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Improved slider ratchets up Addison Reed’s effectiveness

White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale works first inning Chicago White Sox 4-3 extrinning wover Seattle Mariners Sunday April 7

White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale works in the first inning of the Chicago White Sox 4-3 extra inning win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday April 7, 2013 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 7, 2013 11:12PM



Addison Reed was good enough to get 29 saves in 33 chances as a rookie, but he wasn’t good enough.

Not in his opinion, anyway.

So Reed went back to the drawing board during the offseason, vowing to figure out a way to make his slider more effective. He worked on it in spring training and in his first four games has featured it prominently.

“That’s a pitch that I’m going to use a lot more this season,’’ said Reed, who pitched the 10th inning to earn his first win after nailing down his second 1-2-3 save Saturday to preserve Dylan Axelrod’s victory. “I worked on it so much during the offseason, and spring training, too.’’

Pitching on consecutive days and for the fourth time in the Sox’ six games, Reed’s fastball sat around 91-92 mph, a bit slower than normal, but he threw one past Michael Morse for the third out in the 10th with two runners on.

Call it

Tyler Flowers’ collision with first baseman Adam Dunn on Franklin Gutierrez’s foul pop in the 10th inning — Dunn caught the ball but took a hit from Flowers — was the latest in a rash of miscommunications, or no communications, on pop-ups and fly balls. Matt Thornton has had one with Conor Gillaspie, and Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo have had more than one.

“My job is to keep going until someone calls me off,’’ Flowers said. “I’m not going to let that drop in. Adam and I discussed it. It’s over and done with.’’

Manager Robin Ventura covered his players publicly by suggesting crowd noise might have been a factor before adding, “That’ll get taken care of the next time we meet.’’

“I’m sure it’s something we’ll address to make sure everybody is screaming that they have it,’’ Flowers said.

Rotation switch

Starters Axelrod and Jose Quintana will flip-flop in the rotation, Axelrod moving up to face the Nationals on Thursday and Quintana facing the Indians on Friday. Quintana has a 1.46 ERA over 121/3 innings against the Indians, whom he would face again April 22 at home because of the change.

Notes

Alex Rios’ homer gave him three in consecutive days for the first time in his career. On Saturday, he became the fifth player and first since 2008 to homer off Felix Hernandez on an 0-2 count.

◆ Adam Dunn will play left field in one game against the Nationals in the upcoming interleague series in Washington.

◆ Dunn’s homer was the 408th of his career, passing Duke Snider on the all-time list.

◆ The usually cold-starting Ramirez has hit safely in five of the Sox’ six games.



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