Sox enter spring training without major medical concerns

Tue, 02-21-2012
By: Mark Gonzales

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the White Sox's front office and coaching staff conduct their daily spring meetings starting Wednesday, their roster scenarios won't be affected largely by whether certain players will be physically ready by Opening Day.

For the first time in several Februarys, the Sox enter spring training without major medical questions to players projected for the 25-man roster.

That includes pitcher Jake Peavy, who is expected to be fully recovered from major surgery in July 2010 that sidelined him for 10 months and still caused him bouts of arm fatigue.

Brent Lillibridge, whose versatility could earn him more playing time against left-handed pitchers, said last month he is fully recovered from a fractured right wrist that sidelined him for the final three weeks of the 2011 season.

And Dan Johnson, a left-handed hitter who will compete as a non-roster invitee, said earlier this month he expects no problems after being nagged by a sore left wrist for much of 2011 while playing in the Rays' organization.

While Chris Sale attempts to build endurance and strength in his left arm while making the transition from reliever to starter, the Sox won't be crossing their fingers as tightly as they did in the spring of 2009, when Jose Contreras (Achilles tendon tear) and Bartolo Colon (bone chips in right elbow) each rushed back from their ailments, only to suffer setbacks well before the All-Star break.

Although the Sox will miss the power of Carlos Quentin, no longer will they hold their collective breaths because of his assortment of leg ailments in 2009 and 2010.

The Sox used the disabled list 11 times last year. Only the Royals (eight) and Rays (10) used the DL fewer times.

Over the last 10 seasons, the Sox have used the DL the fewest times (84) and fewest days (3,527) among AL teams. The major league average for days lost to the DL in the last 10 years is 8,506.