03/02/07 6:55 PM ET
Notes: Logan in better frame of mind
Reliever acknowledges 'mental breakdown' affected '06
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
The talented left-hander threw one perfect inning Thursday at Hi Corbett Field, striking out one, impressing Ozzie Guillen with the way he attacked the strike zone. But Logan has more to prove to his manager, pitching coach Don Cooper and general manager Ken Williams than simple command of his fastball or curve.
He has to be able to handle the Major League grind mentally, as well as physically. It's a challenge Logan appears ready to tackle with renewed faith and energy.
"Last year, I was too hard on myself, thinking too much and put a lot of pressure on myself," said Logan, who posted an 8.31 ERA in 21 games with the White Sox in 2006. "This year is different. I know how to approach everything.
"It's a comfort zone and I know what to expect. I'll be fine this year."
Logan wasn't fine in 2006. In fact, he recently told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had a "mental breakdown" in the big leagues last year and mentally "just didn't have it anymore." Those types of comments usually raise a red flag for upper management and teammates alike, wondering if Logan will be able to come through with the game on the line.
But Logan doesn't regret anything he has said this spring. It could be the first sign of a return to the strong-minded individual he was previously.
"I'll tell you what's on my mind, and I'm not going to beat around the bush," said Logan of his comments. "I was upset with myself for what happened last year, but what happened is in the past. This is now."
The story of Logan's rise to the Majors would have been hard to believe if not witnessed firsthand. He was mired in Rookie ball for the White Sox, working on the back Minor League fields during Spring Training for a long shot at reaching Double-A, before grabbing the team's attention by striking out two in one inning of relief during an intrasquad game against Major Leaguers such as Jim Thome and Rob Mackowiak.
Before Logan could catch his breathe, he was breaking camp with the White Sox. Maybe it was a case of too much, too soon for Logan, who won a battle of attrition for the second left-handed bullpen spot, but also deserved the nod. There's plenty of Major League-ready competition in camp presently, so Logan once again will have to pitch his way to Chicago.
If Logan gets that chance, he believes big-league life will be easier to handle and he'll be a better fit among his teammates. Logan has little doubt he can earn the spot, even if a few pitchers are ahead of him. After all, the physical skills are not the issue.
"I definitely would rather have no problems at all, but I would rather have a mental problem than a physical problem," said Logan. "It's easier to overcome the mental things because I'm a strong-minded guy. I don't have to worry about where I sit or who I'm behind or who I have to beat out.
On schedule: A 23-pitch side session Friday, featuring all fastballs, left Bobby Jenks ready to pitch in Monday's "B" game against the Rockies. Proper mechanics took on the focus prior to his bullpen work, and Jenks said the fundamentals were in place when he took the mound.
"It's just getting back to the basics, keeping it simple: up, down, separate and go," said Jenks, adding there was no pain or tightness in his shoulder, as he experienced in Wednesday's game. "Try not to fly open and stay closed. That was my game plan, and that's where we are at right now."
Better late than never: Gustavo Molina was scheduled to be in Arizona on Feb. 17 when the rest of the White Sox pitchers and catchers reported. But passport problems and a three-week wait trying to get a new one kept him in Venezuela until Thursday night. Now, the catcher who received rave reviews for his handling of pitchers and game calling last spring will try to play an extreme game of catch up.
"It's tough to get here late," Molina said. "There are a lot of new pitchers, and you don't have time to learn them with the games starting."
Around the horn: The combined Cactus League ERA for the White Sox four projected regular-season starters sits at 18.36 after appearances by Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras. ... Contreras, who, on Friday, allowed two runs in three innings, while walking three and throwing two wild pitches, also laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt against Arizona starter Livan Hernandez. "I'm not very happy with batting," said Contreras with a smile. "I just go up there and try to bunt and get out of there." ... Contreras and Hernandez played together in Cuba in 1995, before Hernandez left the country. ... The White Sox have a 1-14-1 mark against Arizona and Colorado in Cactus League action since 2006.
Up next: After having his first trip to the mound moved back one day because of a sprained right ankle, Gavin Floyd starts Saturday's contest against Doug Davis and the Diamondbacks.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.