03/03/12 8:30 PM EST
Sale bests nerves in first game action
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
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."