3/21/2014 8:41 P.M. ET
Flowers exits game early with leg cramps
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tyler Flowers left Friday's 7-0 loss to the Cubs in the middle of his sixth inning at-bat, exiting after swinging through a 1-1 pitch from reliever Alberto Cabrera.
The White Sox starting catcher has been diagnosed with leg cramps, according to the team.
"It didn't seem like he pulled anything. You just don't want to take chances so we took him out," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Flowers. "You could tell he did something on the earlier swing and he thought he could go through it. Right now I think it's a cramp."
Minor Leaguer Jaime Pedroza pinch-hit for Flowers, who was named the White Sox starting catcher last weekend. A lingering injury to Flowers could be a significant one, with the White Sox currently only having Rule 5 selection Adrian Nieto and non-roster invite Hector Gimenez in camp. Josh Phegley was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday.
First baseman Jose Abreu also left after two at-bats to ice a left ankle that he has played through but has bothered him for two weeks.
After Chapman's injury, Danks shares similar story
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks never saw the Stephen Drew line drive that hit him squarely in the back of the head during a game against Arizona on June 18, 2011.
Danks was struck in the fourth inning but stayed in to pitch seven, joking that he had a record well under .500 at the time, the White Sox were winning and he wasn't going anywhere. The left-handed hurler, who worked five innings during Friday's 7-0 loss to the Cubs, also realizes that his line-drive encounter wasn't as bad as the Salvador Perez shot Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took to the face Wednesday night during Cactus League action.
But he also believes it's a sometimes unavoidable hazard of the game for pitchers.
"It's unfortunate and we wish him well," Danks said of Chapman. "I was lucky to not catch it in the front of my face. It's hard to watch certainly, but I think it's part of it. We just have to do a better job of protecting ourselves."
With Chapman throwing close to 100 mph, the ball came back at him with even greater force. Danks mentioned with a smile that he didn't have that same issue in his situation, not throwing nearly as hard.
"I had plenty of time to get out of the way of mine," Danks said. "It's part of it and it's unfortunate it happens. I'm sure Salvador Perez feels awful and certainly wasn't trying to hit him."
In his next start after being struck, Danks said that he was pitching like a slow-pitch softball hurler in that he was throwing the ball and backing up as he was letting go. But Danks worked through the moment of lingering fear.
"You just have to get through it," Danks said. "His is way worse than what mine was. So it's easier said than done. It's a tough deal."
Lindstrom makes Cactus League debut
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Lindstrom threw one scoreless inning of relief Saturday during the White Sox 7-0 loss to the Cubs at Camelback Ranch, marking his 2014 Cactus League debut. The right-handed reliever was scratched from the opener on Feb. 28 with a left oblique strain and has been working his way back.
"No ill effects," said Lindstrom of his 13-pitch effort with one strikeout. "I can deal with soreness, and a little bit of weakness or whatever, but for the most part, the fastball command was good."
Lindstrom is scheduled to pitch again Sunday and pretty much every other day until the end of camp. He's not worried about bouncing back Saturday and actually felt good about a few cutters he threw, which is a pitch he worked on in the offseason.
"I didn't feel really anything, and I'm excited to make my next appearance on Sunday," Lindstrom said. "I threw some good off-speed pitches, and I threw a couple of [lousy] ones. I just need to keep getting better at that.
"It was fun feeling the adrenaline out there and having guys behind me. I got some ground balls, and that's the kind of pitcher I am, so everything's good."
Lindstrom was scheduled to throw Tuesday, but wanted to take a couple of more days to mentally know he was ready to return.
Quintana focused on what's next, not the past
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Facing nine Oakland batters and having all nine reach base via seven hits and two walks in Tuesday's start didn't exactly shake the confidence of Jose Quintana. After all, these Cactus League efforts don't exactly count against Quintana's career statistics.
"It's Spring Training, but I need to focus on keeping the ball down," Quintana said. "I need to continue my preparation.
"I forget that one. I think next, next, you know. But I'm focusing on some mistakes so they won't happen in the future."
During a side session after the start, pitching coach Don Cooper pointed out to Quintana that his release point was a little too high. That problem made it especially tough for his cutter to be effective, according to Quintana, who has allowed 20 runs on 17 hits and seven walks over six innings covering four starts.
One point Quintana made clear is that he feels healthy, with no side effects from a Gerardo Parra line drive he took off of his left shin on March 8.
Keppinger likely to start season on disabled list
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The impingement in Jeff Keppinger's throwing shoulder all but officially will put him on the disabled list to start the 2014 season, as the White Sox infielder explained Friday morning.
"It seems like a no-brainer to me," Keppinger said.
Keppinger has played in just six Cactus League games at designated hitter, basically because the pain only comes when he tries to throw the baseball. It's a necessary skill needed for a player the White Sox envisioned helping them this season from third to first.
Test throwing took place on Tuesday for Keppinger and while he characterized it as fine, Keppinger only threw at 50 percent. The next day he was experiencing pain.
"Sharp pain," Keppinger said. "The doctor that did my surgery is here now, so we're seeing if he knows why it's happening. I'm doing all the right things, but it's just a matter of time of body and mind, I guess. I don't know.
"I get pinching in the back when my arm goes back hard and I'm trying to put more on the ball. I can't come forward because it hurts so bad. If I just sit there and throw soft, I don't feel anything. But as soon as I try to put five or 10 percent more on it, it bites sharp like a stabbing pain.
"Even in my rehab in the offseason, I have never made it past 90 feet throwing," Keppinger said. "I've got to get it to where its pain-free first and then I can start trying to back it up from there. But the strength is there and the flexibility is there. I have to get rid of the pain somehow."
A Spring Training MRI confirmed what Keppinger knew from last year -- the rotator cut and labrum are fine and structurally everything is good. But his shoulder is pulling forward and causing his shoulder to pinch when it comes back down every time.
"Until my body wants to adjust and get right, I guess I'm going to keep doing it," Keppinger said.
Marcus Semien appears to be the next man in line on the roster with Keppinger out of action, although Leury Garcia, Alex Liddi and Matt Davidson also are in the mix. The White Sox won't rush Davidson, their third baseman of the future, and need more versatility out of this roster spot that the other three players provide.
Another spot could open if Gordon Beckham and his strained left oblique are not ready to break camp. Meanwhile, Keppinger remains frustrated after having a surgical procedure in late September that he thought would fix the issue.
"I was really hoping to come in this year and be pain-free and be able to play," Keppinger said. "Now, here I am looking at basically staying here while the team leaves. I didn't really play in many games, DH'd when I did. It's tough."
Beckham still confident he'll play on Opening Day
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The seven days of inactivity for Gordon Beckham due to a strained left oblique ends on Saturday. And while Beckham doesn't have much to report until he swings the bat, the White Sox second baseman still believes he'll play on Opening Day.
"I don't think that's in question. I think I will be fine, I would say," Beckham said. "I know I haven't swung yet, but I can tell my body feels a lot better.
"I'm still doing rehab today, and then tomorrow I'm still getting moving around a little bit. But there's not much to report. I haven't tested it out. I haven't swung at all."
Beckham is not in any sort of pain, although there's still some soreness in the area. He believes that particular soreness is from scar tissue and will break up once he starts moving around.
"We'll see what happens when I start moving around," Beckham said.
While Beckham wants to test his oblique Saturday, manager Robin Ventura mentioned postgame Friday that White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider would probably hold him out until Monday.
• Bob Knight, Tony LaRussa and Rafael Palmeiro all were in attendance at Camelback Ranch on Friday, with Knight speaking to the White Sox players and coaches in the home clubhouse a few hours before their Cactus League contest against the Cubs. Palmeiro's son, Patrick, is an infielder in the White Sox Minor League system and working out on the Minor League side.
• Chris Sale tossed seven innings and 100 pitches during a simulated game on Thursday's team off-day. Sale will pitch Tuesday at home against the A's, before making his second straight Opening Day start on March 31 in Chicago against the Twins.
• Nate Jones threw two innings and 40 pitches in a Thursday simulated game. Daniel Webb did the same.