White Sox starter Hector Noesi hopes to take next step in 2015

White Sox right-hander Hector Noesi: “I believe in myself.”

GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox right-hander Hector Noesi made a significant turnaround in 2014, going from a player who posted a 14.21 ERA and was discarded by two teams in April to a decent No. 5 starter who reached 172-1/3 innings in September.

Sox pitching coach Don Cooper sees a few ways for Noesi to continue moving forward after he finished 8-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 28 appearances with the Sox.

"We're really looking to pick up where we left off with him, and continue hopeful progress," Cooper said. "Fastball command and he gave up too many home runs — we've got to improve there. And I think we've got to continue to explore the consistency and quality of his slider. That's the pitch we're going to be more focused on."

Noesi, who said his main concern is fastball location, is working this spring to remain the fifth Sox starter. He said the bolstered rotation with Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana and John Danks in front of him has provided some extra inspiration.

"I believe in myself and I believe in what Cooper told me, and I think I will be better than last year," Noesi said. "(Sale, Samardzija and Quintana) are really good. I saw them doing their stuff, and it motivated me to be one of them."

Free and easy: Sox manager Robin Ventura said he was impressed after watching new closer David Robertson throw Friday.

"You again see his temperament when he's out there, and it's nice to see," Ventura said. "He doesn't panic. Letting it go free and easy."

Ventura, who said he can envision using Robertson occasionally in the eighth inning as well this season, said he doesn't expect Robertson to pitch a lot in the Cactus League, likely making 10 or fewer appearances. He will leave it up to Robertson to decide what he needs to prepare.

Second career? Sox center fielder Adam Eaton has become a frequent interviewee for media members, but he turned the tables in the offseason, going to Super Bowl media day with his wife, Katie, as reporters for CSN Chicago.

Eaton said he loved his conversations with the athletes but also found the media frenzy "intimidating." He said he would do reporting again but would practice more first.

"It was very scary," Eaton said. "I thought it would be easy to be a media person and go and ask questions and run a conversation … but it wasn't. I was very overwhelmed by how many people were there."

Eaton's favorite interview was with Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who played in college for the Miami Hurricanes. Eaton went to Miami University in Ohio, and he asked if people frequently confused the two when they spoke with Wilfork. When Wilfork answered with a quick no, Eaton wanted to tell him that Ohio's Miami was a university before Florida was a state, but he refrained.

"I was so scared of how big he was that I didn't even want to step over that boundary," Eaton said. "I'm like scared as all get-out even talking to this guy. This guy is enormous. I'm like, this guy is going to eat me if I come back with a statement like that."

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette
66°