3/14/2014 8:29 P.M. ET
Sale aims to make adjustments against Indians
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale probably didn't mind missing the Indians on Friday at Camelback Ranch, even though it was just a Cactus League game.
Sale had a Cy Young-caliber season in 2013, posting an 11-10 record with a 2.40 ERA over 26 starts covering 191 innings. But the White Sox ace also had four starts against the Indians, during which he went 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA over 23 innings. Six of Sale's 23 homers came against the Indians.
"Well, it went real well," said Sale with a forced, sardonic smile. "For some reason, I don't know if I was tipping my pitches or getting too sequential with my pitches in certain counts or to certain batters, but whatever it was, it seemed like they knew exactly what was coming, when it was coming and how it was going to be.
"I have to make some adjustments, look at video and study some charts, to see if I'm throwing too many 1-1 changeups to a certain person. Go from there and change accordingly."
Sale certainly didn't stand alone on the White Sox with this Cleveland futility. The White Sox lost their last 14 games against the Indians, and finished the '13 campaign with a dismal 2-17 head-to-head mark.
Rowand a fan of Eaton's style of play
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There probably will be a time when Aaron Rowand wants to get back into Major League Baseball as a coach at some level.
Presently, the one-time White Sox center fielder, who represented the franchise's famous "Grinder Rules" with his all-out style of play and made a major contribution to the 2005 World Series championship, is thoroughly enjoying life as a father to his two kids and as a husband. Rowand brought the Las Vegas Aces, his 10-and-under baseball team that includes his son, to Camelback Ranch on Friday between their weekend contests near Chandler.
As his young charges shagged fly balls deep in the outfield, Rowand had the chance to connect with old friends and talk for a few minutes about one new addition in particular. Adam Eaton has not played a single regular-season game for the White Sox, but flashes of his high energy already have drawn comparisons to Rowand and, in turn, earned Rowand's seal of approval.
"He goes about his business the right way, works hard and, obviously, there's a ton of talent," said Rowand. "White Sox fans are going to be excited about watching him play every day. He's going to be one of their own."
That hard-nosed, run-through-the-wall effort exhibited by Rowand and Eaton plays very well on the South Side. Rowand understands the reasoning behind that favorite status.
"It's a hard-working fan base," Rowand said. "I wouldn't expect them to think any different or want to see the guys that they pay good money to go out and watch not go out and play the game the right way.
"That's one of the things that I always loved most about playing in Chicago, is the fans and the city itself. So you know they are going to enjoy watching [Eaton] out there playing."
Eaton's arm close to being full strength
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There was no chance for Adam Eaton to show off his throwing arm during Friday's 2-2 deadlock at Camelback Ranch with Cleveland. But it was just three days ago when Eaton fired a strike on the fly to first to double off Texas' Mitch Moreland on a fly ball to center.
Eaton started the 2013 season on the disabled list for the D-backs with a strained left elbow, and had a setback during a May injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno. But the left-handed hitter and thrower finds himself almost at full strength.
"I'm still strengthening of course. It won't be at the peak until the end of Spring Training, but it's getting there," Eaton said. "When I came back after the injury, it was just all strengthening.
"You don't throw for a month and you throw for three weeks and I sat back down again for three weeks. So my arm was just kind of goofed up. Now that I've had the throwing program, getting everything strengthened, it feels great and ready to go.
Scouts have talked about Eaton having a surprisingly strong arm. But Eatons' confidence in his overall game has never wavered.
"When I catch it at a certain depth, I'm going to let it go and hopefully it's accurate, and that's the most important thing," Eaton said. "You can have a strong arm all day, but if it's not accurate, you can't do much with it. I'm confident in my arm, and I hope it gets the job done."
Abreu fighting ankle soreness
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu had both angles wrapped for Friday's 2-2 tie with the Indians at Camelback Ranch and has battled some ankle soreness, according to White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
"It's nothing right now that we're to be alarmed about," Ventura said. "He had a couple of days there he took off, but he's doing better. He's still running.
"About four or five days ago, it looked like something was wrong. Now, he looks better, he's running better. We just have to get the soreness out."
Abreu finished 1-for-3 with a double to right-center off of Josh Tomlin.
"There's probably a lot of things going on," said Ventura of the soreness. "New shoes, wearing orthotics, and just trying that for the first time."
Sanchez among three prospects sent to Minors
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There wasn't much chance of earning an Opening Day roster spot for Carlos Sanchez, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Friday, along with left-hander Frank De Los Santos and right-hander Nestor Molina. But his strong camp, during which the 21-year-old hit .538 over nine games, proved the young White Sox infielder is not too far away from the Majors.
"He's a lot closer," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "A few years ago, at 19, people were talking about it. He's at the point now where he's just gotten better. When you see him on the field, he does a lot of things that we like, and being able to follow him, you really notice kind of how he progresses.
"Compared to last year, he came in here and you can see that he just knows how to play. Swinging the bat, playing defense, he played a lot of different positions in the infield, but I just think he's more mature as a player. Even as young as he is, he's come a long way from last year to this year for the staff."
The White Sox would have liked to keep Sanchez, ranked ninth in the organization last year by MLB.com, in camp longer. But with more at-bats going to their everyday players, they wanted him to have that same everyday opportunity on the Minor League side.
Third to first
• Saturday's game against the Dodgers marks the lone 2014 Cactus League night game for the South Siders. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are the two starting pitchers, with the game close to being sold out.
• Erik Johnson, working in a Minor League game instead of against the Indians, allowed five earned runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings. The most important part of the afternoon was getting his pitch count up to 78, with 49 of Johnson's pitches going for strikes.
"I felt good. I thought I could have worked ahead a lot more," Johnson said. "The curveball could have been thrown for more strikes. Like [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] says a lot, 'We want more,' and I want more as well, more strikes."
Paul Konerko finished 1-for-3 during the Minor League game. Adrian Nieto added two hits, and Jared Mitchell went deep.
• After an uneven 2013 season as primarily a starter, Dylan Axelrod adjusted his mechanics during the offseason.
"Just a few things with my arm path, it's a little shorter," Axelrod said. "I'm trying to hide the ball better, staying closed a lot longer, some things with my front side where I'm not flying open.
"I'm just really trying to stay back to front as we say here. When I do it right, the ball comes out well. I'm excited about that."
Axelrod, who worked three scoreless innings on Friday against Indians, had a 4.04 ERA over his first 11 starts in '13. But that ERA jumped to 5.88 in June and 11.32 in July, when he moved back to the bullpen.
• Matt Lindstrom remains on track to throw a bullpen Saturday after throwing one Thursday. Lindstrom is working his way back from a left oblique strain.