Sox, pitchers prepare for interleague play
CHICAGO – If White Sox manager Robin Ventura has his way, the National League never will adopt the designated hitter rule.
The Sox will get their first taste of interleague play of the season Tuesday for a three-game series against the Washington Nationals, and Ventura is looking forward to the challenges of playing by NL rules. Ventura said designated hitter Adam Dunn likely will start at least one game in left field, which will force Dayan Viciedo to the bench.
Despite losing his DH spot in the lineup, he likes that the leagues are different and believes “there’s room for both.”
“The DH has kept a lot of players that couldn’t play defense that are good hitters still, they get to extend their careers,” Ventura said. “I think there’s a part of the National League game, having played in the National League, it’s fun. It creates a different thing for bench players that wouldn’t happen in the American League.”
Ventura admitted it is weird playing interleague games so early in the season. Because the Astros moved to the AL this season, creating two, 15-team leagues, interleague games no longer are limited to specific weeks.
“With the pitchers hitting, you don’t normally do that in spring training, so these guys have been getting some swings to get ready for it,” Ventura said. “It’s weird for us but the pitchers they kind of get excited to get a helmet and bat. Hopefully they do well.”
Few Sox pitchers are more excited to hit than Jake Peavy, who spent eight years in the NL with the San Diego Padres. Peavy’s first opportunity to bat comes Tuesday when he starts against lefty Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals. During his stint in the NL, Peavy was one of the better hitting pitchers. He owned a .180 batting average with two home runs and 26 RBIs. Since joining the Sox in 2009, Peavy is 1 for 13.
“I love that style of game in the National League,” Peavy said. “I love the pitcher being an integral part of the game. You’re being an athlete and having a chance to impact the game. If you practice being better than the other guy, it’s one advantage you have over the other starting pitcher.”
Peavy receives award: Before Sunday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners, Peavy officially received his 2012 Gold Glove Award.
Peavy was thrilled finally to receive the award, the first of his career, which he shared with Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson.
“When you get to the age as I’ve gotten to, you try to be as well rounded of a player as you can possibly be,” Peavy said. “Fielding your position, getting off the mound and holding base runners is something I take a lot of pride in.”
Quick hits: Alex Rios’ homer off Felix Hernandez on a 0-2 count during Saturday’s win was the first 0-2 home run Hernandez had allowed since Sept. 18, 2011 (Adrian Beltre). … The Sox have changed their rotation for the upcoming road trip to create better matchups this month. Right-hander Dylan Axelrod will start Thursday at Washington while left-hander Jose Quintana was moved to Friday at Cleveland.