GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As sports fans across the country -- and plenty of Major Leaguers -- tune in to the NCAA Tournament this weekend, one White Sox player will be rooting for his school to make history.
Infielder Conor Gillaspie's Wichita State Shockers are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region of the bracket and will open the Tournament on Friday against the winner of the No. 16-seed play-in game between Cal-Poly and Texas Southern.
"They're a pretty good team," Gillaspie said. "They don't play the best teams every week, but to do something like they've done is pretty impressive, no matter what level you're at or even what sport you're in. It's pretty incredible."
The Shockers, at 34-0 out of the Missouri Valley Conference, are the first team to enter the Big Dance undefeated since UNLV in 1991. The 1975-76 Indiana team was the last undefeated national champion, but no team has accomplished the feat since the tournament expanded to 64 (and now 68) teams.
"I haven't [filled out a bracket] yet," said Gillaspie, who was an All-American for the Shockers from 2006-08 before being drafted after his junior season. "I probably will in the next day or two. But [Wichita State is] just so well-coached. They don't make a lot of mistakes, so hopefully they can continue to do that."
Wichita State, which advanced to the Final Four last season, would play the winner of Kentucky-Kansas State in the third round and potentially defending champion Louisville in the Sweet 16. National championship runner-up Michigan and perennial contender Duke are also in the star-studded region.
"They've got their hands full," Gillaspie said. "But they'll get their chance to prove to everybody that they're legit, so hopefully they're ready to do that."
Lindstrom opts for additional 'pen session
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom will throw a side session on Wednesday, saying he's not yet ready for game action but hopes to be by the end of the week.
Lindstrom, working his way back from a left oblique strain, has yet to appear in a Cactus League game this year. He is a candidate for the closer's job, but for now, the priority is simply getting game-ready.
"I decided I needed another bullpen, and not because I wasn't throwing strikes in my last one, just because I still felt a little bit sore," Lindstrom said. "We decided the best action is to make sure I'm not feeling any soreness, so I'm not out there limited at all."
Lindstrom said he wouldn't call it a setback, but he didn't want the oblique to be a lingering issue or to have to hold anything back in his first appearance.
"It has been tricky, because I thought it was gone," Lindstrom said. "The way I like to throw, the way I like to train and stuff, I really didn't think about it, and then some soreness starts creeping in with the intensity we have in the workouts. In that sense, it has been tricky, because it has been kind of a lingering effect and it takes some time. I'm pretty about optimistic about it, still."
Manager Robin Ventura also believes that Lindstrom, who appeared in 76 games out of the bullpen last year with a 3.12 ERA in 60 2/3 innings, can be ready for the start of the season.
"Yeah, you'd think so," Ventura said. "The more you get down to it, he's going to have to be out here and throw before you really feel comfortable letting him go late in the game."
Sox show marked defensive improvement
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Blake Tekotte made an impressive display of the White Sox marked defensive improvements on Monday when he stole a home run from one of the Brewers' top power hitters.
The backup outfielder leapt over the center-field wall to rob Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez of a homer in Chicago's 9-0 win at Maryvale Baseball Park, shining a spotlight on a point of emphasis for the Sox this spring.
"It's been a little while since I had a catch like that," Tekotte said, adding that it was one of the best of his career and showing off scrapes from outfield practice drills this week. "We actually worked on fence drills the other day, too, as you can see. I actually told [first-base coach Daryl Boston], 'Practice makes perfect.' He actually moved me over just a little bit prior to that pitch, so I give a little bit of credit to him."
The White Sox were one of the worst defensive teams in the Majors last year, amassing 121 errors, second-worst in baseball. According to Fangraphs.com, Chicago was No. 23 in baseball with an Ultimate Zone Rating of -25.4 (which measures how many runs a team/player saved or gave up through defensive play).
But this spring, they've shown considerable improvement in Cactus League games and their 14 team errors entering Tuesday was seventh-best in baseball.
"It's hard sometimes when everybody's not playing at the same time, but you're liking what you're seeing as far as guys being in position and doing the right thing," manager Robin Ventura said. "When you start playing during the year, that's when you're really going to know, because everybody's playing together."