Gavin Floyd’s line isn’t pretty, but it still makes White Sox pitcher smile
BY CHRIS DE LUCA email@example.com March 10, 2013 10:50PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Only in spring training can this kind of line summon a smile: 31/3 innings, four runs, seven hits, five strikeouts and one walk.
White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd was trying to tell himself this was the regular season, but he was relieved to know better after his official Cactus League debut Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, an eventual 7-3 loss.
“It’s a great stride,” said Floyd, who allowed two hits in 22/3 scoreless innings Tuesday in an exhibition against Team USA. “I think I improved from the last start and actually went into the fourth inning, which I think is what we wanted to do. I felt like I made a good step forward.”
That’s Floyd’s mission after a roller-coaster season in 2012.
He was 4-7 with a 5.63 ERA after his first 13 starts, damaging his value on the trade market. But Floyd rebounded in the second half, going 8-4 with a 3.15 ERA in his last 16 starts.
That gave him double-digit victories for the fifth consecutive season, joining Justin Verlander, James Shields and Jered Weaver as the only other American League pitchers to do it over the same span.
Floyd’s biggest issue this camp is maintaining the right mind-set.
“I’m throwing my fastball, slider, sinker, curveball, change — I’m trying to make pitches and act like it’s a middle-of-the-season game,” he said. “I’m trying to get prepared for the season. They just got some good hits off me.
“It is a process of little things here and there. As soon as you can try to emulate a real game, the more prepared you are for the season.”
Right-handed reliever Jesse Crain threw about 30 pitches during a morning bullpen session and hopes to pitch in a minor-league game or have a longer bullpen session by midweek.
Crain, who was scheduled to pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic before being shelved last week because of a strained right adductor, said he ran out of gas when he reached 30 pitches but was pain-free.
“It was a step up from the last one,” said Crain, who threw for about 10 minutes Friday. “I was able to let it go a little more. See how I feel [Monday]. I could feel it at the end. I started getting a little tired. So I didn’t want to push it any further. Hopefully, that’s part of the process, and [Monday] we’ll see how it feels.”
Third baseman Conor Gillaspie was held up at third base in the sixth inning against the Reds, despite a fly to the outfield that would easily have allowed him to score.
Manager Robin Ventura’s painful history.
Ventura broke his leg during spring training in 1997 on a slide to home plate. The scene was so gruesome, a fan in the Sarasota, Fla., stands fainted. The injury limited Ventura to 54 games with the Sox that season.
“I’d rather not have some tight collisions at home plate,” Ventura said with a smile, “with my history.”