GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Having started in high school and college did not prepare Chris Sale for his first trip to the mound as a full-fledged member of the White Sox rotation for Saturday's intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch."Honestly, I came in here like a deer in the headlights," said a smiling Sale, after throwing two scoreless innings covering 22 pitches that included one strikeout and no walks. "It was like, 'Where am I going now?' "I was like a little kid in that I came in here and I was asking Gavin [Floyd], 'Hey, what are you doing now?' So just talking to [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and the trainers, trying to find something to get where I need to be. Not doing too much or doing too little." Sale yielded a first-inning double to Gordon Beckham when he fell behind and gave up a leadoff single to Alexei Ramirez in the second. But the lanky southpaw induced a double-play grounder from Tyler Flowers, started by shortstop Brent Lillibridge, after Ramirez's hit and retired Alex Rios and Paul Konerko with Beckham on second. It was a good start for Team Dunn, the eventual winner in Saturday's showdown by an 8-4 margin over Team Konerko. It was a better start for Sale, who threw all of his pitches consistently in the zone. "You take stuff from every time out -- good, bad or indifferent," Sale said. "I'd say today went well for me. I threw all my pitches and got some ground balls. Just moving forward and trying to build on this." "He got a double play on a changeup. He got Rios on a breaking ball. He threw some first-pitch breaking balls for strikes," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski of Sale. "He moved the ball around effectively. He fell behind Beckham and gave up the double, but other than that, he was ahead in the count and early action."
Ventura eyeing Pierzynski for two hole
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura is leaning toward giving A.J. Pierzynski the lineup's second-hitter slot, where the catcher finished 2-for-2 with a run-scoring double during Saturday's intrasquad game.
Pierzynski doesn't have much speed and has a single-season career-high of 25 walks, but he also possesses the best bat control on the team."Not that he steals a lot of bases, but he handles the bat and does the appropriate things," said Ventura. "He's always a tough out. He's one of those guys who will hook it if you have to or put it the other way if they shift on him." Ventura will not use Alejandro De Aza and Pierzynski back to back against tough left-handers, possibly moving up Brent Morel to No. 2 in that case. Look for Paul Konerko to hit fourth, with Alex Rios likely third to break up the speed-challenged trio of Pierzynski, Konerko and Adam Dunn, but Ventura hasn't officially decided on the third slot.
Intrasquad game provides entertaining start
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The first unofficial White Sox home run of Spring Training 2012 came off the bat of Dayan Viciedo, who launched a Gavin Floyd slider for a first-inning grand slam during Saturday's intrasquad game."It was a slider that he crushed, clubbed, put it on the tee," said Floyd, who threw 28 of his 51 pitches for strikes. "Apparently, he likes sliders." "He's pretty good," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Viciedo. "He's hot in left field." Brandon Short chipped in a three-run double, and Jared Mitchell added a run-scoring single. But Ventura pointed to pitchers getting their work and nobody getting hurt as Saturday's most important factors.
Danks wants out of the K zone
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jordan Danks has struck out 206 times over his last two seasons playing for Triple-A Charlotte. But the organization's best defensive outfielder believes a contact correction is as much mental as it is about physical adjustments."It's a mental thing, totally," said the younger brother of White Sox starter John Danks who singled and stole a base Saturday. "You get behind in the count, and if you are telling yourself, 'Don't strike out,' what are you going to do? You are going to strike out. It's about just keeping the same approach for the entire at-bat. "So, that is one thing I would like to personally work on. I've never liked striking out in my whole career, even in high school, college. It's an embarrassment to me. I just hate that walk back to the dugout. It's something personally I would like to take care of." Danks also realized that it's harder to get away with high strikeout totals when you are not a prolific slugger. "With a guy like Adam Dunn, he might strike out a lot, but he has the home runs to back it up," said Danks, whose single-season high for homers checked in at 14 last season. "That's sort of what they look at me for. I strike out a lot. But the home runs, it's not quite 30."
Third to first
Shingo Takatsu made an appearance at White Sox camp on Saturday, with television crew in tow. Takatsu is managing, pitching and broadcasting for an independent league team in Japan and did an interview with Kosuke Fukudome. The right-hander received a warm welcome from his former team. A.J. Pierzynski had a few humorous moments during Saturday's intrasquad contest. In the first, after taking a borderline 1-0 pitch from Gavin Floyd for a strike, he heard it from pitching coach Don Cooper. "Yeah, it was," said Cooper of the strike, seated a few feet from Pierzynski in a folding chair. Pierzynski just laughed. Fukudome was the surprise pregame motivational speaker for Team Dunn, firing up the squad in Japanese. "That was fun to see," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Fukudome's pep talk. "That's the stuff you look for besides the playing stuff, camaraderie you see already."