Sunday, March 14, 2010
Danks solid; Retherford emerges
By Bruce Levine
Left-hander John Danks extended to 3 2/3 innings pitched on Sunday, his longest outing of spring training.
White 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.”