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Axelrod enjoys economical opening effort

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dylan Axelrod's plan Saturday was to throw two or three innings, depending on his pitch count, in what turned out to be a 9-0 victory for the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

An economical first-inning effort that included strikeouts of the Dodgers' Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez made a third inning possible.

"That seven-pitch first inning let me go out there again," said the California native, who fanned four and allowed one Juan Uribe single over three scoreless innings.

Axelrod already has spoken about understanding the situation where he currently resides in regard to the 2013 White Sox rotation. Even if John Danks isn't deemed ready to break camp with the team, Hector Santiago looks to be secure in the sixth starter's slot.

Nonetheless, more strong outings like Saturday from Axelrod strengthens the team's confidence in the right-hander and could even make him a trade target for other teams.

"We're very deep, so my job is to be there if I'm needed, no matter what happens in spring or come the regular season," Axelrod said. "I'm trying to make a point that I can pitch at that level and compete."

"He set a good example right there for everybody, especially the young pitchers, to see that you don't have to throw 100 [mph] to be a pretty good pitcher," said Tyler Flowers, who caught Axelrod. "He's one of the best pitchers we have. His stuff might not be quite as electric and attract the attention of every fan in the stands, but as far as pitching, he has a pretty good idea of what he's doing and he can execute pretty much every pitch in the book."