GLENDALE, Ariz. – With a little more than a week before Opening Day, an uneasy vibe has crept into the White Sox camp, thanks to an unwanted collection of health concerns.
By themselves, none appears to be serious just yet. It’s the volume of far-reaching aches and pains that has manager Robin Ventura keeping his fingers crossed.
“Health is the first thing,’’ he said. “We need to get healthy first. And we want guys leaving here feeling ready to go.’’
Here’s who’s not ready to go right now:
* David Robertson. The new closer has been held back because of mild soreness in his forearm/elbow area. He threw lightly Saturday, though, and is expected to pitch Sunday, the first time since last Saturday.
* Jake Petricka. The right-handed setup man has been cautiously held back with a similar issue, but he’s not scheduled for his next game. Petricka threw lightly Saturday and said he plans on ramping it up in the next few days.
* Adam LaRoche. The DH-first baseman was out of the lineup, and Ventura was evasive about why. LaRoche has dealt with low back issues in the past, as well as this spring. “He’s had a couple things [during spring training] combined to put him, yeah, slow him down,’’ Ventura said.
* Conor Gillaspie. The third baseman developed plantar fasciitis in both feet during the offseason. The good news is it bothers him less than early in camp. The bad news is he expects to deal with it all season.
* Chris Sale. The Sox ace won’t face the Royals on Opening Day after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right foot in an accident at his home on Feb. 27. The good news is he is progressing and appears on target to miss only one start.
After Saturday’s game against the A’s, the Sox had five five games left in Arizona to get everyone pieced together. The way things have gone of late, Ventura must have breathed a sigh of relief when Billy Burns led off the game by smashing a line drive between Quintana’s head and glove for a single.
“You want to leave here healthy, winning some games and guys feeling good about it,’’ said Ventura, whose club plays its first 18 games against AL Central opponents.
Kyle Drabek hadn’t arrived as of Saturday morning after being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays and placed on the 40-man roster. Drabek, 27, spent most of last year with AAA Buffalo, posting a 4.18 ERA. He owns an 8-15 record and 5.27 ERA. The Sox have five days to look at him as a potential bullpen piece.
“We’re going to have to look really fast,’’ Ventura said.
Right-hander Daniel Webb, who spent all of 2014 in the majors, was optioned to AAA Charlotte after giving up 13 hits and eight walks in 9 1/3 innings this spring. Webb was 6-5 with a 3.99 ERA his rookie season. The Sox also reassigned lefthander Zach Phillips to minor league camp.
This and that
Alexei Ramirez (15 RBI) batted fifth Saturday and might get looks there this year in front of Avisail Garcia. He” been swinging it great,’’ Ventura said. “His patience has been good, too.”
* Ventura on Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija’s pitching line against the Cubs Friday (six innings, nine strikeouts, four walks): “That one we’re not going to worry about. He suffers from overconfidence, which is good. He’s right where he needs to be. He’s going to be fine.”