Leake bounces back as Reds beat White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) —
Mike Leake closed his spring training with a sorely needed solid outing.

Leake pitched into the sixth inning, Drew Stubbs hit a three-run homer and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago White Sox 9-1 on Monday.

“Leake threw well. That’s what you want to see,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He had a better tempo and was hitting his spots.”

The former Arizona State star allowed one run and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, bouncing back from a terrible showing last Tuesday when he gave up seven runs against the Oakland Athletics.

In three of Leake’s spring starts, he allowed 15 runs over 9 1-3 innings. In his other three, including Monday, he surrendered just two runs in 11 2-3 innings.

“(Pitching coach Bryan Price) and I worked on a couple things. He basically told me to remember how I’m supposed to pitch,” Leake said. “I’m not overpowering. I worked on moving my fastball around in and out, up and down.”

Leake will open the season in the No. 4 spot in Cincinnati’s banged-up rotation. Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey are experiencing shoulder problems and will start the season on the disabled list. Bronson Arroyo is recovering from mononucleosis.

John Danks made his final spring appearance for the White Sox, giving up four runs, three earned, and four hits in five innings.

Nine of the 11 runs Danks surrendered this spring came from home runs. Jonny Gomes had a solo shot Monday and Stubbs went deep in the fifth.

Danks also walked two, bringing his spring total to 13 in 26 2-3 innings, but the left-hander is completely focused on the positive, namely his consistent mechanics.

“Today was excellent,” said Danks, who finished the spring with a 3.04 ERA. “I made two mistakes that got hit pretty hard but today was my best game yet.”

Cincinnati’s Brian Barton hit a three-run homer in the eighth, and Mike Costanzo added a two-run shot in the ninth.

Paul Konerko led the White Sox with two hits and Brent Lillibridge drove in the team’s only run.

NOTES: White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez (aggravated lower back) was scratched. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he will be ready for opening day. … White Sox OF Dayan Viciedo (fractured right thumb) took swings in the batting cage and hopes to start shagging fly balls later this week. He will start the season on the disabled list and remain in Arizona while his thumb heals. … White Sox LHP Chris Sale woke up with a stiff neck Monday, but it is not believed to be serious. … Reds OF Fred Lewis (soreness in side) will start the season on the DL and remain in Arizona until he is ready. … Reds RHP Jose Arredondo (elbow) also will start the season on the DL.