3/16/2014 2:16 A.M. ET
May, DeMichele know Australian baseball
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Dodgers or Diamondbacks want to know a little bit about baseball in Australia for their regular season contests there next weekend, they need look no further than White Sox Minor Leaguers Jacob May and Joey DeMichele. Both players took part in the Australian Baseball League this past winter and can agree upon the fans' fervor for these upcoming games.
"That's all they talked about when I was out there and how excited they are," said May, an outfielder who is the 15th ranked White Sox prospect per MLB.com. "It's going to be a great atmosphere."
"It's a big deal, and they are promoting it like heck," DeMichele said. "They might experience a little bit different than what we did."
Abreu shrugs off sore left ankle
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There doesn't seem to be much worry coming from Jose Abreu concerning his sore left ankle, even though the minor injury got a little worse during Friday's game against the Indians.
"Actually, it got better on the games right before yesterday," said Abreu, through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "Then, yesterday went backwards again.
"It's not anything big. It's soreness. It's something I can control, I can play with it. I want to play. If I knew it was something worse than that, I probably would sit. It's nothing but soreness."
Abreu, who started against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw Saturday night at Camelback Ranch and knocked out a single to center, thinks the soreness might be coming from the arch support he's using or from the extra amount of activity. But the first baseman isn't sure.
The problem creeps up the most when Abreu stops when he's running and puts weight on it.
"That's psychological," Abreu said. "It's something that you can get through. It's not a concern for me."
Replay upholds fifth inning play at second
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Expanded instant replay upheld a call at second base in the fifth inning of Saturday night's game between the White Sox and Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, where Scott Van Slyke was ruled safe on Juan Uribe's grounder to short. Alexei Ramirez made a great play in the hole to get a glove on the baseball, but his throw to Marcus Semien was just a bit late to force Van Slyke with runners on first and second and one out.
Semien's ensuing throw to first hit off of Van Slyke's helmet and sailed into right field, allowing a run to score.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura challenged that Ramirez's throw actually beat Van Slyke. But replay showed otherwise.
Gimenez could be in the catching mix
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Four catchers remain in camp for the White Sox, with Tyler Flowers still holding the edge for the team's Opening Day starter. But even with Hector Gimenez standing as a non-roster invite, the switch-hitting backstop might have an edge as the No. 2 or at least finds himself on equal footing with Josh Phegley and Adrian Nieto.
Phegley has options left, and the White Sox might choose to have him play every day at Triple-A Charlotte if he's not starting in the Majors. Nieto, the Rule 5 selection, has impressed, but has to make a jump from the Carolina League to the big leagues.
That leaves Gimenez, who hit .191 with the White Sox before being designated for assignment on July 5 last year and outrighted to Charlotte on July 9. Gimenez, 31, feels comfortable handling the White Sox staff in his second year with the team.
"I feel really comfortable even though I'm not on the 40-man roster," Gimenez said. "I feel comfortable with the team and I feel comfortable with the organization and I'm pretty sure they know me and I know what I have to do to help this team win.
"All I can say is that I'm working pretty hard to be ready for whatever they want me to do. I don't know what they want to decide or where they want to send me."
If Gimenez breaks camp with the team, the White Sox would enter 2014 with the same catchers they had at the start of 2013. But it's more the comfort level that brought Gimenez back to the White Sox on a Minor League deal, despite having other options, as opposed to the specter of a big league chance.
Flowers' throwing improves after rehab
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tyler Flowers hasn't had much of a chance to test his throwing arm against would-be basestealers, the area that was most affected last season by the surgically corrected soreness in his right shoulder. But Flowers has been pleased with how his shoulder feels and has been trying to play things "live" with his throws in between Cactus League innings.
"It's something I've typically always done anyways," Flowers said. "I'm getting six or seven game throws in the course of those six or seven innings I catch.
"I've had Bernie [White Sox bench coach Mark Parent] and Chief [White Sox bullpen catcher Mark Salas] watching me as much as I could and taking times, to make sure everything looks good. I've been pretty pleased with it, and I've been pretty accurate, which is a big part of it.
"This is not about just throwing the ball as hard as you can, but being accurate helps," Flowers said. "But it has been good. It has brought in a couple of other things as well."
One of those things realized by Flowers is that he can be quicker with his feet then he thought. Of the opposing players who have run against him, Flowers remembers one good throw, one throw off the mark and two where the team was out of position so it didn't matter.
He was 13-for-65 in nailing basestealers last year, but feels strong after the September debridement of his rotator cuff and labrum.
"Time-wise I've been just as good as I was in the past, if not a little bit better on average," Flowers said. "There are certain throws that are a little bit more of a challenge. The arm strength still isn't quite what it was.
"I can make up for it in other areas. Some throws down and away, it's more arm. Those are more of a challenge right now. They have gotten better. I'm sure as we continue, I'll continue to get better."
Beckham out at least one week with strained oblique
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Gordon Beckham was taking some light swings in the White Sox batting cage following Friday's 2-2 deadlock with the Indians.
On one of those swings, the White Sox second baseman felt something grab in his left oblique area.
"I could tell once I took the swing, something was wrong," said Beckham before Saturday night's game with the Dodgers. "So I picked up the balls, came in and started getting treatment."
Beckham was diagnosed with a strained left oblique and will have no baseball or weightlifting activity for seven days. The strain is termed a mild one, but Beckham and the White Sox understand how tough and ongoing this injury can become.
Relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom mildly strained his left oblique a few days before he was scheduled to make a Cactus League debut in the White Sox Feb. 28 opener, and he could be appearing in a game for the first time next week. The White Sox feel as if they caught the injury early enough with Beckham but certainly won't force anything with his return.
"It's going to be how he feels in eight to 10 days and then we'll reevaluate where we are at," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Beckham. "At this point, just shutting him down is the most conservative route and the best one to getting him back to 100 percent.
"If you try to fight through these things, they can really grab you and linger for an extended period. We feel we caught it soon enough that hopefully if it does drift into the season, it hopefully won't be too long into the season."
Marcus Semien and Leury Garcia will receive more playing time over the final two weeks of Spring Training with Beckham out for at least one of those. One of those two already was in line to make the Opening Day roster as a utility player, with Jeff Keppinger still unable to throw due to a tight and sore shoulder and quite possibly headed to the disabled list.
Ironically, Keppinger might have been the one to step in for Beckham at second when this injury took place. Micah Johnson, who topped the Minor Leagues with 84 stolen bases in 2013, also will get a slightly more extended look.
"He's continuing to improve and he's getting better as you see him up here," said manager Robin Ventura of Johnson. "It's good to see him get introduced to this, but making the team right now is probably a longshot."
"This is an opportunity to see some young kids over the next 10 days or so," Hahn said. "Then we will reevaluate where we are at."
Beckham, 27, is set to begin his sixth big league season and fifth as the White Sox second baseman. He hit .267 last season, with 22 doubles, five homers and 24 RBIs, but was plagued by injuries from start to finish.
On April 9, Beckham fractured the hamate bone in his left hand on a swing against the Nationals and was out from April 10 to June 2 after having surgery to remove the bone. He was hampered by another left wrist injury after the All-Star break, although in a different area, and left the game on Aug. 15 at Minnesota with a strained right quad that pretty much bothered him for the rest of the season.
Despite five hits in 30 at-bats this spring, Beckham has felt in a good place offensively since early last season. He hopes this injury stands as only a temporary setback.
"The beginning of the season will come a lot quicker now. You hate to get hurt, but I'd rather it happen this week than next," Beckham said. "That's why we're taking seven days off.
"Matt Lindstrom just had something very similar, and from the looks of it, it's the exact same spot. Talking to him and telling him what my plan was, he felt confident. He's like, 'You should be fine.'
"Everybody's different, but I usually respond pretty well to this kind of stuff," Beckham said. "So I think if we're giving seven days off, I really feel like it will be gone. We won't know until it happens."