Back at SoxFest, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn talked about highly-touted pitching prospects Nestor Molina and Simon Castro, their rough seasons in 2012 and their need to rebuild in the 2013 season. If the past two games against Texas are any indication, they both are on the right track.
Molina threw two scoreless innings in Tuesday's victory in Surprise, and Castro came back with three scoreless innings during Wednesday's victory. Castro struck out three and allowed one hit while issuing one walk, in an effort to bounce back from a decent if not spectacular 2012 season, during which the right-hander was bothered by a strained right forearm.
"We're just trying to take it day by day," Castro said. "I'm not focusing on what happened last year. I'm just focusing on what's going to happen this year. I'm just going to focus on an everyday basis now."
Texas pitcher Robbie Ross was one out away from having a second impressive outing in his bid to win a spot in the Rangers' rotation. After Alexi Ogando allowed two runs in two innings, Ross held the White Sox scoreless in the third and fourth. But he couldn't do that in the fifth.
He got one out on a fly to center and then picked off Alex Rios at first base after Rios reached on a single. But Ross hit Adam Dunn with a pitch and then gave up a two-run home run to Paul Konerko. Ross had Konerko at 3-2, but couldn't put him away.
"Just a 3-2 count, a fastball and Konerko got it," Ross said. "I felt good. Everything was going right until he got a hold of it."
Instead, Konerko hit a high fly ball to left that landed just on top of the left-field wall for a two-run home run. Dayan Vicideo singled to left, but Ross got Josh Phegley on a grounder to third. Ross has a 3.60 ERA in his first two Cactus League games and opponents are hitting .250 against him.
After the Rangers rallied for three in the sixth -- driven in by Nelson Cruz, Jeff Baker and Brandon Allen -- against Jeff Gray, who struck out the side, Conor Gillaspie lined a two-run homer to right to raise the White Sox lead back to three in the sixth. Gillaspie has a single, triple and homer in his last two games for the White Sox.
Pedro Borbon added the Rangers' final run with an RBI groundout in the eighth.
Rangers up next: Lance Berkman is scheduled to make his first appearance in a Cactus League game when the Rangers host the Indians at 2:05 p.m. CT on Thursday in Surprise, Ariz. Berkman, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent in the offseason, has been sidelined by a strained right calf muscle. He will start at designated hitter. Derek Holland will be on the mound in his last start before joining Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.