White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd looking to pick up where he left off last season
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 21, 2013 11:14PM
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:35AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd hated to see the 2012 season end.
Things were clicking for him as they hadn’t been in a long time. A small adjustment in his delivery added life to his pitches and helped his command.
Floyd held on tight to that good feeling during the offseason.
‘‘You try to re-create it; you know what those feelings are,’’ Floyd said Thursday. ‘‘I’m pretty close to where I was [late last season], just repeating the technique and trying to get better at it.’’
Floyd failed to make 30 starts last season for the first time since 2007 because of two stints on the disabled list, the first trips of his career to the DL. He finished 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA, reaching double digits in victories for the fifth consecutive season.
Say what you will about the value of victories, but Justin Verlander, James Shields and Jered Weaver are the only American League pitchers besides Floyd to win 10 games or more in each of the last five seasons.
In one of those, Floyd had a 3.84 ERA. That came in his first full
season with the Sox in 2008, when he won a career-high 17 games.
Floyd rediscovered some of that 2008 mojo after his second DL stint. On a tip from bench coach Mark
Parent, he broke his hands from his glove sooner, which got his arm going forward sooner in his delivery. The results were noticeable.
‘‘Control-wise and the way he felt was different,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He had confidence when he went out there that he could put [the ball] where he wanted to. A guy with his stuff that does that, you want that to start out in the beginning of the year, rather than figure it out middle to late.’’
In his five starts in September and October, Floyd was 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA. He struck out 30 and walked 10 in 292/3 innings during that span.
During the offseason and in camp, Floyd has picked up where he left off.
‘‘It feels good,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel I’m getting on top of the ball a lot more. It feels better, more natural, and I’m more out in front of everything, not being back and fighting myself.’’
Depending on what left-hander John Danks’ health status is when the season opens, Floyd figures to line up third or fourth in a rotation the Sox are calling their calling card, with left-hander Chris Sale, right-hander Jake Peavy, Danks, Floyd and left-hander Jose Quintana.
‘‘All of us can be top-of-the-rotation guys,’’ Floyd said. ‘‘Our rotation has depth. Every day you go out there, that person is our
No. 1; he’s our guy. It doesn’t matter one through five.’’
‘‘You see the guys last year were young and assume Sale and Quintana get better,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We still have Peavy and Gavin as quality guys who will give you innings. And John is kind of the wild card in the whole thing. You get a guy who starts the year out as your Opening Day starter and lose him for most of the year, you would expect him to be a big addition. Kind of like getting a free agent.’’
The Sox picked up the option on Floyd’s contract for this season on the same day they announced Peavy’s contract extension. Floyd will be eligible for free agency after the season, and his name will come up in trade rumors if the Sox aren’t in the AL Central race when the trade deadline approaches. Floyd has become used to that.
‘‘There’s always ups and downs to that,’’ he said. ‘‘At first, I paid a lot of attention to it because you’re
human and you want to know where you’re going. But it’s out of your control. I just pray about it to have peace and be content wherever I am — in baseball or out of baseball or with another team.’’