Hot Conor: White Sox 3B Gillaspie goes 2-for-3, drives in 4 runs
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago White Sox's Jeff Keppinger, left, talks with Brent Morel during a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Somewhere, general manager Rick Hahn was feeling good about his most recent trade.
Recently acquired third baseman Conor Gillaspie singled in two runs with an opposite-field hit to left and pulled a triple into the right-field corner Tuesday.
“A good, short swing,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s got a little pop, too.’’
Brent Morel made the best defensive play of the game, diving to his right and throwing out Juan Apodaca.
“Well, there’s competition for [a roster spot],’’ Ventura said. “The perception before was that we didn’t really have anybody for that spot. But I’m pleased with what we got going right now with that and how they compete for it.’’
Likely starter Jeff Keppinger was held out again with a stiff throwing shoulder and is still a few days away from playing third, Ventura said.
Good outing for Danks
John Danks threw his third live batting-practice session, featuring two sets of 25 pitches, and will throw a bullpen session Monday as a tuneup for his first Cactus League start March 4.
Danks, the White Sox’ 2012 Opening Day starter who missed most of the season because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, worked mainly on his cut fastball.
“We were a lot more focused on the breaking ball, the cutter especially,’’ Danks said. “And it’s still got a ways to go, but it’s coming. Other than that, I felt good. I feel like I’m getting more behind the ball each time out.’’
The main thing is Danks’ health, and “we all kind of agree I’m ready to move on and start concentrating on pitching and a little less about my shoulder,’’ he said. “We’re pretty confident that’s behind us and we can just work to build arm strength and get a little more consistent in my delivery.”
Nestor Molina started against the Rangers and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Molina was hit fairly hard but didn’t allow a walk. Control is Molina’s calling card.
Rated by one publication before the 2012 season as the No. 2 prospect in the organization after the Sox acquired him for Sergio Santos, Molina fell on hard times with a sore right elbow and triceps.
Molina said he hadn’t dealt with elbow problems, so he tried to pitch through it and went 6-10 with a 4.26 ERA at Class AA Birmingham. He got roughed up in his one game at Class AAA Charlotte.
“I feel healthy now, and that’s what counts,’’ Molina said.
Loman on totem pole
Seth Loman was given another look, starting at designated hitter after jacking two long home runs in the Sox’ first three games. No homers to report, as Loman was 0-for-3 with an RBI grounder.
“I’m just trying to keep it simple, trying to stay real silent up there and start early. Real basic stuff,’’ said Loman, 27, a 6-4, 245-pound former Independent League player who was drafted by the Angels in the 47th round in 2005.
Loman has averaged 20 homers between Class A and AA since the Sox signed him as a free agent in 2009.