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Cowley’s Top 5 …

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TUCSON, Ariz. – Top 5 observations to come out of the early days of spring training.

5. The Real Deal – It was instantly obvious on the first day of Nick Swisher’s arrival why general manager Ken Williams gave up so much to get him. If a lack of a swagger was truly one of the problems facing the White Sox clubhouse the last few years, problem solved. Swisher hasn’t had one at-bat on the South Side yet, but is already setting the stage to be one of the more popular players on the team. He has the grinder attitude of an Aaron Rowand, the cockiness of an A.J. Pierzynski and then brings his own style by dropping “man’’ in a sentence more than American Idol’s Randy Jackson. You need an example? “My old man played with the Cubs for all those years and told me about Chicago and what a great town it is,’’ Swisher said. “Man, it really is. I’ve had the chance to go there a few times and, I don’t know man, it’s like I’m getting giddy, like a little school kid.’’

4. Good Ol’ Boy – Any concerns that a $56-million contract extension would change Mark Buehrle were quickly put to rest on Wednesday. The lefty starter was his usual trash-talking self in his first session against live hitters, and especially had fun with “Buehrle-Killer’’ Jermaine Dye. Dye, who has owned Buehrle throughout his career, took a swipe at one Buehrle pitch and broke his bat. Buehrle started laughing, and yelled to Dye that he wanted the cracked bat autographed. No word yet on if his request was met.

3. Turn the Page – Pitcher John Danks pitched like, well, a rookie the second half of last season, but is poised to have a breakout year. Why? The southpaw has been working on a cutter similar to Buehrle’s since late last year, and now seems to have it mastered. Case in point: On Wednesday, facing live hitters, Danks squared off with spring roommate Josh Fields. “He keeps telling me about this cutter,’’ Fields said, before the showdown. After the seven-pitch at-bat, Fields seemed impressed. “Wow, I guess he wasn’t kidding,’’ Fields added. “It was nastier than advertised.’’

2. 65* - Outfielder Jerry Owens checked into camp on Tuesday, sounding, and looking, like he was all business. He’s sporting 10 pounds of muscle, as well as a fro that would make Linc from “The Mod Squad’’ jealous. Owens also called his own shot, predicting 65 stolen bases this season if he gets 500-plus at-bats.

1. Reality Check – As far as I’m concerned, few television shows rival MTV’s “Rob & Big,’’ but considering the living arrangements for Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski this spring, there’s a hit reality show in-waiting. “Boo-Zynski’’ just happens to be rooming with all 6-foot-6, 265 pounds of minor league conditioning coordinator Dale Torborg – aka “The Demon’’ from his days as a WCW wrestler. The introduction to the show itself would be priceless, with the theme song from “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’’ playing. Pierzynski then tosses a Frisbee towards his roommate, and “The Demon’’ promptly catches it, takes a bite out of it and throws it on the ground in anger. You hear me Hollywood – do your job!

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Good stuff Joe.....again, I like the attitudes so far.....Swisher will make some skeptics eat their words.....I know it is early but I like that some of the older guys are taking time to hang out with the younger players......makes for a better clubhouse.....go Sox!!

Trade im Tomme, Fields plays first, sign Crede and leave him at 3rd, and have Konerko DH. One Of our problems since we got Tomme is, not only no speed, but to many strike outs.....the other teams only have to field no more than 27 balls a game. Consider the Twins, they put the ball in play and play good defense.

Very good news to hear. Didn't exactly have this atmosphere in ST last year. I am a big fan of Swisher and I think it will end up being a great move for KW. Danks sounds like he is ready to turn that corner and become a legit #3. i think the rotation should look a little something like this
Pretty Boy Floyd

Wonder what Crede is thinking today after Sheffield breaks bad on Scott Boras. This after an offseason where ARod & The Gambler also fired the "bad person" and negotiated renewals with their current teams. Crede said just this week that he'd love to spend his career with the Sox while also saying that unlike some players, he makes the call as to where he wants to play. Maybe it's a bit clearer now to JC why he never received any contract extension numbers from the Sox GM. Got Kenny's cell # Joe?

The Danks part is the best of the top 5. It sounds like Buerhle's taken him under his wing & taught him how to throw a cut fastball.

We'll know soon enough whether Owens 10+ pds helps him lift more balls out of the IF, but I think the main reason he did was to address criticism of his arm strength. That's been a major knock against him for being an everyday CFer.

The White Sox will NEVER compete with the Tigers. Get over it.

Yes the "CHICKEN anonymous we will gladly accept your boycott for yourself. too bad you won't be one of the 3M fans to see the Sox march into the play-offs come October.. good for you chump another seat opens for us. Hurrah !

Great stuff from Cowley. This is the type of insights that make blogs really interesting. I was also wondering if Crede would start having second thoughts about putting his future in the hands of Boras Badanoff. Take Boras out of the picture and the Sox might have a chance to keep the best fielding 3rd baseman in MLB and the best fastball hitter in the clutch on the White Sox. I would hate to lose Joe as he is one of my favorite players. Come one Crede Boras lied to ARod during the Yankee negotiations, he lied to Sheff apparently over a variety of matters then harrasses him like crazy over money. Somebody needs to get in Joe's ear about how his dictator like agent will likely screw him too. For example it appears Boras probably failed to mention to Crede any overtures or even an offer the Sox might have to Crede.

Great read. I am looking forward to this season, to bad I'm in Florida and have to watch the other Sox. The statement I want to make is that anyone that posts under "Anonymous" should be boycotted. End of story, you want to talk baseball, be a man, leave your name, or have your wife write for you as she is the one who wears the pants in the family.

MacDougal plunked Crede & now he's got a swollen hand. The Giants aren't happy about that.

Crede sucks!!!!



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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on February 20, 2008 4:32 PM.

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