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Since Kenny Williams has offered no comment on the Bartolo Colon situation (damn blogs), let’s enter Day 3 of John Danks discussion.
Here’s some good news — he is working on a cutter, and Josh Fields is impressed:
Pitcher John Danks pitched like, well, a rookie the second half of last season, but is poised to have a breakout year. Why?The southpaw has been working on a cutter similar to Buehrle’s since late last year, and now seems to have it mastered.Case in point: On Wednesday, facing live hitters, Danks squared off with spring roommate Josh Fields. “He keeps telling me about this cutter,’’ Fields said, before the showdown. After the seven-pitch at-bat, Fields seemed impressed. “Wow, I guess he wasn’t kidding,’’ Fields added. “It was nastier than advertised.’’
Fields can hit lefty fastballs as good as anybody on the Sox, so on one hand, his words are encouraging. On the other hand, I doubt he’s say something like, “I’ve seen better.”
Still, a cutter has allowed Buehrle to reduce the amount of solid contact off him, and he throws 3-5 m.p.h. slower than Danks. He could break some bats if he gets a hang of this pitch.
Jerry Owens has set his sights on 65 stolen bases, which I hope doesn’t have a chance of happening.
It’s certainly not unrealistic. He stole 32 bases last year in 398 plate appearances. If you extrapolate it to 675 — a number I kind of pulled out of my butt, but seems to be a good number for a guy batting leadoff around 150-55 games a year), that gives him 55 steals. Give him a little boost in his OBP and a better knowledge of how to run on major-league pitchers, and he could hit 65. It would require just about everything going right for him, but that’s why people set goals.
On the other hand, if Owens were to get 675 at-bats, that would mean that Carlos Quentin never factored into the equation, or somebody else got hurt. So for that reason, I’m going to be rooting against Owens as it stands. But if you want to prove me wrong by putting up a .400 OBP, Jerry, don’t let me stop you.
Speaking of the outfield, watching the videos on WhiteSox.com, Ozzie Guillen talked about how he might juggle the outfield with Owens, Quentin and Nick Swisher vying for playing time:
“The only [guy] going to play right field is J.D. Everybody else will be rotated.”
I doubt there’s anything that could change his mind.
Guillen also mentioned the outfielder time forgot, Brian Anderson, as a rotation candidate. Joe Cowley caught up with him, and true to form, his story included the word “honeys” three times in the first five grafs, which is just terrific.
Anderson, to his credit, said all the right things this time around. But for some reason, I found his quote at the end of Scott Merkin’s notes the most amusing:
“Recently, I was talking to my friend, Erin, back home, and she gave me a good piece of advice. Just go out and have fun.”
I don’t know why I laughed. I think it’s the odd attribution to a specific friend for a seemingly superficial saying.
Danny Richar’s first spring with the Sox is off to a rocky start — if you can call it a start. He’s having visa problems, and Ozzie and Kenny aren’t happy:
“Every year, we’ve got the same situation with Latin players,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a native Venezuelan. “I’m not happy about it. I know the situation is going to happen. I know it’s not easy coming to this country. But I think those problems should be resolved. I think they send the visa with enough time where you don’t have to be here late.”
Sox general manager Kenny Williams was asked if he was annoyed by Richar’s late arrival.
“Yes,” Williams said.
If it’s any comfort to Richar, visa delays didn’t stop Gustavo Molina from being completely terrible for the first two months of the season last year.
Did the Sox trade for Nick Swisher or Nick Swagger? Time for another edition of SwaggerWatch!
Merkin: “‘Why do you gotta say it like that?’ asked Swisher with a broad smile on his face, after a reporter inquired if he had that mean swagger Guillen sought.”
Scot Gregor: “‘I love playing the game, and if it comes off like that, hey, some people look at it like that,” Swisher said of his swagger.”
Teddy Greenstein: “‘He’s the perfect fit for our station,’ program director Mitch Rosen said. ‘He has Chicago swagger.'”
John Mutka: “Swisher brings a certain swagger to the South Side.”
AP: “Just two days ago Guillen said he wanted his players to be a little mean and to have a swagger about them after struggling to a 72-90 record a year ago. Swisher and Guillen could be a perfect combination.”
Cowley: “Swisher and Cabrera have some swagger to them. That’s something our team has lacked.” — Greg Walker. (Note: Article from January 24th — not sure how I missed that one).
Cowley also mentioned “swagger” in a blog item about Swisher, but what precedes it is gold:
Forget they fact that he’s single and has been known to refer to himself as “Swish-a-licious,’’ he also brings a swagger and cockiness with him that will instantly be embraced on the South Side.
“Swish-a-licious”? This is going to be awesome.
And while on the subject of Swagger, Flogging Molly calls tonight. If there’s no post Friday morning, that’s why.