Hall, Owens, Quentin play in 'B' game
Outfielders expected to join Sox in Cactus action on Tuesday
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jerry Owens and Carlos Quentin returned from their respective injury absences in Monday morning's "B" game against the Rockies at the Kino Sports Complex.
Toby Hall, however, made a surprise start behind the plate, marking his first game action of spring. Hall finished 1-for-2 at the plate against veteran southpaw Mark Redman, but his offense was never in question while he was rehabbing his injured right shoulder.
Hall's throw to second on Dexter Fowler's stolen-base attempt in the top of the fifth stood as the more telling moment for the veteran backstop. Fowler ended up with a stolen base, but the throw from Hall was right on the money.
"I felt great. I felt even better than I did pre-injury," said Hall. "Coming into Spring Training, they wanted to get [the shoulder] back to baseball ready.
"So this was a big day. That's the hump I wanted to get over. From Day 1, this is what they had going. You come out here in the first week and a half and try to hump up and do something, but that's going to set you back. Their game plan was awesome."
This particular plan, set up by White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider, was aimed at continued development for the separated shoulder Hall suffered while diving for a ground ball at first base during the last week of Spring Training in 2007. Hall has gone through a side program that was designed to have him ready for action during the last two weeks of Spring Training, but he arrived ahead of schedule on Monday.
Hall opted not to undergo surgery and returned to game action on May 18 of last season and finished with a mere three RBIs over 116 at-bats. He also threw out just 10.3 percent of attempted basestealers.
Putting up impressive statistics wasn't the point of Hall's 2007 return. The 32-year-old wanted to prove he could go out and still throw, but those sights have been adjusted upward for Hall's work behind A.J. Pierzynski in 2008.
"You hear all these stats about how I had only three RBIs in 100 at-bats," said Hall, who ripped a Redman curve to left for his hit on Monday. "But you know what? A, I faced 80 percent righties and B, there weren't that many people on anyways, so I would have had to hit five home runs to get more RBIs.
"It's not like statistically I was in the position to do more damage. Those were the cards I dealt with last year and now I have a way better hand."
While Hall was uncertain as to when he would make his Cactus League debut, the White Sox are wasting no time bringing back Owens into action for Tuesday's contest against Texas in Surprise, Ariz. Owens, who will bat leadoff and play center, finished 2-for-4 with two stolen bases on Monday.
Owens said his sore right groin presented no problem, and he felt as if he was able to get good jumps in center. Owens also had the advantage of getting two at-bats against the southpaw Redman.
"Those two at-bats were the second and third at-bats I've had off a lefty all spring," Owens said. "That definitely helps, especially against a crafty lefty like that. It helps because you know you're going to get something different and you got to take a different approach.
"Today, I took some balls out there and it felt good. And my first step felt good out of the box."
Quentin, who has battled through left shoulder pain stemming from offseason surgery, finished 2-for-5 on Monday. He also will be in Tuesday's lineup, after playing all 10 innings, like Owens, in the loss to the Rockies.
"Am I there yet?" Quentin asked. "No, I'm not there as far as getting my timing down. But strength-wise, my shoulder feels even better."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.