A day in Tucson

My time in Tucson was brief. Truth be told, that’s fine by me. I have to say it’s not my favorite locale. If you do go, though, check out the Ajo Cafe just  down the street from Tucson Electric Park. It looks like a little hole in the wall, but it’s really good eats. If you’re lucky, you’ll see MLB.com’s D-Backs reporter Steve Gilbert chowing down…

But I digress. My real reason to be in Tucson was to talk to the White Sox and Diamondbacks. Walking into Arizona’s clubhouse and looking around, I felt like I was at a Minor League All-Star Game. And this was just big league camp…but with Justin Upton, Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero, Dustin Nippert — Carlos Gonzales wasn’t even there — I can’t think of another big league spring camp with that much prospect power. If new GM Josh Byrnes does things the right way, this is a team that should compete in the NL West for the next decade (Listen for an interview with Montero on Friday’s Around the Minors show). After talking briefly with him, I get the sense that Quentin is a little tired of discussing his opportunity — or apparent lack thereof — this spring. Then again, I may not be thrilled if  I had to put on a good face over and over and over again as reporters ask for reaction to the fact that even though I hit over .300 and had a .942 OPS in Triple-A last year, I’d have to spend another season with the Sidewinders. Well, at least he can go to the Ajo Cafe a lot…

Over in White Sox camp, the prospect list isn’t quite as voluminous, especially after Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood were dealt for Jim Thome and Chris Young was sent to Arizona (at least he knew how to get to the Spring Training facility) this offseason. But there’s still plenty of talent  with good story lines. When will Josh Fields be ready? Will Ryan Sweeney start growing into the power expected of him (or does it matter)? How quickly will Lance Broadway race through the system? Is  lefty Ray Liotta good enough to cover the losses of the soutpaws listed above? At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see how the championship (and I don’t mean the White Sox affiliate in Kannapolis’ victory in the South Atlantic League last year) trickles down to all levels of the system.

That’s it for me today — tune in tomorrow with an update from … Surprise! No, really, I’ll be in Surprise to talk to the Royals and Rangers.


My question is, when will Joe Borchard start to produce.

I’m afraid that may be never. The White Sox are certainly giving him every last opportunity, and then they’re giving him a few more chances after that because of that big bonus he got. But the window of opportunity is a closing, and fast.

What is the early read on White Sox 1B/DH Bucky Jacobsen?

Sorry to hear Tucson isn’t one of your favorite locals. Apparently it takes about a year of living here to really like, or so I’m told, 10 months and counting and I’m still not sold on Tucson myself. But, if you do come back to town to check on the Sidewinders let me know, would love to talk some baseball with you.

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