TUCSON, Ariz. - I don’t want to say my Friday morning flight into Tucson was a rocky one, but I sat next a chubby passenger named Hugo Reyes. He told me he liked to be called “Hurly.’’ So be it.
It might be awhile before I fly Oceanic Airlines again.
As for the baseball part of it, camp doesn’t officially even start until Saturday - when White Sox pitchers and catchers are expected to report - and there was already news flying around the clubhouse, courtesy of manager Ozzie Guillen.
The best of Guillen’s Day 1 remarks:
Guillen on the change of philosophy for this spring - “Obviously, we have a few players that are going to be separated to get more at-bats, but they are also getting at-bats in the A-games. If we have to play somewhere and you need to get work in, well, your butts are going to be on the bus. The only position player I will look at about traveling is Jim Thome. The reason is his health, his back and respect. I think the players will understand our point. Our point is not to win the Cactus League. Our point is to get ready for the season, but just start doing that the first day.’’
Guillen on returning to the controversial figure he was his first three years at the helm – “Last year, I said, ‘I’m going to back up a bit.’ I thought the players were like, ‘Oh, there goes Ozzie again.’ If they get tired of me now, good. That’s the way I’m going to handle my stuff.’’
Guillen on the fact that pitcher Nick Masset is 25 pounds lighter and looks serious about becoming a starter – “If I see Masset or [Lance] Broadway step it up and do a better job, well, we have to make decisions. Spring training is a tough place to judge players, but you know what? The competition is going to be honest. Everybody is going to be playing on the same field. Just because we mentioned five names [Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez, Jose Contreras, John Danks and Gavin Floyd], it doesn’t mean we’re going to go with them.’’
Guillen on the plans to trade Joe Crede if the third baseman’s surgically repaired back is healthy – “I don’t talk to [general manager Kenny Williams] about that. Zero, not at all. The only thing I can tell you guys is we’re going to have the best club out there. If we think we can win with Joe Crede, the trade thing, the contract stuff, that’s up to Kenny. In my situation, I have to write the lineup and I’m going to put down the best players that I think. It’s not an easy situation. I hope Joe is fine. No one knows. You have to ask his agent. The trainers, they don’t know. When he shows up here, hopefully he’s ready to play.’’
Guillen on speculation that the Sox could try and acquire second baseman Brian Roberts from Baltimore – “I have what I have, good or bad. I care less what people think. That’s Kenny’s department. If he comes up with a different idea the next couple days, we’ll see what happens. If people think we’re not good … good.’’