Latos feeling healthy, ready for 'B' game

LaRoche progressing after back spasms; Garcia making impact on offense

Latos feeling healthy, ready for 'B' game

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Saturday morning "B" game for the White Sox against the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz., will feature Mat Latos on the mound and possibly Austin Jackson at the plate.

Latos probably will throw three innings. He battled left knee issues last season, but the right-hander is healthy and ready to go.

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"He seems fine," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I think when he got here, he was still working through some stuff, and we were being cautious with him to get him to a point where probably the next time out he'll be on one of the "A" games. We'll see how [Saturday] goes. The best part is if it is an extended inning, you can just end it."

Jackson's plan is to lead off every inning.

LaRoche gets back on the field

Adam LaRoche has yet to get back to 100 percent from back spasms that flared up last Saturday. He was able to do pretty much everything with the White Sox during Friday morning workouts and said everything but hitting felt really good.

"Compared to yesterday, it felt good," LaRoche said. "I would say up to about 80 percent on the swing, and it feels good. I start to feel it a little bit, one little spot in my lower back -- trying to get it out of there. Yesterday felt OK. Today felt a little better. I hope the progression continues."

LaRoche had a sore back or hip pain in the past, but never a full lockout as he did on his swing against the Royals. With three weeks left in Spring Training, he doesn't need to rush back before reaching 100 percent, but he also appears to be tired of the waiting game.

"I don't want to drag it out forever because I still want to get some at-bats and get out there and get the feel back," LaRoche said. "Again, if it's going to happen, it happened at a great time. But time flies here, too. We got some games left. If I can get out there in the next three or four days and not have any setbacks, that would be ideal."

Garcia makes a statement

Avisail Garcia was not part of the latest White Sox outburst on offense Friday, but his new approach at the plate has paid major dividends. Garcia has nine hits in 17 at-bats and a team-high 17 total bases.

Garcia's RBI double

"When you're seeing the way it's coming off his bat, just the plane of his bat, his positioning when he's taking pitches, some of those things are real subtle," said Ventura of Garcia's swing change. "It's not like we've totally revamped and created a new kind of way to hit.

"There are ways to make adjustments, and he gets a better angle of his bat. It helps him cover the plate and get the ball in the air a little bit. As far as hitting the ball hard, he seems to be taking to the adjustments. Talking to him, you realize it takes a while sometimes, and he has to believe it."

Offense rolls along

With four homers in Friday's 8-3 victory, the White Sox now have 20 in Cactus League play from 15 hitters. They are: Jose Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, Matt Davidson, Tyler Saladino and Brett Lawrie with two each, and Todd Frazier, Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Courtney Hawkins, Dioner Navarro, Adam LaRoche, Jason Coats, Jerry Sands, Adam Eaton and Steve Lombardozzi with one each.

They Said It

"That one hurt," -- LaRoche, on how last Saturday's back pain differed from other back pain

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.