GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — James Shields allowed three hits in three scoreless innings, Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer in a five-run first inning against Jeff Samardzija, and the San Diego Padres beat a Chicago White Sox split squad 8-2 Wednesday in the final game of the Cactus League season at Camelback Ranch.
Shields struck out two and walked none in what he said was an "ideal" length for a tuneup before Monday’s opener at the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will start NL MVP Clayton Kershaw.
Yangervis Solarte homered in the fifth for the Padres against his former New York Yankees teammate, David Robertson.
Samardzija gave up five runs and six hits in four innings. All but one of the hits came in the first, before the right-hander and catcher Tyler Flowers made adjustments.
Samardzija has an 8.44 ERA, and Gyorko’s homer was the ninth he has allowed this spring. He fared much better after the five-run first and was pleased with his control this spring; he issued only two walks in 21 1-3 innings.
"I wanted to work on my slider, and in the first inning it was a little flat and I was pulling it for a ball. Then the next three innings we were throwing it for a strike and I think you see what happens. It just gives them a little change of pace," Samardzija said. "I think that’s going to be a key pitch for me all year. It was today and will continue to be a big pitch."
Samardzija is slated to start Chicago’s opener Monday at AL champion Kansas City, followed by Jose Quintana and John Danks. Hector Noesi will pitch the home opener April 10 against Minnesota.
Padres: Shields, whose plan was to throw no more than 50 pitches, said he felt good in his delivery. "I’m ready to go," he said after throwing 35 pitches.
Shields finished with a 2.79 ERA in 19 1-3 innings this spring. His next start will be at Dodger Stadium — the first career appearance there for the native of Santa Clarita, California.
"It was always a dream of mine to pitch there," Shields said. "I’m pretty excited about it."
White Sox: Chicago ace Chris Sale threw 90 pitches in a minor league game against Cincinnati Reds prospects in Glendale, his first game action since a broken foot sidelined him on Feb. 27.
"It was nice to get back on the mound and do what I’m supposed to do," said Sale, who reported no problems in moving around and covering first base on one play.
If his next minor league outing goes well on Monday in Arizona, Sale could be back in Chicago’s rotation as early as April 11.
"Everything has been progressing great. I feel like I can get back to normal," Sale said.
The left-hander was 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA last season.
Padres: San Diego optioned outfielders Tommy Medica and Abraham Almonte to Triple-A El Paso. The Padres also reassigned pitchers Jason Lane and Marcos Mateo and infielder Ramiro Pena to their minor league camp.
White Sox: Manager Robin Ventura said infielder Carlos Sanchez will be on the opening-day roster. Sanchez, who competed with Micah Johnson for the second base job this spring, made the club as a spare infielder along with Gordon Beckham.
Chicago reassigned RHP Jesse Crain and LHP Carlos Rodon to minor league camp. Crain is still recovering from a shoulder operation last year and hasn’t pitched in the majors since the middle of 2013.
Rodon may not be down for long. The 22-year-old out of North Carolina State, the third overall pick in last June’s draft, is likely ticketed for Triple-A Charlotte, where he made three starts at the end of last season. He finished his first big league spring training with a 3.06 ERA in 17 2-3 innings, giving up one homer and striking out 21.
"I had a great time here," Rodon said. "I got better. Learned some new things."
Rodon’s fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s (mph), and his best pitch is his slider. He is going down mostly to work on his changeup. "I threw a lot of changeups (Tuesday). I figured I could throw it now and rely less on the slider," he said.
Padres: Tyson Ross pitches Thursday in the Cactus League finale against Milwaukee.
White Sox: Quintana faces the Diamondbacks in Chicago’s last Cactus League game.