03/11/2013 8:02 PM ET
Jones concentrating on hitting location consistently
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Much like buying real estate, successful pitching really is about one overriding factor for White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.
Location, location, location.
"No matter who you are and what you throw, you still got to be a thrower-to-the-glove guy," Cooper said. "If you throw 99 [mph], the more you throw to the glove the better. Nate Jones is throwing the ball very hard, but our goal for him is to bring that stuff to the glove more.
"Stuff only gets you out for so long. It gets hitters out for so long. Stuff and command of stuff can get them out forever."
Jones, who pitched a hitless inning during Monday's 3-1 win, begins big league season No. 2 with the White Sox and points out that Cooper and the White Sox staff do a great job of making this point abundantly clear. It's all about hitting your spots low or commanding in and out.
With a fastball checking in routinely at 98 or 99 mph, Jones could get away with a missed spot or two in the Minors. He learned in 2012 that those big league mistakes get hit a long way.
"One mistake I made that sticks out in my mind, I threw one 99 but it was belt high over the middle and Billy Butler hit it over the fence dead straightaway," Jones said. "It doesn't matter how hard you throw it, it's all about command and where you are trying to throw it."
Starting pitchers need that pitchability, according to Cooper, meaning they can change speeds and command three or four different pitches. The White Sox actually want that to ring true for all of their hurlers.
"We've always tried to approach things like how do we maximize their physical ability and then maximize command of that physical ability:" Cooper said. "When you get there, then you are as good as you can be. You are maximizing in two areas that have to be looked at."
Efficiency keys Sale's success in latest start
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 192 strikeouts recorded by Chris Sale over 192 innings last year doesn't mean the left-hander is focused on the punchout.
It's his focus, actually, if it's a three or four-pitch strikeout. Otherwise, Sale prefers the efficient outing produced during Monday's 3-1 victory for the White Sox over the Rockies at Camelback Ranch, when he needed a mere 58 pitches to get through five-plus innings.
"That allowed me to go back out there for the sixth inning, being efficient and throwing strikes," said Sale, who threw 36 strikes. "If you have one batter that goes eight pitches in the second inning, that can affect you in the seventh."
Sale threw just 13 pitches in the first, 10 in the second, nine in the third, seven in the fourth, 11 in the fifth and eight to two batters in the sixth. Yorvit Torrealba produced the longest at-bat of the game against Sale in that final inning, with Sale's seventh pitch resulting in a long home run.
Even with the positive result, Torrealba had praise for the White Sox ace.
"He throws almost sidearm, and his delivery is kind of weird, too," Torrealba said. "You've got to give credit to the guy. He's got a good changeup and a nasty slider. The ball's moving a lot, especially when he goes away to righties. It seems the ball keeps running away."
Pitching to contact can produce some harrowing moments, as Sale found out in the fourth with three long fly balls. All three were caught, including a nice running play in left made by Jared Mitchell against Eric Young.
His two strikeouts, no walks and three hits allowed gave Sale's start an Opening Day feel, with Sale lined up to pitch against the Royals on April 1 at U.S. Cellular Field. But manager Robin Ventura did not officially anoint the southpaw with such an honor.
"We're just not ready to do it yet," said Ventura. "We'll see how everybody does in the next couple of weeks and go from there."
Peavy hosts war veterans at camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy shows quite a bit of emotion while pitching, whether it's prowling around the mound after not getting a call or yelling at himself when not making a pitch. But the emotion Peavy exhibited pregame Monday when talking about his friend Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Hill, an Iraq War veteran who experienced severe post-traumatic stress disorder, comes from an entirely different place.
"Me and Chris Hill have a bond like no other. I get teary eyed just thinking about what he's been through and who he is now," said Peavy, his eyes welling up as he talked. "To be a friend to him through that, it's life-changing for me."
Hill was one of 10 veterans who visited the White Sox clubhouse prior to Monday's game against the Rockies as Peavy's guests in conjunction with the Strikeouts for Troops program. They got to shake hands and get autographs from players such as Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn, while taking pictures and chatting with manager Robin Ventura and television play-by-play announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.
After attending the game, there was a dinner and a private concert for the group Monday night that featured Peavy, San Francisco hurler Barry Zito and friends. Peavy and Hill met in 2010, before Peavy's Woodjock Spring Training concert, and the fellow Alabama native was not speaking at the time. Peavy had a talk with Hill and at the end of the conversation, Hill responded with a "Roll Tide" and began to return to old form.
"A lot of people have their different political opinions on what they're doing and why they're doing it," Peavy said. "At the end of the day, these kids are doing what they're asked to do. It's not their choice and [they are] making huge sacrifices so we can live and go about our lives the way we can go about it.
"To be able to say thank you in a small way and just getting them out of their hospitals, getting them out of their rehab facilities . … I can go on and on telling you stories about some of the men that were in here and it would break your heart but make you smile at the same time."
Third to first
• The White Sox announced 10 moves following Monday's 3-1 victory over the Rockies. They optioned right-hander Simon Castro and left-hander Santos Rodriguez to Triple-A Charlotte, optioned right-hander Nestor Molina to Double-A Birmingham and reassigned outfielder Stefan Gartrell, right-hander Erik Johnson, infielders Seth Loman and Marcus Semien, left-hander Scott Snodgress and outfielders Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker to Minor League camp.
With the moves, the White Sox have 45 players remaining in Major League camp: 23 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders.
• Jeff Keppinger was not in Monday's lineup, as he received treatment on for slight inflammation in his right shoulder according to manager Robin Ventura. He should be back in the lineup in a couple of days, although quite possibly not at third base.
"He might be able to hit or DH in a day or so," Ventura said. "Throwing-wise, probably a couple of days."
• Jesse Crain, sidelined by a strained right adductor, plans to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. If he passes that test, then he could pitch in the Cactus League contest later that day against the Indians.
• Alejandro De Aza is 4-for-9 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Dominican Republic and Alex Rios is 2-for-9 with four runs scored for Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic competition. Both teams advanced to the second round.