Danks solid; Retherford emerges

March, 14, 2010
3/14/10
8:12
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Left-hander John Danks extended to 3 2/3 innings pitched on Sunday, his longest outing of spring training.
[+] EnlargeJohn Danks
AP Photo/Jeff ChiuWhite Sox pitcher John Danks says his team should be considered a World Series contender.

"This is a time during spring training where it gets a little monotonous and a little old," Danks said. "You go out there and you try to have success. We are all competitive, but at the same time we all know the bigger prize is in three weeks."

Both Danks and Jake Peavy said after their last starts that the White Sox should be considered a World Series contender. On Sunday, Danks didn’t back away from those comments.

“We know how good we are and how good we can be,” Danks said. “We have to go out there and prove it.”

-- Closer Bobby Jenks’ achy calf will not prevent him from pitching on Monday as scheduled. After getting lit up for five runs on Friday, Jenks had treatment on his calf, the same one that kept him out of the last couple of weeks of the 2009 season.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said on Sunday that if Jenks is ever out for any extended period during 2010, the team would go with a closer-by-committee that would include relievers Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz.

Putz had mixed results on Sunday, striking out two in the inning he pitched. The veteran reliever also gave up a 430-foot two-run home run to Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds.

Putz, a former closer for the Seattle Mariners before signing a free-agent contract with the New York Mets in 2009, is back to throwing the ball between 92 and 94 mph. He’s also re-established a nasty splitfinger pitch.

-- Guillen expressed disappointment in the play so far of infielders Jayson Nix and Brent Lillibridge. Both players are fighting for a backup infielder role on the 25-man roster. However, minor league infielder C.J. Retherford has made a strong impression on Guillen and his staff this spring.

White Sox bench coach Joey Cora called Rutherford a “baseball player,” meaning that he does all of the little things required of him to win ballgames. Before Sunday’s game, Guillen concurred with Cora’s assessment.

“I love that kid a lot,” Guillen said. “Everything we’ve asked that kid to do, he does. Steal a base. Hit behind a runner. Move a runner over -- he’s a sleeper, but he’s starting to wake people up. At least he’s opened my eyes. I’m very, very pleased with the way he’s played. All the reports say he plays the game ugly, but he gets the job done.”

Guillen went on to compare Retherford’s play to Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco.

“He’s not as good as Polanco, but he does everything good enough to stay in the big leagues,” Guillen said.

In 128 games with Double-A Birmingham last season, Retherford hit .297 with 10 home runs and 76 RBIs.

If Retherford doesn’t make the 25-man roster, he will surely be the first call-up by the White Sox if there’s any injury to an infielder or general lack of production.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.12 158 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAC. Gillaspie .306
HRJ. Abreu 32
RBIJ. Abreu 90
RJ. Abreu 66
OPSJ. Abreu .955
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158