Braves 4, White Sox 2
ATLANTA (AP)—Mark Redman spent much of the winter pitching off a mound in his basement. Now, he’s ready to find out how much it paid off.
“I completely believe in the work that I’ve been doing,” Redman said, “that it was just a matter of time before I could show it on the field.”
Redman had his final tuneup for the regular season Saturday, throwing four innings for the Atlanta Braves in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. His next start will be Friday night against the NL East champion New York Mets at Turner Field.
The left-hander allowed two runs—one earned—and five hits against the White Sox. He struck out two and walked none.
Ryan Langerhans had three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fourth.
Chicago starter Javier Vazquez gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out six. The right-hander went 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA in six spring training starts.
“I did OK,” Vazquez said. “I made a mistake to Langerhans. Except for him, I wouldn’t have had much trouble at all. I feel good. I feel strong and ready.”
The White Sox, who closed the spring by dropping seven of eight, finished the exhibition season 10-22-1, their most losses since 1989. Vazquez, though, thinks Chicago will challenge for the AL Central title.
“We had a good spring,” he said. “I feel confident we’ll have a good season.”
Redman, who signed a minor league deal on March 9 and had his contract purchased on Monday, felt comfortable on the mound in Atlanta.
“Yes, because the effort and the work that I put in my last start in the minor league game was to get a feel for that curveball,” Redman said. “The results weren’t that great down (in Florida), but it worked out great because I got the release point down.”
Now, he finally feels good about his curve.
“It was effective today in situations where I normally would never throw it in,” he said. “And that’s with runners on base, ahead in the count. That worked to my advantage, got some strikeouts with it.”
Redman went 11-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 29 starts last year for Kansas City and represented the Royals at the All-Star game. Because he had no attractive offers until the Braves called, the 32-year-old Redman tried to keep his arm strong by pitching off a mound in the basement of his Tulsa, Okla., home.
The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the second on Langerhans’ sacrifice fly and Kelly Johnson’s RBI single.
Vazquez, who signed a three-year extension worth $34.5 million on March 6, finished 2006 by going 0-6 with a 4.22 ERA in his last 10 starts. The right-hander will start Friday night in Chicago against Minnesota.
“He’s doing good,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He threw one bad pitch, the home run. He had 50 pitches in two innings, and that kind of worried me, but I liked what I saw.”
Guillen has yet to decide if Scott Podsednik or Pablo Ozuna will lead off and play center in the opener on Monday. Ozuna has a .391 career batting average (9-for-23) and no strikeouts against Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia.
Podsednik is 0-for-2 when facing Sabathia.
Atlanta, which will work out on Sunday in Philadelphia, finished the spring 18-12-2.