3/27/2014 6:54 P.M. ET
White Sox moves earning praise around league
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- A true test of the White Sox's reshaping won't really take place until well into the 2014 campaign. But buzz from others around Major League Baseball seems to indicate the White Sox have moved in the right direction.
"We are starting to now hear from other teams, and other scouts, saying, 'Whoa, nice job guys,'" said White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams of the team's high energy youth movement. "That's kind of gratifying too to hear from your peers and people you trust."
Changing the roster and making this kind of move had been talked about yearly, but always was topped by the win-now mode. The 2013 results altered the team's focus.
"Having the [struggle] that was the 2013 season allowed us to do some of what we had always kind of planned for," Williams said. "We are extremely pleased to be able to watch as much young talent as we have.
"I certainly applaud our Major League scouts and professional scouts, our amateur scouts. Rick [general manager Hahn] has tried to uncover every possible rock to find the most talent that we can. I enjoy it because I get to now focus on what I like to do, and that's the personnel side of things."
Manager Robin Ventura has seen first-hand the fun and energy that comes with a younger team during this Spring Training.
"There are guys trying to prove themselves and show they belong here and make a career out of it and stay a long time," Ventura said. "There's a certain amount of excitement with that.
"It's different that they're younger. There's more teaching going on and conversations you don't necessarily have to have with older guys. But it's still fun."
Going through this reshaping process does not change the ultimate measure for success in Ventura's mind.
"You have to win games and that's the name of the game," Ventura said. "There's a little bit of patience and there's the other side too.
"They have to understand what it is. It is a business and a job and everything that goes with it. It can be fun. But you've gotta get your work in and do it right."
Guerra waiting to learn decision on roster
MESA, Ariz. -- Javy Guerra currently resides on the White Sox 40-man roster. Whether the right-hander is part of the team's 25-man active roster won't be known until Sunday, when rosters have to be set.
Guerra, 28, was picked up off of waivers from the Dodgers on Wednesday, but was not in the clubhouse Thursday morning. General manager Rick Hahn used the word "potentially" three times in his Wednesday comments describing Guerra's fit, his high-leverage arm and as a sinker/slider guy who perhaps profiles nicely at U.S. Cellular Field with some adjustments.
Hahn also cautioned not to read too much into the timing of the move and assume it means something will happen Sunday.
So how does this situation affect the White Sox roster decision? It seems to be a good sign for rookie reliever Daniel Webb, who still could break camp as the seventh and final man out of the bullpen.
Webb, 24, definitely profiles positively for hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular with the heavy ball that he throws. The right-hander posted a 3.18 ERA over nine appearances with the White Sox last year, after producing a 1.87 ERA in 42 Minor League games and 78 strikeouts over 62 2/3 innings between stops at Class A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.
"I can pitch to contact and with a heavy ball, it doesn't come off the bat near as well sometimes," Webb said of his style. "My biggest thing last year and this spring is commanding my offspeed stuff and that's still coming along good. Hopefully it keeps going.
"Pitch to contact. Hopefully they hit a ground ball and get a quick easy out."
Although Webb remains on the roster bubble, he also has been discussed as a possible closing option. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper likens him to Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Hector Santiago when they were first coming up.
"We see a good live arm. We like the way he handles himself," said Cooper of Webb. "He's not afraid. He's got a good fastball, a good breaking ball and a good changeup that we are searching for more quality pitches and strikes with each one of those that he has."
Semien earns starting nod at second base
MESA, Ariz. -- Marcus Semien set a number of goals to fulfill during the 2014 season. He hit on the first one by breaking camp with the team and starting at second base on Opening Day at home against the Twins on Monday.
"The next one will be trying to do everything I can to be a part of this team for a long time," Semien said.
Semien will take over for Gordon Beckham, who all but certainly will start on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique. Beckham is eligible to return on April 5, with Semien most likely moving to a utility role.
That switch presents a part-time playing challenge for the 23-year-old, who has started in his three previous Minor League seasons. But it's one where Semien already has mapped out a plan.
"You have to prepare yourself every day to be ready for any situation," Semien said. "That means in BP, you have to put yourself in some game situations. Work hard defensively at all three positions. Watch a lot of video [of pitchers]. It's a lot of mental preparation and watching from the sidelines.
"I've been watching Gordon in BP and he's getting better every day swinging the bat. He's actually swinging the bat really well. I know he's progressing well. I know once he comes back, that's his spot. He's the second baseman here in Chicago. I'm filling in. I don't know what's going to happen once he comes back. I'll be prepared for anything."
Third to first
• The White Sox finished 0-for-3 in Cactus League replay challenges, after a seventh-inning out call on an Alexei Ramirez slow roller to third was confirmed during Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs. The close play at first ended the inning and was upheld after Ventura's appeal.
• Felipe Paulino, who tuned up for the regular season with four innings Thursday, is excited to make his first regular season start since June, '12 Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I'm really, really blessed. I'm happy for that," said Paulino, who was sidelined by ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery and a cyst on his right shoulder. "My last year and a half, I've been working on my rehab. I'm here. It's a lot of hard work paying off in the end."
• Pitchers Jose Quintana and Erik Johnson and backup catcher Adrian Nieto stayed back in Arizona to get their work during Minor League games while the team is in Birmingham. They will all rejoin the team for Opening Day.
Beckham and Jeff Keppinger, who will start the 2014 season on the disabled list, also stayed back in Arizona. They will not be part of Opening Day festivities in Chicago.
• Adam Eaton reached base in 16 of his 19 Cactus League games this spring.
• In Minor League moves announced Thursday, OF Jared Mitchell was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte and LHP Frank De Los Santos and RHP Nestor Molina to Double-A Birmingham from Charlotte.
• Adam Dunn was scratched from Thursday's Cactus League finale against the Cubs with an upset stomach, although he did pinch-hit in the seventh and hit his first spring homer in the ninth.