- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Juan Nicasio held the Chicago White Sox hitless for five innings and Jordan Pacheco homered, helping the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 victory on Tuesday.

Nicasio struck out six of the first eight batters and eight overall. He was removed after 82 pitches and walking just one - that runner was erased on a double play. The only other Chicago player to reach base was Adam Eaton, who struck out but made it to first on a wild pitch.

“I had good command of my fastball, down and in, and my slider was a lot better today,” Nicasio said. “I’m ready for the season. I finished strong.”

That alone is a big difference, Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

“He’s healthy for the first time in a while,” Weiss said. “He wants to show who he really is.”

The only thing slowing Nicasio on Tuesday was a torn fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Neither Weiss nor Nicasio expected that to be a problem for his next appearance.

White Sox ace Chris Sale, in his final start before opening day on Monday, gave up six hits and struck out three in 3 2-3 innings. Colorado’s Drew Stubbs led off the game with a double and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. After a wild pitch, Michael Cuddyer singled to drive in LeMahieu.


Rockies: Nicasio posted his third scoreless outing of the spring. Weiss said his use of all his pitches is making a big difference - particularly the split-finger fastball.

“With each outing he’s gained more confidence with it,” Weiss said. “He’s throwing it more to put hitters away. His slider is a much better pitch than it was this time last year.”

Despite the fingernail tear, Nicasio will likely get one more tuneup, in a minor league game on Sunday.

White Sox: Sale finished the Cactus League season with a 4.58 ERA, and 16 strikeouts in 17 2-3 innings. He walked three in the spring - none on Tuesday.

Before the game, White Sox manager Robin Ventura confirmed that Sale would be joined in the rotation by Felipe Paulino, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson and John Danks, though “not necessarily in that order,” Ventura said.

He added that he would likely break up the lefties, though Danks - who starts Wednesday in Glendale against Cincinnati - is in position to follow Sale. Quintana, the third lefty, has been pitching in between right-hander Paulino and Johnson during the spring.


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