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Cubs 9, White Sox 2: game notes from Mesa

Jason Hammel

MESA, Ariz. — Before the night shift clocked in for a split-squad game against the Dodgers in Glendale, Jason Hammel and a lineup that included four hitters on the projected opening day roster routed the White Sox 9-2 in the home half of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader.

Hammel time is now?

Starter Jason Hammel said his biggest takeaway from a scoreless four-inning start (that was scheduled for three) was that the off-season overhaul he underwent physically and in his approach to the season is paying off.

“That’s what I felt the most today,” said Hammel, who gave up only a double in the first and single in the third. “I was delivering the pitch with my legs, not the arm. It was a lot more effortless. So I know the fastball command will get even better. It was good, but it can get better.”

Hammel, whose rough second half last year was impacted by lingering effects of a July 8 injury to his landing leg, relies heavily on the strength of that leg for his effectiveness.

North Side hit men

The Cubs peppered Sox pitching with a spring-high 16 hits, including four by outfield prospect John Andreoli, a 17th-round pick from the 2011 draft, who has quietly put together a solid all-around camp so far.

His four hits included a bunt single on a squeeze play, a triple to center and a line drive off pitcher Jake Petricka’s arm.

Dexter Fowler (second-inning homer), Jeimer Candelario and Munenori Kawasaki each had two hits.

Put me in, coach

Outfield prospect Albert Almora was back in Saturday night’s lineup, three days after leaving a practice field with back spasms.

He said about an hour after he left the field that the pain subsided quickly and he felt he could have played if necessary that day.

On deck

Cubs at Athletics (HoHoKam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz.), 3:05 p.m., 670-AM, Kyle Hendricks vs. Jesse Hahn.