The White Sox busted out of their spring malaise on Wednesday, and against the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner of all people.
They set a preseason high with 13 runs against the Mariners, including eight off Felix Hernandez over the first five innings. They put a baker's dozen on the scoreboard without a homer, bunching together hits instead (they went 9-for-22 with runners in scoring position). Paul Konerko continued to round into shape with two hits, Adam Dunn drew two walks -- that's nine now, and only one strikeout -- while causing no havoc during his first stint in left field.
On the pitching side, all the contenders for the remaining bullpen spots -- Eric Stults, Brian Bruney and Nate Jones -- held their own.
Ugly scores might be the norm, though, as Robin Ventura will attempt to hide his starters from American League foes, especially ones the Sox will face early and/or often. John Danks pitched against Seattle minor leaguers while Stults started against the real Mariners, and Jake Peavy's next two starts will come against minor league squads instead of facing the Royals and Indians.
Matt Thornton won't be able to avoid Kansas City, but he's changing his approach:
"I'm not going to do what I'm going to do against them during the regular season," Thornton said. "I'm going to work on things I need to work on right now and maybe give them a different look to put something in their mind if I face guys who are going to be in their everyday lineup.
"There's something to be said (for starters not facing AL Central hitters in spring training), no doubt. They can't go out there and throw five or six innings against a team they're going to face three or four times in the season. You never know. It might give us that one extra win early in the year if you don't face them in spring training. It's huge."
Christian Marrero Reading Room
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In case you haven't entered your projections or figured out your top 20 White Sox list, please do. It's easy. It's fun. It's helpful.
Dayan Viciedo isn't having the best spring training, either at the plate or in the field, and Kenny Williams doesn't sound absolutely certain that Viciedo will establish himself in that corner. A few games ago, Viciedo mishandled three different hops in left, which makes his assertion that he can still play third even funnier.
The fuss over Jesse Crain's oblique injury seems overblown, as a result of it being the only spring injury of immediate consequence. We can hope, at least.
- Baseball's Most Valuable Teams - Forbes
- Chicago White Sox on the Forbes MLB Team Valuations List - Forbes
Major League Baseball usually contests Forbes' findings, because it's seldom in any team's best interest to claim it has more money than it really does. But even if Jerry Reinsdorf underplays White Sox finances by using terms like "breaking even," the individual parts paint the expected picture when adjusting for expected posturing. The Sox have lost all operating income gains from winning the World Series, but they have insulated themselves from the downturn by boosting revenue elsewhere (Bacardi at the Park, the Chicago Sports Depot). Until this season, the payroll has increased right along with the revenue, so next year's numbers ought to be more interesting.
Daryl Van Schouwen's article puts Brent Lilllibridge's unusually frank comments about his arbitration years into some context. Basically, he's targeting 10 years of service time in order to benefit from that sweet, sweet pension and plan a post-career career and life with his family back in Washington. Me, I don't even know what I'm going to make for dinner tomorrow.
And speaking of Lillibridge, here are the Mariners and White Sox in a single tweet.