Today's the official reporting date for all White Sox players, but most of them have shown up already. Of the players invited to big-league camp, only Alexei Ramirez, Alejandro De Aza and Tyler Saladino have yet to report. Robin Ventura said they're scheduled to arrive with no special conditions, and so full-blown spring training will commence.
With all the major bases covered, the beat writers are focusing their attention elsewhere. For instance, Mark Gonzales gets to merge his Baseball America beat while indulging himself with excessive California name-dropping with this enlightening joint profile of Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress. Both have raved about their work with pitching coordinator Curt Hasler, who has spent plenty of time working on their deliveries. Johnson's added some sink to his mid-90s fastball, whereas Snodgress is trying to repeat his deliveries.
They'll get a chance to show their stuff during the first week of Cactus League play, as the regular starting pitchers are being held back until March 1, adjusting for the extra-long schedule. Robin Ventura continues to emphasize that he's not Ozzie Guillen by noting that it's kind of important to pay attention to rookies.
Speaking of Ozzie
According to Jon Heyman, Guillen inquired about the Orioles' third-base coach vacancy, which eventually went to Bobby Dickerson. I don't know how Guillen would have tolerated being a subordinate to Buck Showalter, but holy crap that should have happened.
For now, he remains out of the game. He's considering TV work, and possibly managing in Asia.
*John Danks says the megacontract he signed prior to last season has no effect on his outlook or the way he's going about rebounding from shoulder surgery. He stopped short of saying, "I really enjoy the contract."
*Chris Sale says he's not concerned about a long-term deal of his own, and that's he's content just "chugging along."
*Matt Lindstrom worked with Parent, Don Cooper and Bobby Thigpen about enhancing the downward plane of his delivery.
*Tyler Flowers is working with Mark Parent to firm up his target for all pitches. Parent didn't think Flowers' tendency to relax his mitt on certain calls would tip pitches, but consistency can't hurt.
*Josh Phegley's bout with ITP has been covered before, but Doug Padilla reviews the situation in case you're unfamiliar with it.
*Michael Jordan turns 50 today if you haven't heard, and the Sun-Times talked to Jerry Reinsdorf, Herm Schneider and others about Jordan's year with the Barons. The most interesting part:
Determined to make it happen, Jordan secretly drove to Comiskey Park in the fall of ’93 — well before revealing his plan to play baseball — for daily get-togethers with Sox trainer Herm Schneider for the purpose of getting his body in baseball shape.
‘‘Nobody ever saw him because we had a plan where he would call me when he was five minutes away from the ballpark and I would go where the TV docks were at that time (along 35th Street) to let him pull in,’’ Schneider said. ‘‘I’d put the doors down right behind him.
‘‘We’d go to the training room and we started strengthening the hands, shoulders, elbows. It was totally different than what he was used to. You need your hands in basketball, but not as much as you do in baseball for gripping a bat, throwing a baseball and having a glove on your hands.’’