PRO BASEBALL

WHITE SOX: Purdue QB days prepared Carroll for pitching career

2014-05-04T20:30:00Z WHITE SOX: Purdue QB days prepared Carroll for pitching careerGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 04, 2014 8:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | White Sox right-hander Scott Carroll picked the right sport in the end, despite a whole bunch of injury detours that pushed his big-league debut back until last Sunday at age 29.

Carroll probably would not have made the NFL after serving as a backup quarterback at Purdue to future Bear Kyle Orton in 2004. Now he’s in the big-league books with one earned run given up in his first 13 1/3 innings while splitting his first two Sox decisions.

After transferring to Missouri State, closer to his home in Liberty, Mo., Carroll played quarterback before concentrating on baseball.

“I think it’s very similar,” he said of the skills and mental preparation transferring between sports.

“The ball goes through you every play. I’m used to being in that leadership role and used to having the game in my hands and just controlling the tempo.”

Carroll said he had “a lot of fun” working behind Orton at Purdue.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” he said. “I wouldn’t take it back or trade it for anything. I met a lot of great friends there. And I got to experience Big Ten football, which is awesome. I learned a lot about myself and maturing and how to work hard and be a better person and athlete. So it helped.”

Carroll went to Purdue when home-state school Missouri recruited him for baseball only.

Webb up to century mark in speed: It's no wonder many believe rookie Daniel Webb is a potential closer for the Sox. His top radar-gun speed in his career was 100 mph, he said.

“Mid- to high-90s, that’s how I’ve always kind of been. Everyone once in awhile, like last season, I’d touch 100 mph.”

The Sox's 1980s closer Todd Worrell, also a high-90s guy, once said the feeling of throwing that hard was like playing catch — free and easy. Webb agreed.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Some of the days when I had my better velocity it’s felt I was playing catch — nice, smooth and easy. Whenever you try hump up or grunt a little more on one, that’s usually when it doesn’t come out that well or it goes nowhere near where you want it to go.”

Webb threw at the disabled Nate Jones’ velocity. The difference, according to catcher Tyler Flowers, is Jones’ fastest pitches tended to rise while Webb’s seemed to have a natural sink.

Konerko projects ongoing adjustments for Abreu: Slugging sensation Jose Abreu will have to make adjustments for years to come, if Paul Konerko’s experience over parts of 18 seasons is a guidebook.

“The bottom line is, it’s not like a one-time thing where you come into a league where guys adjust to you and you adjust back,” Konerko said. “You’ll probably adjust 200 times over your career back and forth on people are trying to do.

“I’m sure at some point (pitchers will) try going to a different area, and he’ll adjust to that area and do well. Then they’ll adjust to another area. Maybe they don’t give him anything to hit and he’ll walk more.”

Konerko said Abreu has enjoyed success partially because he’s not a typical rookie at 27, a veteran of the Cuban league.

“He’s a little bit more polished than your average 22-year-old, 23-year-old who comes into the league,” he said. ”That’s to his favor. It’s a little apples-and-oranges comparing him to other rookies around the league because I feel he’s a much better, much more polished hitter than most of the guys coming into the league.”

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