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WSI News - News Watch

Rauch on team despite rough spring

March 31st, from the Daily Herald; Scot Gregor

Jon Rauch probably looked at his spring numbers after Saturday's sluggish start against the Brewers.

"I haven't made the team yet,'' he said. "I'm going to wait until April 1 before I talk about that.''

That's two days away. But for the record, Rauch is the White Sox' fifth starter despite posting an 0-1 record and 9.92 ERA in exhibition play.

In his final spring tune-up, the 6-foot-11 right-hander pitched 1 innings against Milwaukee and allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks.

Regardless, manager Jerry Manuel plans on starting the heralded rookie at Detroit on April 9.

"His start would have been no more than 2 innings today, regardless,'' Manuel said. "He might have been a little nervous, being out of Arizona and in a (major-league) stadium. He might have had some anxiety, but I think he'll be OK.''

At least until injured starter Jim Parque is ready to return from his rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Charlotte.

To his credit, Rauch isn't taking his golden opportunity for granted.

"I probably set higher standards for myself than anybody else,'' Rauch said. "Obviously, I didn't meet them today. I'm glad I'm here. Now, I have to work on staying here. If I keep doing what I did today, it's not going to happen.''

Swing away: Led by another strong performance from Ray Durham, the White Sox pounded out 16 hits and buried the Brewers 12-6 at Miller Park on Saturday.

Durham, adjusting nicely to the No. 2 spot in the lineup behind new leadoff man Kenny Lofton, went 3-for-3 and drove in 4 runs against Milwaukee.

Durham cracked a 2-run homer (No. 5) off Jamey Wright in the first inning. With one exhibition game left, the Sox' second baseman is batting .358 and has driven in 22 runs this spring.

"If Kenny stays the way he is, Ray is going to have a monster year,'' said catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. "Ray loves where he's at now, hitting second.''

Jose Valentin (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Royce Clayton (3-for-5, RBI) also sparked the Sox' attack Saturday.

"We feel we have a good offensive club,'' said manager Jerry Manuel. "Most of the players have a history of hitting.''

No bull: After Jon Rauch and Mitch Wylie yielded 6 runs to the Brewers over the first four innings Saturday, Sox relievers Damaso Marte, Ryan Kohlmeier, Mike Porzio, Bob Howry and Keith Foulke combined to shut out Milwaukee on 1 hit over the final five innings.

"The bullpen was pretty good today,'' said manager Jerry Manuel. "Marte was good for a second time and that's a good thing.''

Marte, acquired in a trade from the Pirates on Wednesday, pitched 2 scoreless innings against the Brewers in the two-game exhibition series.


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