2/23/2013 7:43 P.M. ET
Axelrod enjoys economical opening effort
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dylan Axelrod's plan Saturday was to throw two or three innings, depending on his pitch count, in what turned out to be a 9-0 victory for the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
An economical first-inning effort that included strikeouts of the Dodgers' Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez made a third inning possible.
"That seven-pitch first inning let me go out there again," said the California native, who fanned four and allowed one Juan Uribe single over three scoreless innings.
Axelrod already has spoken about understanding the situation where he currently resides in regard to the 2013 White Sox rotation. Even if John Danks isn't deemed ready to break camp with the team, Hector Santiago looks to be secure in the sixth starter's slot.
Nonetheless, more strong outings like Saturday from Axelrod strengthens the team's confidence in the right-hander and could even make him a trade target for other teams.
"We're very deep, so my job is to be there if I'm needed, no matter what happens in spring or come the regular season," Axelrod said. "I'm trying to make a point that I can pitch at that level and compete."
"He set a good example right there for everybody, especially the young pitchers, to see that you don't have to throw 100 [mph] to be a pretty good pitcher," said Tyler Flowers, who caught Axelrod. "He's one of the best pitchers we have. His stuff might not be quite as electric and attract the attention of every fan in the stands, but as far as pitching, he has a pretty good idea of what he's doing and he can execute pretty much every pitch in the book."
Gillaspie embraces competition with new team
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In Conor Gillaspie's first day with the White Sox, he just might have faced the toughest pitcher he'll go against in Cactus League competition.
That opponent didn't work for the Dodgers, with Gillaspie getting in at third base for the bottom of the seventh of the White Sox 9-0 victory. Instead, the left-handed hitter got to swing against southpaw Chris Sale during live batting practice for the White Sox ace at Camelback Ranch.
"It was different. He is a good pitcher," said a smiling Gillaspie of the Sale matchup. "But anything can help, and I can get all the experience. Meeting these guys and facing these guys is good."
Gillaspie, 25, was acquired by the White Sox from the Giants on Friday in exchange for hard-throwing Minor League reliever Jeff Soptic. Gillaspie immediately moves into the third-base mix along with Jeff Keppinger and Brent Morel, although general manager Rick Hahn described Gillaspie as more of a left-handed-hitting complement to Keppinger.
That battle will play out during Spring Training, with Morel starting, hitting second and finishing 1-for-2 Saturday. Morel needs to prove his back remains healthy through the day-to-day competition, while Gillaspie is happy for an opportunity with the White Sox.
"You have to understand this is a business, just like every job in the world," Gillaspie said. "Pablo [Sandoval] is a pretty good player, and I probably wasn't going to be able to beat him out. It's a good opportunity for me. I'm excited.
"I don't have a superstar tool. I'm not going to be somebody who will hit 50 home runs in BP. It's not who I am. I'll definitely work for you. I'll definitely play hard and practice hard. I try to play the game the right way, and whatever happens at that point, just have to roll with it."
Gillaspie believes this hard work has helped turn him into a better fielding third baseman compared to where he stood three or four years ago.
Flowers continues to work on consistency at plate
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox first home run of Cactus League action came from Tyler Flowers leading off the fourth against the Dodgers' Stephen Fife. It was a laser down the left-field line, which followed his popout to first base in the second.
Flowers was satisfied with the result, but certainly wasn't basing anything on an early Spring Training result.
"It was an OK at-bat. I had a couple of not-good takes and didn't really see it well except for a couple of pitches," Flowers said. "The result is good, but there is definitely more work to be done. I have to be more consistent with where I was on that last swing vs. pretty much the entire at-bat."
A primary goal for Flowers early on in camp is simply to stay consistent with his approach.
"My hands have been an issue getting in the way sometimes," Flowers said. "We've been working on it day in and day out, but it's good to get into a game and see what happens with live pitching when you can't really think about it. It just reiterates the point that there is a lot to do to get that to being consistent."
Jordan Danks puts injury in perspective
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As a player in a roster battle, Jordan Danks' mild sprain near his right elbow takes on even a bit more pain. But it was the outfielder's parents who helped put the injury in context.
"They're always trying to find the good in things," said Danks with a smile. "And they said, 'It might as well happen early if it's going to happen.'
"I'll miss the first couple games, and it's not going to be that big of a deal. It's going to be a long spring. I'm glad it wasn't anything worse than that. [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] said just a couple days and should be feeling much better."
Jordan jokingly asked if he could use one of the gloves from his brother John and throw left-handed. And it's throwing the ball where Jordan is bothered most, as he took swings Saturday morning without any problem.
"Right now it's just a little sore to throw, and that's pretty much it," Danks said. "They got [MRI] results back and they think it's a mild sprain. That's pretty much it. A couple days without throwing should be fine.
"My arm was feeling very good and I was letting it heave a little bit and then the last throw mechanically did something different and felt a little stretch or something in there. A couple days strengthening things and I'll still be able to hit, so I'll be good."
With all but one of the 13 White Sox position players apparently accounted for, and barring an injury, Danks is in a battle with new acquisition Conor Gillaspie and Brent Morel for that final spot.
Third to first
• The White Sox play 16 games as the home team in Glendale, Ariz., and 17 as the road team this spring, including two exhibition games vs. the Brewers at Miller Park March 29-30.
• Jeff Keppinger is scheduled to make his White Sox debut at designated hitter in Sunday's contest vs. the Dodgers.