video thumbnail

Must C Clutch: Ramirez walks off on the Indians

Alexei Ramirez has got this hitting thing figured out right now.

Ramirez, in his seventh season as the starting shortstop for the White Sox, is off to a scorching start at the plate. It bucks the trend of his typical slow starts in the season's opening month, during which he is a career .250 hitter and has hit .221 or worse four times.

"It's just developed, I think, if one prepares himself and gets himself ready and plays with a passion, you're going to have good things happen," Ramirez said of his good start through director of public relations Lou Hernandez. "This has been a great start for me, but I can't say there's one thing or the other. I'm just thankful that I'm being blessed that I started out this way."

Clay Buchholz will be charged with slowing down Ramirez. The right-hander bounced back from a rough first start in which he allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings to limit the Yankees to two earned runs in six innings on Thursday.

Buchholz said he felt a considerable improvement from his first to his second start and that he had the ability to rear back and put something extra on his fastball if needed.

"I felt a lot better. Just in the last five days, with my arm strength and everything, it got a lot better within a five-day span," Buchholz said after Thursday's start. "Usually it doesn't happen that quick. I felt a lot more comfortable with each pitch out there tonight. I've got to minimize damage a little bit more in a couple of spots. Other than that, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well."

Ramirez has hit safely in all 14 games this year after singling in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 2-1 walk-off victory. The shortstop said he hasn't changed his approach from last season and that he hasn't worked on anything specific with new hitting coach Todd Steverson, only that Steverson has advised him to wait back on the ball more.

"There's some of it you can't explain just because he swings at a lot of pitches," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of Ramirez. "But he feels good, he's seeing the ball well, he's getting it -- you'd like it to be a little bit more in the zone, but he's a very aggressive hitter.

"But what he does do is he puts it on the barrel, he's been hitting it the other way, pulling it, so it's really not a pattern yet of exactly where he's hitting it. He's putting it on the barrel and doing a good job doing it."

White Sox: Garcia surgery a success
White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder Tuesday morning at Rush Oak Park Hospital. He sustained the injury attempting to make a diving catch in right field April 9 against the Rockies in Colorado and is out for the season.

"It went well, we do know that," Ventura said of the surgery. "I haven't talked to him yet. He's resting right now. But everything went well and they're very pleased with what happened, but he's got a long road ahead."

Garcia has sixth months of rehabilitation in front of him. He is expected to be ready without restriction for the start of Spring Training 2015.

Boston: Pedroia wrist injury not serious
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hopeful to return to the lineup Wednesday after sitting out the past two games with inflammation in his left wrist. Pedroia initially hurt the wrist on April 4 when the Brewers' Carlos Gomez slid into second base to break up a double play.

Pedroia had an MRI on his wrist on Monday, which revealed he did not suffer a break. He took a cortisone shot to manage the inflammation and said he is relieved to have dodged a more serious injury, especially given that the wrist injury occurred near his surgically-repaired left thumb.

"Yeah, I was a little bit worried. It was getting worse every day," said Pedroia, who entered as a pinch-runner Tuesday when Mike Napoli exited after dislocating his left ring finger while sliding headfirst into second base. "It happens. I get taken out every day. It's my job. I just felt like it was part of the deal. I'm still obviously doing the rehab on my thumb stuff. Everything just got inflamed and then I keep swinging and playing, it just adds up and so, you think something is really wrong."

Worth noting
• Ramirez tied Lance Johnson for the second-longest hitting streak to start a season in franchise history. Ramirez would tie Frank Thomas for the all-time mark with a hit in Wednesday's game.

• Adam Dunn hit his 443rd career home run in the second inning of Tuesday's game, passing Dave Kingman for sole possession of 38th on the all-time list.

• Jake Peavy recorded eight strikeouts in consecutive starts for the first time since April 14 and 20 of last season. • Outfielder Shane Victorino is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment with one of the team's Minor League affiliates later this week. Comments