The White Sox’s pitchers have proved their strengths to the team this season and have gone hitless for 10 2/3 innings. That streak was quickly broken Saturday when the White Sox faced the Indians.
Jason Donald’s left hand was swollen, wrapped and hurting Cleveland’s third baseman.
He wasn’t complaining.
It wasn’t broken, and that’s all that mattered.
Donald came away with only “a really bad bruise” after he was struck by an inside fastball that got away from Chicago starter Gavin Floyd in the first inning Saturday as a split squad of Indians beat the White Sox 8-3.
X-rays taken on Donald’s hand were negative, a huge relief for the 26-year-old and the Indians, who are hoping he can bring some stability to what has been a troublesome position in recent years.
“It got me pretty good,” Donald said. “It was scary, really scary, because any time you get hit in the hand, you have so many little bones in there, you never know.”
Floyd’s pitch split the skin on the back of Donald’s hand, and as he jogged toward first base, he noticed it was bleeding. Trainer Lonnie Soloff came out and checked on Donald, who remained in the game for another inning before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
The easygoing Donald walked past reporters interviewing starter David Huff without saying a word, his face etched in deep concern. But following the game, Donald was able to relax and count his blessings that things weren’t worse.
“I’m taking home supplies,” he said, clutching a plastic bag filled with gauze, tape and pain relievers. “It’s a day-to-day deal. I don’t want to take any time off. I can’t stand sitting around, but I’m going to be smart with it. We got three weeks. It’s important to get healthy first. If I can grip a bat tomorrow and feel fine and swing, I’ll be back out there, ready to go.”
Donald has been instructed to ice and elevate his hand. The Indians will likely give him a few more days off to recover.
Although he hasn’t officially been picked as the starter, Donald’s the front-runner to be the Indians’ everyday third baseman. The team has other options in Jayson Nix, Jack Hannahan, Luis Valbuena and highly touted prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, whose having a solid camp and could make things interesting if he keeps hitting.
Matt LaPorta’s RBI double in the first inning off Floyd – the first hit allowed by a White Sox starter this spring – got the Indians started and they built a 5-0 lead after three.
Before LaPorta’s hit, Chicago’s five-man rotation of Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Edwin Jackson, Jake Peavy and Floyd had faced 36 batters this spring without allowing a hit. Floyd wasn’t too concerned about being the first starter to give up a knock.
“It’s whatever,” he said with a shrug and smile. “It’s spring.”
Floyd did concede that the strong start is a positive sign for Chicago’s staff.
“That’s what we’re capable of,” he said. “That’s what kind of starting rotation we’ve got. We’re capable of feeding off each other and encouraging each other. I think we have the talent to do something pretty good. I’m not surprised (by the streak) but you know it’s going to end someday.”
LaPorta’s hit scored Shin-Soo Choo and it was another positive moment for Cleveland’s first baseman, who has yet to deliver big things since being acquired from Milwaukee in the 2008 trade for CC Sabathia. Last season, LaPorta struggled as he recovered from offseason surgeries on his hip and foot.
He’s finally healthy, and trusting his body. He’s been an enigma to Indians fans, and LaPorta’s not even sure of his own potential.
“Who knows?” LaPorta said. “I might be a 15-home run hitter. I might be a 40-home run hitter. I don’t know. We don’t know yet.”
NOTES: Huff pitched three scoreless innings, helping his chances to win the No. 5 spot. Huff has been working on a changeup he was shown last year by Cy Young winner Johan Santana. … On his way to the clubhouse, White Sox SS Omar Vizquel stopped to chat with former Indians manager Mike Hargrove, now working as a consultant with Cleveland. Vizquel and Hargrove spent six seasons together with the Indians. … Indians OF Chad Huffman, acquired off waivers from the Yankees last season, went 3 for 3, made a diving catch in right and threw out Mark Teahen at the plate. “He’s an interesting guy,” manager Manny Acta said. “He’s making a good impression.”
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