1/25/2013 11:09 P.M. ET
Time for Flowers to bloom
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The general consensus concerning the White Sox catching situation is that A.J. Pierzynski will be missed, but the team has complete confidence in Tyler Flowers.
"Obviously, losing A.J. is a big hit, not only offensively but behind the plate," said pitcher Chris Sale, who frequently praised Pierzynski for his game-calling ability during the 2012 season. "But I think you can walk around to every pitcher today, and we're all excited to have Tyler back there for us. We know what he's capable of, and he's going to do it for us."
Flowers is excited to get the consistent, everyday at-bats. He's also pleased with the notion that White Sox pitchers like throwing to him.
"That's the ultimate compliment right there," Flowers said. "That's better than hitting .300 or hitting 50 homers. That's something I've taken to heart. [It was] a long road coming to get there, and there's a lot more I can do to get better. That motivates me even more to continue to progress."
White Sox sign free-agent reliever Lindstrom
CHICAGO -- Matt Lindstrom posted a 2.68 ERA over 46 combined games with Baltimore and Atlanta during the 2012 season, fanning 40 over 47 innings out of the bullpen.
So what took the veteran reliever until Jan. 25 to sign with a new team coming off such a solid showing? He was waiting for the right team to call.
"I kept on wondering where the White Sox were," said Lindstrom, who made his first official appearance as part of the team during SoxFest on Friday after agreeing to terms on a one-year, $2.3 million deal with a $4 million club option or $500,000 buyout for 2014.
"It's the first time in my career I actually had an opportunity to choose where I wanted to play, as opposed to having other people make that decision for me," he continued. "Having a deal work out with this team, I'm just really excited to get going with this group of guys in the bullpen."
Lindstrom, 32, adds another veteran presence to go with Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain in the back end of the bullpen. Described as a high-energy, great clubhouse guy with a great arm, Lindstrom has become more of a pitcher than the high-octane thrower who hit 100 mph on the speed gun early in his career.
Having allowed only two home runs last year will be beneficial to a team playing at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
"My first two or three years in the big leagues, I was always trying to overpower guys with four-seam fastballs," he said. "I've become a little bit smarter with age and being in the league a little while.
"I've tried to use a little deception on my fastball and throw a sinker -- use two types of fastballs and use my breaking ball a little more effectively. I like to come in and challenge guys. I'm not scared to use my fastball."
The addition of Lindstrom means that manager Robin Ventura should always have two late-inning right-handers available out of Lindstrom, Crain and Nate Jones. Meanwhile, coming to Chicago fulfills the offseason wish for this veteran hurler.
"My first five years in the National League, playing against the Cubs, it was my favorite city to come visit," Lindstrom said. "Last season, when the Orioles came into town and played the White Sox, I couldn't help but just sit there once I got into the stadium and look at all the cool things they had in the stadium -- all the memorabilia, the White Sox lore, the city, the franchise, the great things they've been able to accomplish over the years. That was one of the deciding factors for me to come here. I'm glad it worked out and super-stoked to get going."
Sale throws his weight around
CHICAGO -- Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig certainly won't be calling Chris Sale any time soon, probably never, to use him as part of a celebrity endorsement deal. But the slender left-hander, coming off a Cy Young-caliber effort in his first year as a starter, gained 15 pounds in the offseason.
The 6-foot-6 23-year-old exited the 2012 season at 170 pounds and weighed in on Friday at a bulky 185.2.
"I learned how to grill," said a smiling Sale of the reason behind his weight gain. "Hopefully I can maintain that through spring and through the season.
"Chicken, steak, pork, corn, anything. It's been fun. I've been working out hard. I actually got a trainer this offseason down there in Naples, [Fla.], my hometown. He's been great. I go there Monday through Friday and work out, and I've just been eating."
With or without the weight, Sale's goals haven't changed. He posted a 17-8 record with a 3.05 ERA and 192 strikeouts over 192 innings under Chicago's watchful eye. He wants those same positive results in helping the team succeed, while pitching at least 200 innings.
Caution will still be there where the organization's prized hurler is concerned, but there won't be as many extended breaks for Sale in 2013, even though manager Robin Ventura wants to hold off his Cactus League debut until later into Spring Training. Sale's teammates trust wholeheartedly in his ability, even if they don't trust in his weight gain boast.
"I told these guys I put on some weight and they didn't believe me," Sale said. "I told them my shoe size got bigger, that it went all the way down to my feet.
"I'm feeling good. Everything is great. My body feels good, I feel loose. I'm just excited for Spring Training to start and ready to get going."
Third to first
• John Danks' rehab program from August arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder continues to stay on track. Danks plans to incorporate offspeed pitches off the mound next, after throwing exclusively fastballs and changeups to date.
"I'm working with Day 1 of Spring Training in mind," said Danks, who knows the White Sox will be careful with his comeback.
• General manager Rick Hahn reiterated on Friday that the White Sox will not add a left-handed hitter, joining Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn, just to say they met that goal. There has to be a clear fit or purpose.
When asked about handling a dominant right-handed starting staff such as the one possessed by the Tigers, Hahn pointed out that the White Sox don't play Detroit until July 9 at Comerica Park. Changes can be made in the interim if needed.
• Paul Konerko's recovery time from Oct. 4 surgery to removed a loose body from his left wrist was much quicker than he expected.
"There was no way of knowing that until we went in there and got it out," Konerko said. "But within 10 to 12 days after the surgery, I felt like I could have played in a game.
"It is what it is. It's done. I haven't had any discomfort or pain other than at the beginning with the actual scar under the skin that had to heal up. I haven't thought about it as far as giving me any problems on the inside."
• Iconic television play-by-play announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is beginning his 54th year in baseball.