010. He said he felt just as good at the end of that season as he did at the beginning, so he's not prematurely concerned with fatigue.
*He has the pitches, and now he's "sharpening the tools." He made fastball command an offseason priority. With hitters facing him multiple times in a game, he knows he'll have to use all parts of the zone. He's also going back to his changeup, which was his key secondary pitch in college, but he hasn't used it much in the big leagues.
*He's "really, really excited" to start. He's also "very excited." And "really, really looking forward to it."
I joke about his enthusiasm, but it's actually refreshing to hear a member of the White Sox openly and audibly enjoy his line of work. He even handled a couple of hypothetical questions about returning to closing in the same manner as before (basically saying, "I really want to start, but sometimes things happen").
There are plenty of obvious reasons to root for Sale to stick as a starter -- it helps the Sox immensely, it proves Keith Law wrong, etc. But having Sale as a reliable presence in the rotation would give the White Sox an opportunity to put him out front more. The collective voice of the players has taken a back seat to Ozzie Guillen for the last eight years, and it could use some energy.
Hell, even his name is built for promotions. I'll get the ball rolling: SALE'S PITCH!
Christian Marrero Reading Room
Clay Davenport's updated projections have the White Sox and Tigers tied at 83-79. That's with Matt Young taking Victor Martinez's at-bats at DH, and it's contingent on Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham all posting a .700+ OPS. That really shouldn't seem like a tall order, but here we are.
The White Sox announced new titles for Buddy Bell (vice president, player development and special assignment), Kirk Champion (minor league field coordinator) and Nick Capra (director of player development). Champion gives his thoughts on what the changes mean to Scott Merkin in this article.
A.J. Pierzynski plans to play past 2012, saying he feels great and it works for his family. And his response to the idea of sharing time with Tyler Flowers?
"To be honest, I haven't even thought about it," said Pierzynski, who hasn't talked to new manager Robin Ventura about his situation. "I come in every year expecting to play 162 games.
"Until they pull me out and tell me, 'No,' that's the way it is. But it's not my call. I just want to do all I can to help the team win."
I'd take this as a positive, because it's the most flexibility Pierzynski has ever entertained when discussing his playing time.
David Haugh's tight relationship with Kenny Williams pays off, as he asks Williams the question that's on everybody's mind after the NFC Championship Game. I'd like to know more about the Giants' apparent designs on concussing Kyle Williams, myself.
In his team-by-team preseason power ranking preview, Phil Rogers correctly points out that there won't be an Ozzieball void, because for the last couple of years, Sox haven't shown any kind of extraordinary resolve or edge that was supposed to drive the engine. I'm not so much with Rogers on what exactly Tyler Flowers needs to prove, and MelidoPerez pointed out the flaw in using Pythagorean records to heap praise upon Guillen yesterday.
John Sickels ranks the farm systems 1-30. Can you guess which spot the White Sox occupy?
30) Chicago White Sox: You have two B+ pitching prospects in Addison Reed and Nestor Molina and some other raw materials for a decent bullpen. Hitting is a disaster. I like Tyler Saladino but I have huge doubts about their other hitting prospects.
After Daryl Van Schouwen published his interview with Hawk Harrelson on Monday, here's NotHawk translating it into what he really meant to say.
Having cut ties with Mark Teahen a week ago, the Toronto Blue Jays found themselves one former White Sox short. So they signed Omar Vizquel to a minor-league contract, and he'll compete for the chance to play shortstop at age 45. I want to see this happen.