Parque floors 'em
Chicago's second-best lefty starter starts off strong
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
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.