Tagged: Adrian Nieto
Sox Pick Up an Extra Catcher
A few days after trading Josh Phegley to the Oakland Athletics, the Sox pick up another catcher off the free agent market. A journeyman catch, George Kottaras has been with seven teams in seven seasons and now will be with his eighth according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Kottaras agreed to a minor league contract with the team and will be the fourth catcher appearing at spring training. Tyler Flowers and his backup, Adrian Nieto are already on the 40-man roster from 2014, but the Sox also claimed Rob Brantly off waivers from Miami and now have Kottaras, all to fight for the two spots on the 25-man rotation.
Kottaras brings some power, draws walks, but does strike out often. His strikes outs to walks ratio is almost two to one. Last season he played for three teams and had 14 strikes outs in 25 at-bats. If he’s on the roster going into the season, it’ll be as a body to be able to give Flowers a day off and occasionally provide a good at-bat.
Danks Solid, Offense Nonexistent in Friday’s Loss to Cubs
In a Friday afternoon matchup versus the crosstown rival Cubs, John Danks took on the challenge of trying to stop the White Sox streak of bad pitching performances.
After a couple of days of White Sox pitching getting crushed, Danks looked solid while taking the loss. Danks was decently efficient in his pitches, throwing 66 percent of them for strikes. Unfortunately for him, Luis Valbuena took one of his pitches deep in the top of the fourth for a three run home run to give the North Siders a 4-0 lead. Danks would end up leaving at the end of the fifth inning and finished with a stat line of four runs on six hits and two strike outs.
Danks has had a pretty efficient spring which is always good. He’s doing so by locating his pitches well, especially cut fastball pitch that he’s been working on which was very flat last season.
In an interview with WhiteSox.com, Danks had this to say, “I felt real good. I was able to throw all my pitches and I felt good about where I’m at.” Danks continued, “Obviously, there are a couple I would like to have back, but the goal today was not to walk anybody and I did that. I feel like I got my command better than what it has been and still got some good stuff on the ball.”
It would be helpful for the White Sox can go to battle with three efficient lefties at the top of their pitching rotation. Most teams have trouble finding and keeping two left-hand pitchers to fill out their rotations. The Sox are hoping that Danks could give them something substantial back on the three years at $14.25 million per year investment they have in him.
Luis Valbuena struck again in the seventh off of Scott Downs to make it 5-0. The Cubs would go on to add two more on a wild pitch in the seventh and a single in the ninth.
The Sox hitters seemed baffled by the Cubs pitching staff. Abreu, Dunn and Garcia had one hit each which was all the offense the White Sox could manage to produce.
The only note for the offensive side of the ball was catcher Tyler Flowers leaving the game in the bottom of the sixth after swinging at a pitch from Cubs reliever Alberto Cabrera with leg cramps. He would be replaced by pitch hitter Jaime Pedroza in the at-bat and by Adrian Nieto behind the plate on defense.
Next on the block was a split squad against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Offense and Relievers Carry the Sox Past Rangers
Sunday’s spring training game left a lot to be desired by starter Felipe Paulino, while the offense managed to get nine runs off Texas pitchers.
Newly acquired Paulino only lasted an inning and two thirds in his Sox debut. With 42 pitches thrown, he gave up four runs on eight hits. He also had a balk, walk and a strike out during his time on the mound.
Other pitchers of note from today’s game are: non-roster invitees David Purcey, Deunte Heath, Scott Snodgrass, and Zach Putnam who all held the Rangers hitless and off the scoreboard in relief. Purcey and Heath had three strike outs a piece.
Offensively the Sox managed 13 hits and had nine runs cross home plate. Mike McCade and Carlos Sanchez led the team with two hits each, and Tyler Flowers smashed a two run home run in the sixth inning.
In the ninth inning the Sox were able to get five runs across off Texas relievers. New comer Adrian Nieto and prospect Jared Mitchell were responsible for four runs on singles by both players. Carlos Sanchez had the game winning RBI on a single to left field scoring Leury Garcia from third.
Paul Konerko was held out of the game due to a stomach matter. Robin Ventura gave Adam Dunn the day off after a morning workout to accept a once in a lifetime invitation to the Oscars. Dunn decided that he would accept his opportunity today, and was given tomorrow off so he didn’t have to worry about getting back to the team in a hurry.
Next stop for the rest of the team on the road to the regular season is the Kansas City Royals at Camelback Ranch. The matchup has Jose Quintana going for the Sox versus Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals. First pitch is at 2:05pm CT.
Flowers Tapped as Starter for Friday’s Opener
One position that was a major issue for the White Sox in 2013 that wasn’t addressed in the offseason was catcher. The three catchers that played a most of the season combined for a .198 average.
Tyler Flowers, Josh Phegley, and Hector Gimenez started behind the plate in all but six games last season. There were rumors afloat in the off-season that the Sox were trying to trade for a catcher from the Tampa Bay Rays. Whether the talks fell through or the White Sox convinced themselves that Flowers or Phegley can rebound, those are the catchers they plan to start the season with.
On Saturday Manager Robin Ventura gave the fan base a hint as to which way he is leaning for a starting catcher. He announced that Tyler Flowers is going to start the first spring training game against the Dodgers on Friday.
“We know what we get with Tyler, and I like the way he calls games,” said Ventura Saturday.
Going into Flowers’ first season as a starter, pitchers complement him often on his size (giving pitchers a bigger target to throw to). They also bragged about how he called games as well. He proceeded to only hit for a .195 average, 10 home runs, and 94 strike outs. As a career .200 hitter, it doesn’t seem like Flowers will turn the offense around but will give a solid glove behind the plate. Hector Gimenez will likely start the season out with triple A Charlotte Knights.
The possible surprise in camp could be Rule 5 Draft pick Adrian Nieto. This is his first run through a major league training camp, but the 24 year-old switch hitting Cuban has to make the 25 man roster for the White Sox otherwise they will lose him back to the Nationals. In the Carolina League last season, Nieto hit .285, 11 home runs, and 82 strike outs in 390 at bats.
The career .254 minor league hitter, according to the Rule 5 Draft rules on MLB.com must stay on the 25 man roster the entire season. His biggest advantage, if he can hit like he did in the minors, is the fact he’s a switch hitter. It isn’t a secret that the Sox lack left handed hitters, so if he can provide any production from the left side it would a positive.
The catching position was pretty much a nightmare last season. It seems like the coaching staff is asking Tyler Flowers to lead the young catching crew into the 2014 season. The fan base is hoping that they can improve even a little compared to 2013 because it’d be hard to be worse.