Spring Training Game #1

Today was an important day around the Chicago White Sox organization. First, the Sox played their first spring training game of the season. It’s now official — spring training is here!

Even though the White Sox lost to the LA Dodgers by a score of 6-4, it’s great to be able to talk about baseball games again. It has been a long offseason!

Secondly, today also marked one month until the start of the Charlotte Knights 2012 season. The Knights open the season on Thursday, April 5 in a 7:15 p.m. game against the Norfolk Tides. Yup, just one month away!

Single-game tickets are on-sale for all 72 Knights games and the 2012 promotional schedule is out. Make sure you check www.charlotteknights.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming season.

With all of that being said, let’s focus on Monday’s first spring game. There are many great storylines as we near Opening Day.

Let’s take a look back at the 2012 White Sox spring training opener:

Dan “the Man” — Dan Johnson has a reputation for hitting some big home runs in his career — especially at the Minor League level. Johnson, 32, signed a Minor League contract this offseason with the White Sox with hopes of making the Big League roster out of spring training. The Con Rapids, Minnesota native certainly made an early case in Monday’s opener.

In the ninth inning of Monday’s game, Johnson launched a two-run home run off Dodgers RHP Ryan Tucker. Johnson finished the game 1-2 with the homer and two RBIs at the plate in his first action with the Sox. The 6’2″, 210-pound slugger is certainly someone to keep an eye on this spring.

If he doesn’t make the White Sox out of camp, he is definitely someone who could do some damage at the plate for the Knights. Just two years ago (2010), Johnson was the International League’s MVP. That season, while playing for Durham, he hit .303 with 30 home runs and 95 RBIs.

The Need for Reed — Addison Reed has moved quickly through the White Sox organization. Reed, 23, was drafted by Chicago in the third round of the 2010 draft. A year later, the California native went from Single-A to the Majors, and impressed along the way.

After beginning the 2011 campaign with Kannapolis (A), Reed finished with the White Sox and posted a 0-0 mark with a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 Big League innings. Knights fans had just a small sample from Reed last season — but he produced. He recorded a 1.27 ERA in 11 games (21.1 IP, 28 K’s) for Charlotte last year.

This offseason, Reed has been mentioned by many to battle for the open closer’s role with the Sox. With last year’s closer (Sergio Santos) traded away to the Toronto Blue Jays, it should be an interesting spring battle — stay tuned.

KNOCK YOUR SOX OFF

Smooth Sale-ing— Chris Sale is another pitcher in the White Sox system that has moved quickly. After being drafted by the Sox in the first round of the 2010 draft, Sale is already on track to spend his second full season in the Bigs — but his first as a starter.

The former Knights reliever, who appeared in seven games for the club in 2010, is getting a shot to impress this spring as a starter.

In the White Sox intrasquad game on Saturday, the reliever-turned starter tossed two scoreless innings. He is scheduled to start Friday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.

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