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Tuesday will be the most important day of the 2010 season. So far.
That’s when Jared Mitchell will undergo surgery on a torn ankle tendon, which he suffered while making a great catch against the wall during split-squad action in Tempe on Friday. The initial impression is that he’s done for the year, although if it’s just the tendon, an August return might not be out of the question.
Phil Rogers is already preparing for the worst:
A walk later, Mitchell broke for third on the front end of a double steal. He dove toward the bag, reaching for it with an outstretched hand, and beat the throw from Brad Ausmus by a fingernail.
Exciting play. Exciting player.
It’s going to be awhile, if ever, before we see that from Mitchell again.
But seriously, he does have a point in the final graf, when he says Mitchell’s injury could have been prevented had the Sox not sent a squad up to Las Vegas for what he called a “cash grab” with the Cubs, as he was already re-assigned to minor league camp.
That’s a valid concern, although Rogers has a habit of taking Sox prospects’ hardships rather personally. Also, it puts Dayan Viciedo’s jog to first in a different light. Not that running to first and crashing into a wall pose the same health risks, but there is some value in taking it easier when the games don’t count.
Our hero, ladies and gentlemen:
Last discussion, chisoxt asked a question that’s pertinent to today:
Some of Hahn’s other comments smack of the ‘we can fix him’ category, whether it’s the magic of Don Cooper’s wisdom, the friendly confines of the Cell, or the environment of being on a winning team. granted, we have had success with this in the past with Floyd and Thorton, but do we rely on this strategy too much?
Keep that in mind for the next two points in what’s turning out to be a pretty lengthy post.
*Don Cooper as career savior: Mark Gonzales highlights Sergio Santos’ and Erick Threets’ encouraging performances thus far, and Cooper’s role in resurrecting them. Mike MacDougal could not be reached for comment.
That’s nothing against Santos and Threets. Santos has been especially impressive considering he’s still a greenhorn. Threets is more of a Tony Randall, but he’s three years younger than Matt Thornton was when he joined the Sox. That he’s walked just one batter over 4 1/3 innings is a “so far, so good” development.
On the other hand, they’re just the latest in the long line of Coop’ll-fix-ems. Look at Daniel Cabrera, whose name is also dropped in the above article. He was barely passable when he threw 98 several years ago. Last year, his average fastball couldn’t quite reach 91, and his strikeout rate was neighbors with Jon Garland’s.
Still, the specter of Cooper was enough for Cabrera to get headline treatment, and for some to consider him “in play” for the bullpen.
So what’s happened? Well, even though A.J. Pierzynski can attest to the fact that Cabrera can throw 97, he’s barely hitting 90 on the radar gun. As a result, he’s allowed seven runs and 12 baserunners over three innings. Bad pitcher is bad: Film at 11.
Cabrera has worse stuff than Ryan Bukvich, who was a non-roster invitee in 2007 and would have been a valuable member of the Charlotte Knights’ bullpen had the Sox not exhausted every other option. That should be the attitude from here on out. Every pitcher with an underwhelming/disappointing/flat-out awful track record is Bukvich until proven otherwise, over several weeks, not several innings. Santos is a great story, and there’s plenty of material without already designating him for the same career path as the Aardsmas, Massets and Siscos, previous power arms the Almighty Coop doth forsaken.
*Mark Teahen isn’t inspiring much confidence, either. He had a day to forget against the Cubs on Saturday — a meek flyout, a jamshot groundout, and a tailor-made double-play ball — dropping him to 2-for-19 with no walks and five strikeouts this spring.
Teahen’s not worried yet; Ozzie Guillen isn’t panicking, but wants to get him more at-bats.
Greg Walker? He might be trying to kill Teahen’s career:
Guillen talked about adjustments made in Teahen’s stance through the guidance of hitting coach Greg Walker, but he added how Teahen just doesn’t look comfortable.
I’ve vacillated fairly wildly on Teahen thus far, starting by tagging him a dangerous brand of mediocre, and then feeling optimistic that he’ll be a welcome presence on the South Side, due in large part to his good-natured Twitter account. I believe I’ve settled on the idea that he’s going to be the player we’ll hate to hate, and he’s on that trajectory.
Tracking Teahen will require some exceptional patience, because it’s going to be so easy to hit the jolly, CANDY-LIKE button, considering the White Sox front office is projecting his stats to go in the opposite direction of his strike-zone judgment numbers. Anything he could do to make it easier would be just terrific.
Reactions from Saturday’s broadcast, an 8-7 loss to the Cubs:
*Lucas Harrell probably won’t amount to much, because his checkered health history exacerbates his performance concerns. But he showed why the Sox have stashed him on the 40-man roster for a couple of years now with his decent four innings.
On a day when the windy conditions made groundouts the weapon of choice, Harrell got nine of them to just one flyout. He’s a sinkerballer in a system with a lot of two-seam poseurs. Guys like Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert and Justin Cassel throw decent two-seamers, but when they hit Triple-A and faced the good fastball hitters, their home-run rates spiked. Harrell was able to maintain his good groundball rate (57 percent) during the jump from Birmingham to Charlotte.
His issues did surface during the second inning, when he fell behind hitters and had to come back with fatter pitches. He doesn’t miss many bats even when he’s on, so he can’t afford 2-0 and 3-1 counts, when hitters are only looking for pitches up. He did shake off the three-run second by coming back with two scoreless innings. At the very least, he handily outperformed…
*…Jeff Marquez, whose universally acclaimed power sinker was good for just two groundouts over 3 1/3 innings.
His outing started with a four-pitch walk, and it ended with four straight batters reaching base. In the middle, he got a lot of medium-range flyouts, but that’s not supposed to be his game.
(Speaking of Marquez, a tip for White Sox Outsider 2010 (BUY IT!) owners: Page 81 has the most biting line in the book.)