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White Sox' rotation ready, eager to get things rolling
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle pitches to the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a spring training baseball game Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz. Buehrle pitched five innings and gave up four hits. The White Sox won 2-0.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 4/1/2010 12:00 AM | Updated: 4/1/2010 12:03 AM

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The White Sox are ready to exit the desert.

"You can tell," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We've all been here a long time and everybody has gotten all their work in. It's time to start the season and get after it."

After playing an exhibition game against Class AAA Charlotte today and two more against the Braves in Atlanta Friday and Saturday, the Sox open the regular season against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

When camp opened, much of the talk centered on the Sox' starting rotation. Six weeks later, not much has changed.

"I don't know how you can't be excited about the rotation," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "From top to bottom, they all have a chance to be real good."

Let's review how the White Sox' starting five fared in the Cactus League:

Mark Buehrle. The left-hander usually gets rocked in spring training, but Buehrle was outstanding this year, going 1-3 with a minuscule 2.08 ERA.

"You want to work on things and get people out at the same time," said Buehrle, who opposes Cleveland's Jake Westbrook on Opening Day. "Going into the season it gives you a little extra confidence."

Jake Peavy. The Sox' No. 2 starter made only 3 Cactus League starts and also pitched a minor-league game. Peavy was good in the first two, but he allowed 7 runs on 10 hits over 3 innings against the Royals on March 22.

The right-hander threw all fastballs against Kansas City, a pitch he lost confidence in with the San Diego Padres last season. Peavy was roughed up again by the Cincinnati Reds' Class AAA team Saturday, but he heads into the season loaded with confidence.

"I feel strong and healthy," Peavy said. "You come to spring training and try and get through it healthy. You try to get better, but you just try and maintain your health. I haven't been to the training room one time other than maintenance work, and that's exciting for me. I'll take my chances when I'm healthy for an entire season."

Gavin Floyd. He is feeling good, too, after being shut down at the end of last season with a strained muscle near his hip. Floyd was so-so this spring, going 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 4 Cactus League starts.

The right-hander didn't throw many curveballs, which is his best pitch. But Floyd did have success with the fastball, as evidenced by his 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.

John Danks. He was good early, shaky in the middle and solid at the end.

Facing the Angels on Monday night, Danks allowed 3 runs on 7 hits over 52/3 innings, but he focused on the 7 strikeouts and no walks.

"I did everything I wanted to do," Danks said. "My changeup was as good as it's been in a long time and that's a pitch I lean on heavily. When the change is working, usually it correlates with me having some pretty good success."

Freddy Garcia. He's coming out of spring training with a healthy right shoulder, and that's the most important thing for Garcia.

The right-hander's confidence probably is a little shaky after another miserable outing in Wednesday's Cactus League loss to the Indians.

Garcia allowed 10 runs on 12 hits over 32/3 innings. In his last 3 exhibition starts, Garcia gave up 21 runs (20 earned) on 28 hits in 132/3 innings.