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WSI News - News Watch

No middle-of-the-road spring stats for Sox

March 20, 2002

By Doug Padilla, Chicago Sun-Times

TUCSON, Ariz.--The White Sox are shaping up as a team that will take it, then turn around and give it right back.

Right now, nobody in the American League can compare to the Sox in hitting, and nobody wants to have their struggling pitching.

The Sox were batting .348 as a team heading into Tuesday's games--40 points higher than the Texas Rangers, who were second. Their 152 RBI were 21 more than the closest team, the Anaheim Angels.

Conversely, their 7.60 team ERA easily was the worst in the league, far off the Toronto Blue Jays' AL-leading 3.40.

"We're swinging the bat as a team, and we have to continue that,'' Frank Thomas said.

Manager Jerry Manuel has said the wind, light air and hard field conditions at Tucson Electric Park contribute to inflated offensive numbers, but he does see some things that should carry over into the regular season.

"You have to assume there won't be as many runs,'' Manuel said. "With [Kenny] Lofton bunting and getting on base, you'll see us have a chance to score runs without the benefit of the kind of home runs you get in Arizona.''

SORE FEELINGS: Magglio Ordonez had a bone scan on his sore left hand that came up negative.

Ordonez injured the hand last week in a game vs. the Seattle Mariners when he checked his swing. He has been trying to play through the pain and even went 1-for-2 with a three-run homer Monday vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"He's been hitting the ball too hard, seriously,'' Manuel said. "He has small hands, but they're strong. He always gets sore hands during the season.''

ROYCE ROLLS: Royce Clayton doesn't want to make a big issue about his 14-game Cactus League hitting streak. Clayton has hit in every game he has played this spring and has a .333 average.

"You can't get too concerned with the results, good or bad,'' Clayton said. "I have a real good feeling right now, and I just want to keep building on that, get more confidence and be even more consistent.''

B SIDE: Jon Garland, who is the Sox' probable No. 4 starter, went six innings in a B game against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. Garland gave up four runs and eight hits, including three home runs.

The Rockies' Todd Hollands-worth, who is trying to get in some extra playing time as he works to return from an injury, led off every inning against Garland and had one of the home runs.

"Besides that, it felt like a regular game,'' Garland said of his six matchups with Hollandsworth, who went 3-for-6.

"I felt real good. I was going after guys and attacking. I felt happy with all of my pitches.''



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