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Parque floors 'em

Chicago's second-best lefty starter starts off strong

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Posted: Monday March 05, 2001 5:34 PM

 

Throughout spring training, CNNSI.com will feature regular dispatches from Sports Illustrated staffers assigned to scout camps in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.

By Jamal Greene, Sports Illustrated

TEAM: Chicago White Sox

SITE: Tucson, Ariz.

WEATHER: Mostly sunny, but windy; upper 50s

PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: Jim Parque. In his first start of the spring, Parque threw three perfect innings Saturday as Chicago played to a 7-7, 10-inning tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Tucson Electric Park, which the two teams share. Parque has been mentioned as possible compensation in the disputed six-player trade that sent Mike Sirotka to the Blue Jays in exchange for David Wells. Losing Parque is unlikely, but it would be devastating for the Sox. The lefty went 13-6 with a 4.28 ERA last year and may be Chicago's second-best pitcher behind Wells.Parque is expected to start the team's home opener against Detroit. This spring he began throwing from the opposite side of the rubber to give himself more plate coverage. He also has been working on a circle change, which he pitched effectively in the minor leagues but shelved when he started to throw harder in the majors. "I kind of expected not to do so well today since I was trying to work on the change," Parque says. "I was just on. If this were two weeks before the season started, I'd be really happy."

AROUND THE HORN

  • The game ended in a tie by consent of the two managers, thereby keeping all arms, and Saturday-night plans, intact. The Sox tattooed Arizona starter Miguel Batista, who was pulled with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning. He gave up four earned runs on seven mostly hard hits, though, ironically, he was removed after surrendering Tony Graffanino's second-inning bleeder that barely reached the front of the mound. The Diamondbacks battled back from a 6-0 deficit, scoring five runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to take the lead. But Chicago tied it in the bottom half of the inning. White Sox left fielder Carlos Lee came within a triple of hitting for the cycle. Said rookie Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly after the three-hour, 41-minute game, during which he used 29 players, "I'm brain-dead."

  • How patient is David Wells? Consider the following scene:

    A man flags down Wells in the players' parking lot before the game.

    "I have just one quick favor [to ask]," he says.

    "Sure, no problem," Wells replies.

    "My son is your biggest fan. Could you sign this ball for him?"

    "Sure." Wells signs it.

    "And one for me?"

    "Ah, 'one' turns into 'two,'" Wells chuckles to himself, then signs.

    "And a quick photo?"

    "Ah, 'one' turns into 'a few.'" Wells poses for the photo. The shutter clicks.

    "And one more for backup?"

    "Ah, one turns into a million." Wells poses again.

    Now multiply that by 50, every day for eight months.

  • Bo Jackson, whose comeback attempt in 1993 was the talk of Tucson, was in White Sox camp working out with some of the players. Jackson looks as jacked as ever (perhaps more so), with the thick legs of a tailback and the biceps of a champion fighter. You'd think he could still play, except that he was walking with a stick. OK, it was actually a golf club.

     
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