Parque begins season in minors

Charles Rich

Parque begins season in minors

The Chicago White Sox have been picked by most baseball publications

to capture the American League Central Division championship in 2002.

Their odds to win a second division title in three seasons might

improve if the White Sox have a healthy Jim Parque.

Parque, 1994 Crescenta Valley High graduate, helped the White Sox win

the division in 2000. The left-hander, who missed most of the 2001

campaign because of a shoulder problem, began this season at Triple-A

Charlotte building velocity and itching to rejoin Chicago's rotation.

The White Sox, who opened the season with a three-game series against

the host Seattle Mariners, have a young starting rotation consisting of

Mark Buehrle, Todd Ritchie, Dan Wright, Jon Garland and Jon Rauch.

Parque, for the moment, is reportedly the odd man out because of his

lack of velocity since coming off arm surgery. Parque threw five innings

against the Colorado Rockies in an exhibition game March 22, allowing two

runs on eight hits.

He said his velocity reached into the upper '80s, where the White Sox

expected it to be. Parque became perturbed that no one from the White Sox

personnel had used a radar gun to clock his pitches.

"They told me in order to break with the team I needed to improve my

velocity," Parque told the Chicago Tribune. 'I know I did. My catcher

knows it and everyone [at the park] knows it."

Parque said he asked before the start why there wasn't a radar gun.

"What are they going to time me with -- a stopwatch?" Parque asked.

White Sox general manager Ken Williams said the reports he received

from Parque's outing were encouraging.

Parque, who is 29-29 in parts of four seasons, began his baseball

career in 1998. The UCLA graduate was drafted between the first and

second rounds (46th overall) in the June 1997 free agent draft.

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