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White Sox recap: Cubs silence bats

Avisail Garcia hit his second homer of the spring on Saturday against the Cubs. Getty Images.

Cubs 9, White Sox 2

 

The Sox (6-4-1), who had led all teams in spring training with a .562 slugging percentage and were second in homers with 20, sent their top lineup to Mesa, Ariz., to face the Cubs but were pushed back by right-hander Jason Hammel, who allowed two hits and struck out four over four innings. Sox hitters were held to seven hits and they struck out 10 times, including two by catcher Alex Avila who is looking for his first hit of the spring.

Avisail Garcia hit his second homer of the spring and the Sox’ 21st, against right-hander Jean Machi. Shortstop Tyler Saladino bounced a double off the right-center field wall and made a nice play moving in and over on a tricky grounder to his right.

 

Erik the not-so-great

 

Right-hander Erik Johnson, the International League Pitcher of the Year who would be a potential fallback should Mat Latos not fill the bill in the starting rotation, had a second consecutive lackluster start. Johnson gave up five runs on seven hits including a homer by Dexter Fowler. Johnson did strike out three and walked one.

“Any time you’re falling behind, you’re going to get hit,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. Johnson’s velocity.

 

Trainer’s room

 

The bullpen endured a couple of nicks, but neither is believed serious. Right-hander Jake Petricka left as a precaution after John Andreoli’s liner grazed his throwing shoulder. Right-hander Zach Putnam, who was scheduled to pitch Friday but didn’t, tweaked a muscle stretching in the weight room, Ventura said. Putnam will be out for a few days. Adam LaRoche (back) went through drills Saturday and may not play for a couple of days. LaRoche has been out since last Saturday.

 

On deck

 

Diamondbacks at Sox, Glendale, 3:05 p.m., 890-AM, mlb.com. Robbie Ray vs. John Danks.