Even when he was in the bullpen as a reliever, Scott Schoeneweis thought of himself as a starting pitcher.
Now, after some doubts in spring training, Schoeneweis is making everyone else think of him as a starter as well.
Schoeneweis pitched 6 2/3 innings Saturday night, allowing five hits and one unearned run as the White Sox bounced back from Friday night's loss with a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The outing was the longest for Schoeneweis since he threw 82/3 innings for Anaheim against Texas on June 4, 2002, and it was his first victory as a starter since June 20, 2002, against St. Louis.
"The things I was doing in the spring, that was the time for it," Schoeneweis said.
In spring training he was working on a cut fastball and changeup, and was hit hard in each outing.
But in his first two starts of the seasonSaturday night and in New York the opening week of the seasonSchoeneweis has seen the fruits of his labor. He pitched well against the Yankees in a 3-1 loss in which Javier Vazquez shut down the White Sox.
"The New York game was huge for me," he said. "You really don't know you can do something until you go out and do it. I proved to myself that I can do it."
Schoeneweis is a Duke graduate and sometimes his intellectual side gets the better of him. Sox catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. said Schoeneweis has a tendency to overanalyze situations instead of simply trusting his talent to make pitches.
"His stuff is so good that all he has to do is pound the inside of the plate," Alomar said. "That opens up the outside part of the plate."
Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said Alomar's experience can be extremely beneficial for someone like Schoeneweis because the veteran catcher is so adept at calling games. Alomar has been behind the plate for Schoeneweis' first two starts and the lefty said he shook off Alomar only three times in the two starts.
"Sandy does a heck of a job back there and takes a lot of pressure off me," Schoeneweis said. "It gives me the ability to execute the pitch and get the sign and have the conviction behind it and hit the glove."
Schoeneweis was in trouble only twice Saturday. In the first he gave up a one-out single and walk, but got Aubrey Huff to hit into an inning-ending double play.
He should have gotten out of the seventh inning without allowing a run after giving up a leadoff walk to Huff and a two-out single to Julio Lugo. Brook Fordyce then hit what should have been an inning-ending ground ball that shortstop Jose Valentin muffed. Huff scored and manager Ozzie Guillen came out to get Schoeneweis.
Cliff Politte pitched a third of an inning and Damaso Marte the final two innings to nail down the victory.
"[Schoeneweis] was facing a pretty good hitting team and to shut them out the way he did was outstanding," Guillen said. "His command was right where he wanted it to be."