White Sox notes: Danks, shifting, lineup, final roster moves
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SAN DIEGO — In his final tuneup before he starts the White Sox home opener Friday against the Cleveland Indians, left-hander John Danks was about as good as he’s been this spring.
Danks went five innings and allowed two runs in a 10-2 exhibition game victory over the San Diego Padres Saturday afternoon at Petco Park.
Danks gave up six hits — including two infield singles in the first inning, and no walks. He struck out two on a light pitch-count day — 58 pitches, including 42 for strikes.
“This was the best Johnny has looked as far as composure, control, and having separation on fastball and his changeup,’’ manager Robin Ventura said before the Sox boarded a plane for the Bay Area in advance of their season opener against the Oakland Athletics Monday night.
Danks was 5-2 with a 5.40 ERA in seven starts this spring.
“I really couldn’t be more happy about how it went [Saturday],’’ he said. “There were a couple of broken bat hits and the rest were ground balls outside of [one]. Throwing strikes, making them hit the ball on the ground. I’ll take my chances with that.’’
Roster set, officially
Four expected roster moves were made to set the Opening Day roster: Right-hander Phillippe Aumont, infielder Travis Ishikawa, outfielder Jacob May and catcher Hector Sanchez were reassigned to minor-league camp.
More shifting for Sox
The Sox implemented more defensive shifting this spring than they did during the 2015 regular season, and may even bump it up a notch this regular season, coach Joe McEwing said.
“With the information we got, we’re going to increase it depending on who’s pitching and who’s at the plate, pitchers’ tendencies and velocity,’’ McEwing said.
Shifts go beyond data, though, because some hitters try to adjust while others don’t, McEwing said.
“That’s the biggest thing, the eye test,’’ McEwing said. “Some guys try to beat it, others stay within themselves and their game plan. If we see guys adjusting, we’ll adjust also. We’ll try to stay ahead of the curve.”
Rollins second, Cabrera fifth
Ventura will open the season with Rollins batting second but the 37-year-old former MVP won’t be entrenched there.
“I like him there,’’ Ventura said. “He can move. Just because he’s a switch-hitter and can handle the bat, he can go to a couple of different places. Right now it looks like he’ll be [second].’’
Switch-hitter Melky Cabrera opened the 2015 season batting second but will likely bat fifth behind Jose Abreu and Todd-Frazier.
“We have a lot of righties so [the switch-hitters] are going to have to be somewhere spaced in there,’’ Ventura said. “More than likely it will end up like that.’’
This and that
Probables for the opening series in Oakland: Chris Sale vs. Sonny Gray on Monday, Rich Hill vs. Jose Quintana Tuesday, Carlos Rodon vs. Chris Bassitt Wednesday, Mat Latos vs. Kendall Graveman Thursday.
*The Sox were 17-13-1 this spring, their best record since going 17-12-1 in 2003.
*Avisail Garcia’s home run against Josh Martin was his fifth of the spring and the team’s 51st, which led all of baseball. The Sox’ previous home run high since 1980 was 43 in 2002.