Top 5 observations to come out of the SoxFest weekend:
5. Make room: Speedy outfielder Jerry Owens might not win a starting job out of camp, but he will undoubtedly win a spot on the 25-man roster. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants him to make it, as does GM Ken Williams. That would give the Sox a platoon situation in the outfield with Carlos Quentin and Owens, as well as give Guillen a valuable pinch-run option late in games. Unless Owens is a disaster in camp, expect him to at least win the fourth outfield spot. Ozzie usually gets what Ozzie wants.
4. Just say “no’’: You want to make sure your kids stay away from drugs? I had a chance to catch up on VH-1’s ‘’Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew’’ over the SoxFest weekend, and just plop Junior in front of that for an hour and let him watch what drugs did to actor Jeff Conaway. Who would have ever thought that the actor that played Bobby Wheeler on the show “Taxi’’ would end up playing Reverend Jim Ignatowski in real life?
3. All eyes on second base: No spring battle will be more intriguing than the four-man dance for second base. In one corner you have the unknown in Cuban rookie Alexei Ramirez. In the other is up-and-comer Danny Richer. Then there’s Juan Uribe, fresh off losing his starting shortstop job to Orlando Cabrera and rumored to be angry about it. Finally, Guillen’s favorite player in Pablo Ozuna. Early odds? Never discount what Uribe can do. Ask a certain farmer in the Dominican Republic.
2. The natives were not restless after all: Maybe the trade for Nick Swisher really was enough to bring Sox fans off the roof. After spending an offseason reading and hearing threats of ticket boycotts from Sox fans, at least the ones that showed up last weekend were calm and upbeat. Then again, give it until June.
1. Joe Crede: The whispers around the organization still seem to point to the idea that if the third baseman shows up to camp and the back looks strong he will be gone by the middle of Cactus League play. The top suitor remains San Francisco, who may even have a deal in place with the Sox, contingent on the back recovery. The big reason why? Aaron Rowand. While talking to Williams in his first free-agent discussion with the club this offseason, the second question out of Rowand’s mouth – right after “That’s all the years can you give me?’’ – was about the future of his good friend Crede. Don’t think for a second that Rowand isn’t in the ear of Giants’ brass, campaigning for Crede to come West and be locked up to a contract extension.