03/19/2013 8:22 PM ET
Flowers returns to spot behind the plate
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tyler Flowers returned to the White Sox starting lineup Tuesday, using Monday's off-day as an extra treatment day to heal from a stiff back.
Flowers, slotted to catch and hit No. 8 against Cincinnati, had been sidelined since Friday with the injury, which arose when he woke up Friday morning.
"From my light workout the other day, I'd say running was probably the [toughest thing to deal with]," Flowers said. "Hitting was fine, throwing was fine, and I caught a bullpen and that was fine. Running was the only time I felt it."
White Sox fans won't soon forget A.J. Pierzynski, who departed for Texas in the offseason. But if Flowers' hot hitting can carry over into the season, the South Siders should be in good shape behind the plate. He pieced together a .316/.480/.632 slash line in his first nine Cactus League games.
With his long-awaited opportunity to start finally here, Flowers said he's going to take extra precautions to make sure the back issue doesn't resurface.
"I've got a new routine to try to make sure it doesn't come up again," Flowers said. "That's helped me get to this point, and I plan on doing it for the whole year. I don't want something like this to ruin this opportunity."
Despite ugly numbers, Danks feels fine physically
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- John Danks' outing went from bad to worse to downright dreadful on Tuesday afternoon, leaving little reason to believe the White Sox lefty will be in good enough form to crack the club's Opening Day roster.
Coming off shoulder surgery last August, Danks has allowed opposing batters to hit at a .443 clip this spring following his start against Cincinnati in which he gave up 10 runs (all earned) on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
"When I'd make a good pitch, they got hit, and certainly when I'd make a bad pitch they got hit," said Danks, whose Cactus League ERA sits at 16.36 after four starts. "It's one of those you're going to try and forget. It's been a while -- if ever -- since I've given up 10 runs in four innings. That's pretty hard to swallow."
The left-hander's day mercifully came to an end after he surrendered back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fourth. He surrendered three runs in the first and two more in the second. In a miserable fourth, he retired Reds pitcher Homer Bailey before giving up two singles, a walk and homers to Chris Heisey and Jay Bruce.
The only good news from the day was that Danks felt completely fine health-wise.
"I feel like physically I'm making strides," Danks said. "Obviously, the results haven't been there. On the day-to-day, physically I'm feeling better, and I'm getting there. I knew it was going to be a process. It's tough sometimes."
In terms of making the Opening Day roster, Danks acknowledged he's running out of time. The velocity isn't there yet, and neither is the length -- he threw 82 pitches and couldn't get out of the fourth inning.
From here on out, Danks says his mindset has to be simply getting ready rather than getting ready for a specific date.
"I don't have to get to where I can throw 120 pitches, but I do need to get to where I can get us through six innings," Danks said. "I can't be a guy out there that sets a burden on the bullpen every five days."
Manager Robin Ventura wouldn't rule Danks out of the running for a roster spot directly out of camp. Although the season begins April 1, a scheduling quirk prevents the White Sox from needing a fifth starter until April 13.
"He does [have enough time]," Ventura said. "It's one of those where you'll see [how Danks feels] tomorrow and then you go from there. The window is closing though. It is getting pretty tight."
Morel optioned to Triple-A among cuts
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox optioned third baseman Brent Morel to Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday morning, a move coming on the heels of his rough 2012 season that was cut short by a herniated disk.
"I don't think there's really much to say besides it [stinks], and it's not what you're looking for," Morel said. "I put in a lot of work and I'm feeling healthy again for the first time in a long time."
Morel hit .216 with a pair of homers in 37 at-bats this spring. His chances of making the club seemed to diminish when the club brought in Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie to help fill out the roster.
In playing 18 games, Morel said he feels like he got a fair shot at making the club. He doesn't feel like that opportunity is gone, even with his departure for Triple-A.
"It's just a matter of going down there, playing every day and getting at-bats -- just seeing if I can get back to where I was when I left off, and kind of force the issue down there," Morel said.
Morel, who hit .177 in 35 games last season, met with the club before Tuesday's workouts.
"They're really pleased with my attitude and how I've been playing, my health," he said. "It's just one of those things where there's not really enough room right now. I'm going to do what I can to go down there and play for however long it takes to kind of show them I'm healthy and playing well."
The White Sox also optioned reliever Deunte Heath to Triple-A, and they reassigned infielder Carlos Sanchez and pitchers Daniel Moskos and Zach Stewart to the Minors.
Peavy, Jones stay busy on off-day
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox may have been off Monday, but a pair of right-handed arms were not.
In order to stay on schedule, veteran starter Jake Peavy threw 97 pitches in a simulated game against Dodgers Minor Leaguers, and reliever Nate Jones followed with somewhere between 30 and 35 pitches.
As for the work Peavy got in, he said it was "the best I've felt since I've been out there starting." Peavy felt in command of all his pitches, and he worked approximately six innings -- though that's an estimate, as the club adjusted situations in order to get him a variety of settings in which to work.
Peavy's not the biggest fan of throwing in simulated games, but he said he felt he was able to get all his work in at the appropriate intensity level.
"It's a Triple-A game, so it's only a notch below the big league level, and it's not like there's a ton of intensity in a big league Spring Training game," Peavy said. "As long as you recreate that, and I was able to do that no problem, I felt great."
Peavy says he's past the point of spring where pitchers simply work on pitches, often sacrificing results. He may tinker between starts, but when he takes the mound, it's time to focus strictly on getting outs and pitch sequences.
Peavy has two more starts before he's scheduled to make his regular-season debut against Kansas City on April 3. He'll take the mound next against Dodgers big leaguers on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Jones worked two frames and allowed a homer in his second inning of work.