Baseball, and certainly its analysis, can be intensely cerebral and strategic. But ultimately it’s a sport of physical feats being performed elite athletic specimens, so one of the biggest topics at SoxFest–the first major status update of the off-season–is inevitably where every player is at physically.
Chris Sale is reportedly ascending to the 180-185 pound range after beginning last season with only 168 stretched across his 6′ 6″ frame. If there was any nuance left to the “added X pounds of muscle in the off-season” story, Gordon Beckham beat it into the ground years ago, but Sale at least had a situation where added bulk was a proposed solution to his perceived frailty and late-season fade. At the least, more mass means complaints and concerns can be directed solely to his mechanics if his velocity trouble perks up again.
It seemed perfectly standard for Paul Konerko to stubbornly deny the idea that his wrist had any impact on his struggles during the second half of 2012. There’s no benefit to calling attention to an injury that he intends to play through. But now, with every reason to dig up a list of reasons why 2013 should be better, Konerko is still limiting how much he’ll admit that his effectiveness was hampered.
A perfectly healthy Konerko struggling to drive inside fastballs down the stretch would merit a much more critical eye, and raise a lot more questions about his age and deterioration. The “surgery fixed everything” narrative is therefore a lot more alluring, and it would be more encouraging if Konerko played along. At least he said that the surgery went well.
"“Within 10-12 days after the surgery, I felt like I could have played in a game. So that was frustrating in one sense. I wish I would have done it earlier, which was probably my own fault.”"
Finally, John Danks is slated to begin throwing off-speed pitches next week, having not experienced any newsworthy setbacks since beginning his mound work. A graphic description of adventures in scar tissue from a Cubs prospect I spoke to last week served as a reminder of how high the threshhold for “notable setback” can be, but no news is still good news for Danks.
He’s still a question mark, right up until he’s throwing changeups in a Spring Training start. Conversely, Danks is still on schedule until Hector Santiago is making plan–er, actually starting in his place.
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