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Lefty Veal doesn't shy away from 'specialist' label

Lefty Veal doesn't shy away from 'specialist' label play video for Lefty Veal doesn't shy away from 'specialist' label

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The job title of left-handed specialist was hung on Donnie Veal during the 2012 season probably because he throws left-handed.

He threw only 13 innings over 24 stellar appearances and left-handers managed just three hits in 32 at-bats against him. The 28-year-old doesn't mind the title, even if the hurler who held right-handed hitters to a .154 average (2-for-13) understands he can do more.

"Everyone wants to do a little more. But that's the role so that's what I'm going to do," Veal said. "Honestly, as long as I'm on the team, lefty specialist or whatever, I don't really care."

Veal, who threw two innings in a Minor League game Saturday, certainly will break camp with the White Sox, even if he won't allow himself to believe that fact until manager Robin Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper or general manager Rick Hahn tell him. His Spring Training goal was to get the breaking ball back to where it was at the end of last year and really keep everything where it was at the end of last season because "it worked really well."

That effectiveness included his one-man mound wrecking crew of Detroit's Prince Fielder, who finished 0-for-5 with one strikeout against Veal in head-to-head matchups. To think the left-handed-hitting power source, who batted .313 overall with 30 homers and 108 RBIs, not to mention drawing 85 walks against 84 strikeouts, can't hit lefties would be wrong.

Fielder featured a .289 average against lefties with six homers and 46 RBIs. He was 3-for-3 last year against John Danks, with a double and two RBIs, 2-for-3 against Hector Santiago, and the White Sox still shake with frustration over Fielder's three-run bomb launched against Leyson Septimo in the seventh inning of an 8-6 Tigers victory on Sept. 12 in Chicago.

Chris Sale held Fielder to one hit in nine at-bats and Fielder was 0-for-2 against Matt Thornton, so White Sox lefties have figured out a way to retire the All-Star. But it's still easy to understand why Veal doesn't want to tempt fate where his streak against Fielder is concerned.

When asked about that particular success, Veal smiles, points out that it went well for him last year and plans on it going well again this year and adds just a bit more.

"He's a really good hitter and I'm not taking anything away from him," Veal said. "He's dangerous and that's why I try to stay away from him."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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