3/7/2014 8:56 P.M. ET
Abreu taking consistent attention in stride
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu agreed to a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox in October, and a throng of media came to U.S Cellular Field for his opening news conference.
Abreu arrived at Spring Training, and the story repeated itself. The same pattern followed for his first Cactus League start, his first Cactus League hit and his first home run, which came Thursday in Surprise.
The big first baseman understands the attention and doesn't mind the constant focus during his first camp. He grew accustomed to that sort of interest as a standout player in Cuba.
"I don't like to talk a lot, you know, but I understand that everybody has a job, and I'm all about what I need to do to help them do their job," said Abreu through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "Those are things you don't control.
"They're external, but I think they are beautiful. They're good things for me to do. They're part of this, and I'm always open to them."
Abreu's blast to right Thursday came on a first-pitch fastball from Kansas City's Brad Penny. But he certainly doesn't label himself as a home run hitter.
"I'm a guy who does the normal work every day, and I try to do the little things to help the team and do my best every day," said Abreu, who got his home run ball back. "I'm not looking for home runs, but when they come out, they're well taken."
Paulino close to putting it all together
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The velocity is there for Felipe Paulino, especially for his second Cactus League start Friday in a 4-3 victory over the Reds. He feels healthy, a point Paulino can't stress enough.
Now, the right-hander has to work on execution, an aspect that eluded him in his debut against the Rangers last Sunday but improved during his three innings at Goodyear Ballpark.
"Compared to the first time, I feel better. My pitches are coming great," said Paulino, who allowed three runs on four hits but struck out five. "I threw all my pitches today in any count. The only thing is, I need to throw the pitch in the right moment. The only way to fix that is in a game, [when] you face a hitter."
Jay Bruce belted a mammoth two-run shot off the White Sox starter in the first on a 1-1 offering, but Paulino came back to retire Bruce on a grounder to Gordon Beckham in the third. Paulino fanned Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick two times apiece.
Paulino has not pitched in the Majors since 2012 due to ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in July of that year and having a cyst removed from his shoulder last September, but he seems to be close to a lock for the White Sox rotation. He could even open as the team's second starter.
But manager Robin Ventura pointed out Friday that pretty much everyone is competing for a roster spot at this point of camp.
"You can't just hand one to somebody to come down here and not do anything to earn it," Ventura said. "Everyone understands where they're at, but you still have to show you deserve a spot in the rotation.
"Early on, I thought he was up in the zone. Then, the last inning, he was a little down in the zone, where he was a little more effective down there."
Prepared Viciedo blocking out trade rumors
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Dayan Viciedo has heard the trade rumors since shortly after the Winter Meetings last December.
The rumblings figure to continue, with a crowded outfield that includes Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza locked into the same spot in left after the arrival of Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia since last July. But Viciedo, who is set to earn $2.8 million in his third full Major League season, doesn't worry about the unknown.
"I don't really think about that. It's something I have no control over," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "I have to take care of myself and prepare for the season. That's what I've been doing."
Viciedo started in left field in Friday's 4-3 win over the Reds after starting Thursday's contest in the same spot against the Mariners at Camelback Ranch. De Aza played left field in Surprise against the Royals during split-squad action Thursday.
Manager Robin Ventura already has stated that he won't be worried about naming a starter, instead letting them play and seeing what materializes.
During the offseason, Viciedo stressed getting in good physical shape and then did a little hitting. That offensive side is getting more play in Arizona, as Viciedo looks to surpass his .265 average, 14 homers and 56 RBIs from 2013.
"I'm feeling really good," Viciedo said. "I'm working on being a little more under control, having a little bit more patience in the zone."
Webb returns to camp, ready for first spring game
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After returning home for one week due to a death in the family, reliever Daniel Webb was back in White Sox camp Friday and threw a bullpen session.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said that Webb had thrown two sidelines while he was home in Kentucky and looked good during Friday's session.
"You know what, it sounded like a bowling ball hitting the glove," Cooper said. "He was throwing kind of a heavier ball. He threw well."
Webb will have Saturday off and then get into his first Cactus League game on Sunday against the A's.
"Getting him out there and getting him going is the thing to do. So, that's kind of it," said Cooper. "I personally think throwing him out there [is good] because [it keeps] his mind on baseball. Keeping him engaged, you know? I had a similar situation happen to me. I don't want to get into it, because I don't want to talk about my [stuff].
"The bottom line is, I think from my experience, when I was occupied, when I was on top of the stuff and focusing on the stuff of my job and my work and trying to do well, it occupied my mind. It made me think about the loss less."
Third to first
• Nate Jones will test his strained left glute against the D-backs on Saturday. Scott Downs also is scheduled to work in relief, marking the first Cactus League appearance for both. The veteran Downs doesn't need as many appearances to get ready, says Ventura.
• Tyler Flowers' throw on a Brayan Pena stolen-base attempt in the fourth inning Friday sailed into center field when neither Alexei Ramirez nor Gordon Beckham covered second. Ventura called the mishap a miscommunication, but an unacceptable one.
"That can't happen," Ventura said. "So it was handled. Somebody has to be there."
• Adam Eaton has reached base in six straight plate appearances, including getting hit by an Aroldis Chapman pitch on the right shoulder Friday. It was his left elbow sporting an ice pack after the game, but Eaton said it was a precautionary measure.
• Ronald Belisario, who has been absent from camp due to a visa issue in Venezuela, reportedly is on his way to Arizona and could arrive by Saturday. According to Cooper, Belisario will throw a bullpen session as soon as he gets settled.