Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carlos Beltran Homers for Cardinals; Chris Sale Throws Six Scoreless for White Sox

Players of the Day for Monday, March 19, 2012

Grapefruit League
Carlos Beltran

When Albert Pujols took the free agency route out of St. Louis after winning the Wold Series last year, the Cardinals knew they needed to try to fill the offensive void created by acquiring another strong hitter, so they picked up Carlos Beltran the oft-injured slugger from the Mets.

In Monday's 4-3 win over Atlanta, the Cardinals' new right fielder belted a solo home run and singled in three at-bats, giving St. Louis fans some hope that there was life after Albert Pujols.

Even though it was Beltran's first homer and first RBI of the season, the Cardinals understood what they got when they signed Beltran: a career .283 hitter with 302 home runs and 1186 RBI in 12 major league seasons.

Cactus League

Sale: 6 IP 0 ER 6 K
Despite losing a 1-0 decision to the Cincinnati Reds, White Sox fans and management have to be encouraged with the performance of one of their bright young hurlers. Chris Sale worked the first six innings of the game, allowing just two hits, striking out six without walking a batter. Zack Cozart was the only Red to reach base off Sale, with a single and a double. Otherwise, Sale was dominant, retiring the final eight batters he faced.

Sale worked as a reliever in his first two seasons with the Sox, appearing in 21 games and posting a 2-1 record with saves and a 1.93 ERA in 2010. Last season, he appeared in 58 games, threw 71 innings and cashed in on 8 of 10 save opportunities.

Moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation, Sale will have to continue improving and going deep into games if the White Sox plan to be competitive in the AL Central, which looks like it may be a matter of chasing the Tigers in 2012.

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