03/01/2013 8:01 PM ET
Outfielder Danks hoping for final bench spot
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The sore right elbow of outfielder Jordan Danks has recovered enough to where he should be back defensively in the next couple of games. Danks started at designated hitter on Friday against the Indians and finished with a single and a stolen base.
But even when Danks returns to the lineup, he knows that a battle awaits to capture the White Sox last spot off of the bench. Figuring Dewayne Wise, Hector Gimenez and Angel Sanchez will be the certainties in reserve, Danks will be competing with Brent Morel and Conor Gillaspie for the Major League opportunity.
Three previous seasons and 1,121 at-bats at the Triple-A level would seem to indicate that Danks has had his fill of Charlotte. He also understands the roster permutations.
"I mean, the ultimate goal is to be up here, obviously. That's where I want to be," Danks said. "If there's no fit or they don't see me in that spot, you just have to deal with the hand that you've been dealt.
"If I'm in Charlotte, piece together a decent season and try to get that call back. That's all you can do."
Danks is still considered to be the best defensive outfielder at any level of the White Sox organization. He also is aware of top-rated outfield prospects such as Courtney Hawkins, Trayce Thompson, Keenyn Walker and Jared Mitchell, but the 26-year-old doesn't seem worried about his fit in the organization.
"You look over and it's like, 'We got another outfielder,'" said Danks with a laugh. "We are all competitive, but we like to joke around, and we all have good chemistry. None of us hate each other. It's a fun battle."
Sale aims to build on Friday's outing
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In his 2013 Cactus League debut, White Sox starter Chris Sale threw 28 pitches and just 15 for strikes during the first inning of Friday's 9-7 loss to the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.
The plan for Sale was to go somewhere between 45 to 50 pitches or three innings.
"I thought they were going to get me out [of] there after the first one. It would have been kind of a bummer," said a smiling Sale. "I definitely felt good out there, but the first inning was kind of sporadic. Just felt like I was going one million miles per hour."
Sale credited catcher Hector Gimenez for coming to the mound and telling him to slow down. And when Sale threw his off-speed stuff, it got him back into rhythm, to where he wanted to be.
"As far as today went, it's a good building block. I'm very satisfied with how it went," Sale said. "Obviously, there's room for improvement in anything you do. But day one -- hot on the mound. Build from this and learn from this and try to go into the next one a little more."
"It's nice to see him out there, seeing the guys you kind of expect to be in the rotation," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "I don't think he was as sharp as he would like to be, but it's nice to get him out there and get the juices flowing a little bit."
After Sale escaped a two-on, one-out situation in the first, he needed just 10 pitches in the second for a perfect frame. He faced two batters and threw 10 more pitches before Ventura removed him with one on and one out in the third.
His afternoon's work covered 48 pitches, 29 of which were strikes. He fanned three, including Michael Bourn twice. Sale hopes Friday's start was the first step in making at least 30 regular season trips to the mound and throwing at least 200 innings.
"To be looked at as another guy and just as another starter is big for me, and that's what I want," Sale said. "Everyone in here expects it now, not having to take breaks and sitting out a couple games, and go after it."
No decision yet on Opening Day starter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chris Sale might be lined up to make his first Opening Day start on April 1 against the Royals, but manager Robin Ventura is not ready to make that call.
"We'll wait," Ventura said. "We'll see how everything goes, and we'll make a decision later in spring."
As far back as SoxFest, Jake Peavy told MLB.com of his strong support for Sale as the team's Opening Day starter. Ventura said with a wry smile that he'll be making that decision.
"I'll take care of it later," Ventura said.
Viciedo's power, talent not going unnoticed
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There are rarely, if ever, any official distances given on home runs during Cactus League competition. So, going the unofficial route, Dayan Viciedo's leadoff blast in the second off Cleveland ace Justin Masterson likely traveled somewhere between 460 and 500 feet.
Viciedo's clout cleared the entire left-field lawn seats and the back fence behind the grass, with the distance being 345 feet to the left field wall alone. It's another example of the unlimited potential possessed by the 23-year-old, which has not gone unnoticed by one veteran teammate.
"People don't really realize how good he is," said White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who played first in Friday's contest. "He's going to be really, really good for a long time.
"He's just kind of figuring out how to hit. I don't think he really realizes how good he is. I can't wait to watch him. He's going to be phenomenal."
Offseason clamor for general manager Rick Hahn to add another left-handed bat focused in part on Viciedo's .225 average against right-handed pitchers. But Hahn and the White Sox were not ready to turn Viciedo into a platoon player after just one full big league season, during which he hit 25 homers and drove in 78.
"That's probably one of the smarter things I've heard in a long time," said Dunn of the White Sox avoiding a platoon with Viciedo. "Again, I hate to sit here and build him up. You don't see a lot of guys like him come through all the time. He's just -- I'm a huge fan of him. He's going to be really, really good."
As for Viciedo's prodigious blast, Dunn said that sort of no-doubter is a little more enjoyable, "because you don't have to run out of the box as hard."
After a 28-pitch scoreless first, homers from Viciedo and Brent Morel helped Chris Sale settle down.
"It still does ease the tension, no matter where you are and what game you're pitching in, when you put runs on the board," Sale said.
"There's more there than just being a power hitter," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Viciedo. "He's got good hands, and he has a good idea at the plate. It's just being able to lay off when somebody is not going to give him something to hit."
First to third
• John Danks' Spring Training workout schedule has featured him throwing live BP or a bullpen, followed by two days off and then back to the mound. But the move of Danks' bullpen session from Friday to Saturday, after he threw live BP Tuesday, doesn't change the target of Monday for his first Cactus League start.
"Nothing has changed from that," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Danks on Monday. "He's still throwing in that game."
• Dennis Gilbert, the special assistant to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, served as one of the runners in the early morning rundown drills on a back field at Camelback Ranch.
•White Sox starting pitchers are 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA over seven starts in spring.