MINNEAPOLIS - Ozzie Guillen wasn't real thrilled with the news that the club had to place pitcher Bartolo Colon on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of elbow soreness, but the White Sox manager was even less thrilled that Colon didn't let anyone know he was hurting until Tuesday.
"No, I don't even think Colon knows about it,'' Guillen responded, when asked if he had an idea he was hurting.
It was then pointed out to Guillen that Colon was playing dominos before the game, rather than getting treatment.
"I think that's the Dominican style - when you're hurt, you play dominos,'' Guillen said. "I was kind of upset because our trainers didn't even know anything about the situation. And when we got the news, I talked to [head trainer] Hermie [Schneider] about it. He didn't have anything about it. I had the medical report, and I don't see anything with Colon and all of a sudden he couldn't [pitch].
"[General manager] Kenny [Williams] wasn't too happy. I was disappointed because if you feel something ... you're not going to feel soreness from one day to another. You have to feel that. Unfortunately, that's the way he handled it, and I think he handled it the wrong way. You feel something, you should tell the trainers where you're at.''
The Sox called lefty reliever Randy Williams up for Colon's spot and told Clayton Richard he was back in the starting rotation, getting the nod on Friday.
The return of Matt Thornton from the birth of his daughter also brought the bullpen back up to full strength.
July 2009 Archives
MINNEAPOLIS - Ozzie Guillen wasn't real thrilled with the news that the club had to place pitcher Bartolo Colon on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of elbow soreness, but the White Sox manager was even less thrilled that Colon didn't let anyone know he was hurting until Tuesday.
MINNEAPOLIS - Even Mark Buehrle is getting sick of discussing Mark Buehrle.
So when the White Sox announced on Wednesday that they will now have the "Buehrle Appreciation Series'' during the Aug. 4-6 series with the Angels, well, unless deer hunting was involved in the pregame, the left-hander was starting to feel a bit out of his comfort zone.
"I'm not into the whole attention stuff,'' Buehrle said. "They even said something about me throwing out the first pitch and I said, 'I'll still catch it if you want someone else to throw it to me. I don't really care about throwing out the first pitch.' If I do, I thought about throwing it over the catcher's head or in the dirt to see if I
can get booed off the field for the first pitch.''
It would be the only place Buehrle is booed these days, fresh off his perfect game last week and then setting a major-league record in his follow-up start on Tuesday by retiring 45 consecutive hitters, breaking the mark of 41 by Bobby Jenks and Jim Barr.
The Sox feel that warrants three games of a series to commemorate their pitcher, starting with limited edition "Mark Buehrle Perfect Game Placard's'' on Tuesday. Buehrle has already had a "Mark Buehrle Day'' back in his hometown of St. Charles, Mo., after the 2005 World Series, so it should seem no big deal. Then again, this is Mark Buehrle.
"It's a crazy thing,'' Buehrle said. "I'm more shocked than anything.''
Buehrle did admit, however, that the idea of his streak of 45 hitters sat down finally sank in, thanks in large part to third base coach Jeff Cox.
" 'Coxsie' said it best,'' Buehrle explained. "Right here, as everyone was kind of leaving [the clubhouse], he was throwing some cuss words in there like, 'Mark Fing Buehrle? Are you kidding me? This game has been around 120 years and Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson, Cy Young and Bert Blyleven, all the guys names, and Mark Buehrle, are you kidding?'
"I had tears in my eyes, I was laughing so hard. But that just kind of showed how long the game has been around and I set a record and I ain't sharing it with anyone else. It's just me. For me to have something over all the great pitchers in this game, it kind of sinks in a little more.''
One place there will be no "Mark Buehrle Day,'' however, is in Minneapolis, where Twins fans didn't take kindly to what sounded like Buehrle dismissing the hits the Twins eventually did get on him. He did say after the loss, "It's probably one of the most fired up I've been after a game. I'll get in too much trouble ... but I'm not a big fan of broken bat bloop singles.''
A day later, Buehrle wasn't backing down.
"You can say I'm a whiner or whatever else,'' Buehrle said. "If I give up hits, I don't mind if they crush the ball and get a base hit. I know it's baseball and it's going to happen but it still doesn't make it any easier for me. I hate giving up bloop singles.''
He hates the Metrodome more.
"Oh, yeah,'' Buehrle added, when asked if he was looking forward to the outdoor stadium the Twins move into next season. "I'm not saying this team is going to be bad but I think it's going to be a totally different team when they go outside. They won't have the turf, but that's how they build their team to play on this 80 games a year. You can't take that way from them.''
MINNEAPOLIS - To no one's surprise, including his own, Josh Fields was demoted to Class AAA Charlotte after the game, and had no problem admitting that he now wants to be traded.
"No,'' the once highly-touted prospect responded, when asked if he was upset with the decision. "I had a meeting with [general manager Ken Williams Tuesday] before the game. It was one of best meetings I
had with them. Everything has been good so far. Only hope look out for me somehow and if a team is looking for someone like me, help me out.''
Asked if that meant he wanted to be elsewhere, Fields said, "I think yeah, we had a good discussion in there. So we will see, couple of days left before deadline, hopefully something happens.''
MINNEAPOLIS - Catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez had words between the second and third innings, with Pierzynski obviously upset with the shortstop, and seemingly not letting it go.
Cameras picked up Pierzynski yelling at Ramirez and then saying stuff as he was walking away, until Ramirez had enough and went after the catcher.
Jermaine Dye then grabbed Ramirez, doing his best to cool things down.
"I'm not commenting on that,'' Dye said later.
Asked if it was over, Dye replied, "Go ask the players involved or the manager.''
Whatever happened didn't sit well with manager Ozzie Guillen, who then kicked a bucket of bubblegum out of the dugout, yelling at his team.
"That's us, that's private,'' Guillen said. "I don't like my players digging into each other for no reason. I'm the one that makes those calls, I'm the one that gets into the players' butts. I was a little upset about it, but that's part of the game.''
So why the bubblegum kick?
"I was upset with the way we were playing, too, and everything came together in the same inning,'' Guillen said. "I was upset because things like that can't happen. I'm the one that puts the fingers on the players because this is my job, and anybody have a problem with that they know what to do.''
From what Guillen was saying, it sounded like he didn't appreciate his players for getting on each other for a message that should come from him.
"It happened, it's over,'' Pierzynski said. "You move on. And that's it. Whatever happened, happened. And that's it.''
DETROIT - The demise of Clayton Richard as a starter to the bullpen may have been highly exaggerated.
Following the left-hander's second consecutive dominant performance on Sunday night, manager Ozzie Guillen admitted that they will now have something to discuss as far as what to do with the southpaw.
Clayton was expected to be heading to the bullpen, joining Matt Thornton as the two lefties down there, but Guillen was now planning to have a discussion with general manager Ken Williams about an alternate plan with Clayton - possibly giving him one more start.
"Last two outings this kid has been great,'' Guillen said after Sunday's win over Detroit. "I've got to sit down with Kenny on the plane ride to Minnesota] and talk about it. See if we have better ideas. What we have to do to keep him in the role, give him another shot. The way he pitched the last couple games he's been great.''
Guillen was then asked if Richard had changed his mind about putting him back in the bullpen.
"To me, yeah. To me,'' he replied. "I'm the boss of the team, the manager, but this team runs by coaches, manager and general manager. We do all things together. [Today] we should have a better idea.
"Right now it seems like we have a six-man rotation, but I don't want to do that. In the meanwhile, this kid is pitching so great, we have to sit down and talk. See what the matchups are going to be and what we need.''
The emergence of Richard could be win-win for the Sox in another way.
If there is a front-line pitcher out there to be had, Richard's stock is through the ceiling right now and he could be part of a package for the Sox to land a No. 1 or 2.
Arizona is rumored to have told Williams no twice in the attempts to land ace Dan Haren, but the growth of Richard could help pry Haren loose at this point.
As far as Richard is concerned, the big difference in what he's doing now has to do with him just loosening up.
"There's some factors that go into it,'' Richard said. "I just realized that baseball is a fun game and why not have fun when I'm playing it?''
With Bartolo Colon back in the mix, and Freddy Garcia throwing three scoreless innings for Class A Kannapolis Sunday night, all of a sudden the Sox have multiple options for the starting rotation.
When's the last time they could brag about that?
DETROIT - It was a statement that should have raised a few more eyebrows when it came out of the mouth of A.J. Pierzynski last season.
Unfortunately, the White Sox catcher had numbers and an ugly trend to back up what he was saying.
"It seems like guys come in here with their heads down before the first pitch is thrown,'' Pierzynski explained when asked about trips to the Metrodome.
Less than a year removed from when Pierzynski said that, very little has changed. Just ask Jermaine Dye.
"Yeah, I think so,'' Dye said Sunday, when asked if he agreed with Pierzynski's assessment. "It's the same with any club. There are certain teams in certain stadiums that you go to that you have bad luck against. I remember when I was in Oakland, we knew when Chicago came to town we were going to beat them. It continued when I came over here. When we go to Oakland it's hard for us to win. Some teams, some stadiums have your number in certain places and it's hard to point a finger at what it is.''
Not that Dye didn't at least try to explain why the Sox have lost 11 of their last 13 there.
Forget the fact that the Twins are fundamentally more sound than the Sox are on their best day, but according to Dye, they play in the one ballpark that gives them a bigger home advantage than any other team in the American League has.
"The thing is when you play in that stadium against that club, they're very good there,'' Dye said. "They not only give us fits, but I've heard guys like Derek Jeter talk about how you have to get all 27 outs on them or they'll eat you up.
"With the kind of team they have, tailored to play in that park. It is probably the field that has the most advantage for that club. You don't want to run into them there in a short series. Hopefully guys will get up a little bit more for this series.''
Monday starter John Danks at least seemed like he was up for it.
Making his first start since being shut down last week with circulation problems in his left index finger, Danks is a lifetime 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in the Dome.
"We're not going in defeated,'' Danks said. "We know we have to play well. It's definitely different than playing at U.S. Cellular, I don't think that's any secret. We go out there and play well we definitely can win, but we have to throw strikes and play good defense.''
DETROIT - Hours before his date with destiny, Mark Buehrle looked down at his cup-holder in his drive to the ballpark, saw it was empty and could only say two words - "Oh [crap].''
So much for being "Mr. I'm Not Superstitious.''
The fact is, the White Sox left-hander is indeed superstitious. One of his superstitions just happens to be talking and goofing around during his no-hitters, basically spitting in the face of the baseball gods that have long believed that pitchers in the middle of such an act are not to be approached or spoken to.
"People act like these guys have communicable diseases when a no-hitter is going on,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said.
The game of baseball has as many superstitions in it as it has players. From certain guys that won't step on the chalk lines to others that eat the exact same meal before every game, the idea of teammates keeping their distance from pitchers that are working on a no-hitter has been around as long as anyone associated with the Sox could remember.
In throwing his perfect game on Thursday, just the 18th in big-league history, Buehrle was seen joking and talking with teammates between innings, almost mocking that tradition. Not so fast. While Buehrle was the profile of calm, he was sort of a mess a few hours before the game started.
"That's the weird thing,'' Buehrle said. "I do have 'routines.' I usually stop at this one gas station on the way to the ballpark before I pitch, stop and get an energy drink that I drink on the way. That day I forgot. I passed the gas station, got more than halfway to the field, looked down at my empty cup-holder and said, 'Are you [crapping] me?'
"Then everyone kept talking about how I was 14-1 at home since last year's All-Star Break and all that stuff, so when I told my wife she said, 'Now that everyone is mentioning it you're for sure losing.' On top of that I forgot my energy drink, so I texted her on the way, and told her, 'I'm definitely losing now - one, they're talking about my home record and also I forgot my energy drink.' ''
He did far from lose, however.
He had the performance of his career, despite teammates like Gordon Beckham even refusing to look at him in the dugout between innings as it was going on, afraid to jinx him somehow.
"It's one of those superstitious things that I don't go by just because you hear announcers bring it up when they have to tell the audience what's going on, guys in the other dugout are saying it,'' Buehrle said. "In this instance, facing Tampa Bay, fans at home or in the bars are saying it, trying to jinx me, so I don't believe in it.''
Not only was that jinx idea being tested in the dugout on Thursday, but in the broadcast booth. Radio announcers Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson never came out and said that Buehrle was in the middle of a perfect game at any point in the broadcast.
"I said, 'Zeroes across,' I said, 'He's perfect through six, perfect through seven.' I said, 'Come back for the ninth, this could be something special,' '' Farmer recalled. "I'm not superstitious but there are some fans, for some reason that feel like it effects what's going on down on the field. It's not a group of fans, it's a select few that quiz you at SoxFest and say, 'You know you said this ... ' Well, it's my job to say this. I try to appease everyone.''
Especially one person, who signs the checks and goes by the nickname "The Chairman.''
"I said, 'He's retired everybody he's seen.' '' Jackson said. "I never came out and said he had a perfect game going because there are people in power here that I know very well that frown on you bringing that stuff up.''
That person? Board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
"Jerry is very superstitious,'' Jackson said. "I don't want Jerry to come to me and say, 'It was your fault ... ' Because he has told me it's been my fault in the past.''
So Buehrle's dirty secret is now out: He's as superstitious and bizarre as the next major-leaguer. But now he's in a quandary. He pitched a perfect game without the security of his energy drink for the drive in.
"I don't know what I'll do now,'' Buehrle admitted. "I'll probably put it in my mind that I have to do it and then drive by the gas station and forget from now on. That's a tough one.''
DETROIT - One day after being perfect, he was back to simply being Mark Buehrle.
Still caught up in the whirlwind of pitching just the 18th perfect game in major-league history in Thursday's unforgettable performance against Tampa Bay, the White Sox pitcher was asked what the past 20 hours or so had been like.
After all, there were calls from the President of the United States, his face plastered all over the television, as a matter of fact, the talk of the entire sports world.
And in all that madness the "coolest'' thing that stuck out in the mind of the guy born - and still lives - in St. Charles, Mo.?
"Probably the coolest [text] I got was Mark Drury from the Drury Brothers,'' Buehrle replied. "He said he was in a cornfield in Iowa doing some food plots and said he had it on in the radio on the tractor, and I told him, 'I wish I could have been there with him to be putting some food plots in.' But I think that was the coolest message I got.''
Mark Drury is some sort of big deal in the hunting world. Yep, same old Mark Buehrle.
"You ask all his teammates and there wouldn't be a better guy for it to happen,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's so humble. He's excited and should feel proud. I just talked to him today, and yesterday after the game on the airplane, he seemed like nothing happened, like we just won another game. I don't think he found out yet what he did.''
Actually he did, except it Buehrle's world it's not as big a deal as it would be for most major leaguers.
His big celebration Thursday night once they arrived in Detroit was going out to dinner with assistant hitting coach Mike Gellinger, Gellinger's wife, Kelly, assistant trainer Brian Ball and Paul Konerko, with most of the dinner conversation centering around Konerko trying to figure out the percentage of pitching a perfect game.
By the way, according to Elias Sports Bureau it is roughly 0.000092 percent.
"Even after the game I was packing my bag and [reliever Scott] Linebrink said, 'How are you even packing your bag. I can't even pack right now,' '' Buehrle recalled. "I said, 'I got to get on the flight. I can't do anything about it.' I think it was more sitting back and try to figure out what happened. But [Thursday] night, it was like a normal day, getting your bags packed and getting on the plane.''
For Buehrle, it might be. But he is now shed in a new light, joining Cy Young, Sandy Koufax. Randy Johnson, Jim Bunning and Addie Joss as the only six pitchers ever to throw both a no-hitter and a perfect game in their careers, and only Johnson and Buehrle aren't members of the Hall of Fame.
So the question had to be asked, did Thursday make him Hall of Fame worthy?
"Hall of Fame is going to need people to get in,'' Guillen said. "You will see people in with 200 wins, 220 or 250. There's no doubt. You have to. I don't think any pitcher is going to last long enough to win 300 games.''
Buehrle is currently 133-90.
"I think I got to do a lot more in this game to be thought of in that category,'' Buehrle said. "Obviously, it's an honor for people to even mention that. I got 130 wins now. I need a lot more wins and a lot more stuff in this game to be mentioned there.''
Buehrle's biggest worry now? What to buy his teammates as a thank you. His no-hitter got everyone watches. This time he was thinking "cufflinks, and whatever that thing's called that goes over a tie.''
Same old Mark Buehrle.
Ozzie Guillen admitted that he really "didn't know the kid'' when Jim Parque's name was brought up to the White Sox manager on Thursday morning.
But that didn't stop Guillen from praising Parque's honesty in his admittance to using HGH in an exclusive article that appeared in the Sun-Times.
"It's one thing, I tip my hat to him,'' Guillen said of the former Sox pitcher. "At least he's got guts to say so, and admit it and let people know what he did wrong. We need more of that. I think it's something people got to look themselves in the mirror and say it.
"I'm not gonna say I don't blame him, because that sounds stupid for me. But the big boys taking it, and they're good, and that's what will get me to survive in this game, then I will do it. That's maybe what was going through his mind. But I'm glad he came out and say it. I'm proud of him. Like I say, I don't know the kid but he should look himself in the mirror and feel proud of what he say. It's not easy to say that.''
Guillen was then asked if he feels different about players who were using performance-enhancing drugs to recover from an injury, like Parque claimed he was, from players that use it to simply enhance their numbers, and responded with a "no doubt.''
"I think that when you come back and try to survive injuries, and try to survive, the other guys try to make money and be better,'' Guillen said. "There's three reasons to admit something: You're going to make money out of it. I don't think anybody is gonna buy his freaking book. To sleep at night. Or to be noticed and be in the public eye. That's the only three reasons you do that. And I think this kid, to me, just did it because he wants to sleep well. And he wanted to show people out there when you do the wrong thing, it still doesn't work.
"I wish I was his father, I wouldn't have let him take it. If I were his father I'd be proud of him to come out and say it. It's not an easy situation.''
General manager Ken Williams, who Parque publicly apologizes to for his conduct when Williams was in the process of releasing the lefty, said he hadn't read the article, but had been told what it was about.
"If that is in fact what he has come out and said, then at a time when he doesn't have to say it and doesn't have to expose himself like that, I think that shows a tremendous amount of courage and character,'' Williams said. "Whatever he's done in the past, these are things that he and others like him are going to have to live with. Good for him. He probably has washed away a lot of things that have been on his conscious.''
As far as Sox player reaction, only Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko were teammates of Parque.
"We're all human beings and you can take every single case individually,'' Konerko said. "To look at it, if Jim walked in here right now, I wouldn't look at him any differently than the last time I saw him. It doesn't matter to me. I guess it hits everyone a different way. Until it affects you personally, if a guy is taking your job or taking something from you or your family, you have no opinion about it and that's the way I've approached it.''
Brian Anderson isn't going anywhere.
Looking to get traded from the White Sox at different moments over the past two seasons, the Sox outfielder, who was just demoted to Class AAA Charlotte, will remain in the Sox system for now, unless there is a serious change of heart around baseball.
According to a Sox source on Thursday morning, Anderson was shopped weeks leading up to the decision to keep Dewayne Wise on the active roster over Anderson, and had been shopped around the last few days with no takers.
Whether or not the club can somehow make him a throw-in if there is a bigger packaged trade for a front-line starter out there in the next week remains to be seen, but for now Anderson is stuck.
Ozzie Guillen is sticking with Bobby Jenks as his closer.
Don't like it?
"He's my closer and if people don't want him to be my closer, don't come to the God damn game,'' the White Sox manager insisted on Wednesday.
In blowing the save in Tuesday's loss, Jenks has now allowed six earned runs over his last five outings (10.13 ERA). But coming off the field in his latest dismal outing, Jenks was met with boos from the U.S. Cellular Field faithful.
"He will be my closer until he can't do it anymore,'' Guillen continued. "It's a shame how short a memory people have. A real shame. I grew up in this city, and when you blow one game, not two, just one, obviously that broke their heart. There's nobody in this room that feels worse than him. All of a sudden people treat him like a piece of garbage and the way they treat him is not fair. It's not fair.
"This guy since we got him has been great. He will continue to be great. He's a human being, he had a bad night. I know he will turn the corner and continue to have success. But that hurt and made me really upset and pissed when a kid have a bad night and we treat him like that. That's really a shame. It's sad. Because all of a sudden what do you think is gonna go to his mind. If this kid blows 20 saves in a season I don't blame you guys, not the media, but people out there acting the way they are. That's pretty, I want to say, pretty embarrassing. Wow, what did this kid do to this town to make people treat him like that?''
According to pitching coach Don Cooper, Jenks has had a slight mechanical problem with his balance, but it was worked on before Wednesday's game.
And as far as Jenks?
He will once again lean on one of his strengths - short-term memory.
"I'm usually very good about being able to let go of a bad game and not continuously have a run of bad outings,'' Jenks said. "It's just a little rut I'm in right now. Try to pitch through it and see if I can get better.
"It's been frustrating more than anything, knowing I'm 100 percent healthy and going out there and not seeing the results with the way I feel. I think that's the biggest thing for me right now, just trying to get past the frustration, trying to do the little things on the side to get back to where I was.''
The hope is that John Danks will be sidelined with circulation issues in his left index finger for just one start.
However, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper wanted to hold his optimism for one more day, after team trainers spent Tuesday afternoon trying to find a way to remedy the problem.
Danks, who was scheduled to start Wednesday, had been dealing with a blister on the finger for about two weeks. They've tried working through the problem, including using glue to keep it shut, but Danks was now having issues with circulation in the finger, making it harder to get a feel of his pitches.
"We're hoping, but we don't have much information on what's going on,'' Cooper responded, when asked if it would be just one start. "We'll know more tomorrow. The trainers are doing more things with him today and we'll know more tomorrow where we're heading. All we know right now is he's not making the start tomorrow. Five days from now, not sure yet.
"They've tried glue, they've tried a lot of things. It's more than just a little discomfort right now. It's getting in the way of some focus, and the finger is bothering him enough where he has to come out.''
Manager Ozzie Guillen was a bit more optimistic.
"He'll miss one start and hopefully it's no more than that,'' Guillen said. "He was having trouble feeling the ball. We'll move him one start and hopefully that will be enough for him to come back and finish the rest of the season.''
Replacing Danks against the Rays will be right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres, who leads the International League with a 2.20 ERA and ranked second in strikeouts with 96.
Torres will get the call from Class AAA Charlotte, but Guillen wasn't sure what the corresponding move would be.
As far as Torres, Cooper said he was the best choice for the spot start.
"Mr. Torres has done a good job over the years in the system, and now he's doing it in Triple-A,'' Cooper said. "He's got a good fastball. I think I saw it the other night at 92-94 in the Triple-A All-Star Game. That night I also saw him locate his fastball, throw some good curveballs and some cutters. The consensus from everyone around him is that he's the right choice to come up here and fill in Danksi's spot [Wednesday].''
Danks was 8-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 18 starts so far this season.
Ozzie Guillen knew right when the announcement was made on Monday, the e-mail box would fill up.
So when the club sent out notice in the afternoon that Carlos Quentin was recalled from his rehab assignment with Class AAA Charlotte, and Brian Anderson was sent down over Dewayne Wise to make room for Quentin, sure enough, the "Ozzie is a racist'' comments were fired.
"What he needs to do is start playing better,'' Guillen said of Anderson's demotion to Charlotte. "It's been four years, and I've got a lot of e-mails from people calling me racists and stuff because, 'I don't like Anderson.' Well, when you don't like the players, they don't last too long. When I don't like one player, believe me, he'll be out of here in a hurry because I've got the power.
"If I tell [GM Kenny Williams], 'This guy isn't good for the ballclub,' Kenny will do everything he can to get him out of here. If people think we don't like Brian, yes we do, yes we do. I think Brian hasn't produced like we thought. We've given him four years in-a-row to produce, we gave him a shot to be the everyday center fielder and that didn't work. Since I've been managing the ballclub, we've given him a legit shot. Two months ago, I said 'He's going to be my center fielder every day,' and he couldn't do it. Some people think it's my fault and I hate him, but I have to make the best lineup and he didn't perform.''
Guillen said the main reason the move was made was because Wise gives him a speed guy off the bench that can pinch run late in games and brings some speed off the bench.
As far as the organization is concerned, there is an underlying feeling that while both players played the game hard, Wise played the game hard to stay here, while Anderson was playing hard in hopes of playing somewhere else.
Now that Quentin was back in left field, as well as his sixth spot in the order, Guillen was expecting the lineup to suddenly seem a bit more formidable.
"Carlos, I don't know what to expect,'' Guillen said. "He hasn't played at the big-league level for a while. I guess he's healthy enough to go out and compete here. The report we had [Sunday] was real good and that's why he's here.
"Obviously when Carlos is in the lineup he makes the lineup stronger, makes the lineup better, and he makes the team look a lot different - no doubt about it. In the meanwhile, we've got to do what we do. We have people to replace him, but hopefully we don't have to deal with this anymore. This kid is very important for the organization and a key player for us, so hopefully he stays here for good.''
Guillen's not alone in that hope.
"I have some soreness,'' Quentin admitted. "Something I'll just deal with, but it's nothing compared to what I experienced in the past before the injury and after the injury. I'm confident that, knock on wood, I won't have any setbacks and I think we tested that.''
Quentin said there was no reason he couldn't play back-to-back games or held back in anyway.
MINNEAPOLIS - Parents watching White Sox broadcasts this season never thought they would have to tell Junior, "Earmuffs kid.''
Then again, hearing television play-by-play man Ken "The Hawk'' Harrelson bellow out "yes, hell, yes,'' during the game wasn't expected to be a regular occurrence, either.
It has been, at least five and counting so far.
So how did Harrelson's newest catch phrase evolve?
Well, the first one came out in the June 14 win over Milwaukee, but the one that got the most attention was the two-run homer hit by Alexei Ramirez against the Cubs in a June 18 loss.
"It just came out, it just popped out,'' Harrelson said Sunday. "Then after the game, I'm not a texter, but I can get them, I know how to receive them. I must have had 30 texts on my phone, and that evening some of my good friends called me and said, 'I loved it man, I loved it.' ''
Harrelson did admit that not everyone has, however.
"Well, if that's the worst thing they hear or say ... I had probably 40 letters sent to me within four or five days after that first one, and there was one in there that said, 'I really don't appreciate it, I don't want my kid cussing ... ' or whatever, but I just got so excited,'' he explained.
And he did again on Saturday night, when Ramirez turned the double play on a grounder hit be the speedy Denard Span to end the Twins ninth-inning rally and seal the 8-7 win.
"If we would have blown that game [Saturday] night, you don't like to say it, but it could have been our season,'' Harrelson said. "Remember a few years ago, the famous [Jose] Paniagua game [in 2003] when he almost let the Twins back in the game? Even though [Minnesota] lost, come back like they did lifted them straight up. They went on to win the division. [Then Twin A.J. Pierzynski] said that game was one of the more defining moments of that year, because they were beaten on their ass, and all of a sudden they took off from almost making the comeback in that game.
"With this club, what I've noticed as I've gotten older is that my emotions get a little higher. You think they would be waning. But I want this club to win so bad. [Saturday] night when Span was up, I didn't think there was anyway we would get the double play. When he hit that ball on the 1-1 pitch, and I saw Alexei was going to get the double play, I said, 'Yes, hell yes, this game is O-vah.' It's not contrived. If it was, I wouldn't do it.''
In other words, it won't be going away anytime soon.
MINNEAPOLIS - The White Sox have been pulling the "attendance'' card the last week, whenever talk of adding payroll to help this year's team has come up, but manager Ozzie Guillen said on Saturday that if there is a player out there that can help get them over the top, Kenny GM would look to add.
"Obviously for us, it's not easy to add another player,'' Guillen first said. "It's not. Like I said in the past - this is a small-market team in a big city. I don't say a small market, just to feel sorry for the White Sox. But in the meanwhile, it's not easy for us. Like every money we make, it goes to the ballclub. But if we need something and I think it's going to be best for the club and take a shot to win this thing, I can see that happened. But we have to be for sure what's coming next. I don't think we're going to give up three or four players, key players, for the future, just to rent a player for year. I don't think that works. But that's Kenny's job, that's Kenny's call. And I don't see that happening if he wants to give up many players.''
Guillen was then asked about a deadline deal, and continued on the topic.
"If we're going to make a trade, is the player going to make the difference? Like I always say, when you make a trade for a big-name guy, it doesn't give you any guarantee you're going to win the division. That's why you have to be careful. You have to notice what you want in the future, what you're future is going to be and how much you're going to win it. That's a different thing to go through for that idea.
"If someone is going to make a trade, and they're going to ask for three of my starting pitchers, I don't care how good you are. I don't. Because all of a sudden, you don't do anything good. But believe me, if we get there and we need a piece to get this thing better, I think Kenny will do it.''
Another interesting statement to come out of Guillen's mouth was after he was asked of the 2009 team was better than the won the Central in 2008.
"Right now I think so because we can win a little different ways,'' Guillen said. "We do. I think you look around last year, the main guys were [John] Danks and [Gavin] Floyd. They're the ones who stepped up. We didn't have Josie [Contreras], I think right now maybe we're missing one guy, and that's Carlos [Quentin]. But I think we've been scoring runs without home runs. I think our defense is better even though we're making more errors. But that's the reason you make more errors because you get to more balls. I think we're more athletic this year than in the past.''
MINNEAPOLIS - It's been assumed that this would be Jermaine Dye's final swan song on the South Side this year, whether it was a July 31 trade deadline deal or keeping him through 2009, and simply letting him walk into free agency.
Not so fast.
It's becoming very apparent that the White Sox need Dye more than they have been letting on, and for the first time, maybe more than he needs them.
No wonder Ozzie Guillen was so adamant about a scenario in which the Sox actually re-sign Dye to a contract extension, or at least pick up their end of the mutual option, paying him $12 million for the 2010 season.
"Believe me, I want to sign J.D.,'' Guillen said on Friday. "If you ask me if I want J.D. here, of course I want him. If you ask [general manager] Kenny [Williams] if you want J.D. here, he'll say the same stuff. We're going to see how we finish. That's my opinion. I hope he signs tomorrow. I love that man. That guy has been great for me. I guess we got to wait to see how we finish the season, which way we're going to go next year.''
But what choice do they have?
Dye won't budge on his decision to discuss anything past this season with the media, but indicated in 2008 that he would be willing to give the Sox a hometown discount to stay and finish his career with them. Looking at the outfield situation throughout the Sox farm system, it is void of any real pop.
With Jose Contreras and Jim Thome likely coming off the books, Dye is still affordable. Or so it would seem.
"Our attendance has been pretty bad because we've played bad the first two months of the season,'' Guillen continued. "They have to weight a lot of different things. But if you ask me about it, if I have the money, you're not going to have two J.D.s. But in the meanwhile, it's not my department.''
Let the debate begin.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Mark Buehrle is finally going to play in St. Louis.
Breath easy White Sox fans, he still has to return to the South Side for the second half of the season.
A life-long Cardinals fan, Buehrle was named the lone representative from the Sox to make the July 14 All-Star Game played in St. Louis' Busch Stadium.
Buehrle, who grew up in nearby St. Charles, Mo., was already discussing the ticket load that will have to be met, considering the number of family members that will want to take the short drive for the mid-Summer's Classic.
"Well, I had a head start on it early when the list came up in Chicago,'' Buehrle said. [Traveling secretary] Eddie [Cassin] helped me out with getting a lot. I think I had 26 previously. I talked to [former Sox pitcher Jon] Garland, and he got me 10 extra. I'm still trying to get stuff for the immediate family.''
Of course Buehrle was already hearing the jokes in the clubhouse about will he try on a Cardinals jersey while he's there, or would he start negotiating his next contract with St. Louis since he's in town. That was to be expected since he had been in the headlines numerous times telling St. Louis representatives in annual offseason award dinners that he eventually wanted to be a Cardinal.
Enough so that general manager Ken Williams even got angered by it after there was a picture of Buehrle in a Cardinals hat at the 2006 World Series.
Buehrle signed a contract extension through 2011, and then who knows what his future holds. That doesn't mean he won't be embracing the St. Louis experience come next week.
"It will be,'' Buehrle responded when asked if the entire homecoming would be surreal. "[His wife] Jamie just asked me if I wanted [son] Braden to go. I would like for him to be there because this could be the last time I go [to an All-Star Game] before I'm done with baseball. Hopefully I can get him down in the clubhouse and get some pictures with him so he can remember this moment.''
Buehrle leads all Sox pitchers with an 8-2 record, while his 3.09 ERA is also best among the starters. He anchors a pitching staff that was second in the American League in ERA with a 3.94, while the starting staff is also second with a 4.02 ERA.
Yes, that made the now four-time All-Star surprised that he was the only Sox player going.
"It seems we could have had at least one or two guys go, especially in pitching, and there are a couple of guys from the offense,'' Buehrle said. "But that's the way it happens.''
Buehrle mentioned Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks as several players that were worthy of the call, but also reliever Matt Thornton.
"Thornton is one of those guys, if anybody, I would like to see him go, just a middle reliever and those guys don't get recognized that much,'' Buehrle said. "Everyone else around the league hasn't really seen what he has done for this team.''
As far as the week leading up to the game, Buehrle is scheduled for two more starts, including the first-half finale game against Minnesota, but said that Tuesday would be his side day to throw anyway, so would be available to pitch for the AL Team.
"I think it will soak in more once I get there, being home, and tons of friends and family are going to be there,'' Buehrle added. "Just playing in Busch Stadium, it will all sink in more when I get there.''
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Scott Podsednik knows that the chances of him being named to the All-Star Team are slim.
But if his name is called Sunday afternoon, what a story it would be for the White Sox outfielder.
"I told myself that I would like to win one more World Series and make at least one more All-Star Game, so it would feel good,'' Podsednik admitted on Saturday. "Especially with the road I took to get here, being at my house at the beginning of the season in April, and then in July, being somewhat considered for an All-Star Game would be pretty special for me.''
There is no question that Podsednik has re-invented himself - on and off the field since the Sox signed him to a minor-league deal back in April and recalled him in early May. Before the afternoon game with the Royals, he detailed that change.
"That's the biggest difference in my game from two to three years ago to now, I used to play the game with a lot of anxiety,'' Podsednik said. "I pressed, I tried to go out and make things happen. I tried to take all the things I've learned in my years in the big leagues and make myself better. That's what has helped me the most, to find the ability to go out and play the game at a relaxed level. Just let my talents and abilities come out without trying to make it happen. That's the number one thing.
"A big step toward that was the spring training game I played against the Sox near the end of camp. The Rockies had told me, 'You're not going to make this club [just before the game],' and from there I had nothing to lose. I went out, had fun and played the game really relaxed. A light kind of went off and I told myself, 'Hey, you need to figure out how to take the field that relaxed day in and day out.' ''
Podsednik had two hits off Mark Buehrle that day, but more importantly showed Sox general manager Ken Williams he could still play.
Now, he has become the catalyst as the Sox leadoff hitter, and is receiving praise like, "I think God sent Podsednik to us'' from manager Ozzie Guillen.
As far as Podsednik was concerned, however, he's just finally having fun.
"That's the thing - I'm genuinely having fun out on the field,'' Podsednik said. "I've learned how to create the games inside the game that have really helped me, really breaking the game down to kind of its simplest form - putting the bat on the baseball and trying to outrun the ball to first, things of that nature, not letting balls fall in out in left field. I'm just having fun out there playing and it's helping me.''
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The timetable on Carlos Quentin returning to the starting lineup is still a bit blurry, but for the first time in over a month, the White Sox now have a starting point with their All-Star left fielder.
Manager Ozzie Guillen announced on Friday, that Quentin was sent out to Class AAA Charlotte and was scheduled to play three innings with the Knights on Saturday.
The 2008 MVP candidate has been on the shelf with Plantar Fasciitis in his left foot since May 26, and said two weeks ago that even if the tendon in the foot holds up the rest of the season, he could be facing offseason surgery when the curtain falls on 2009.
Guillen and the organization want to make sure that he just gets to the end of this season without any setbacks.
"We'll see what happens,'' Guillen said. "I'm very optimistic about his improvement. But in the meanwhile, I have to see it first, then I'll get excited.''
While Quentin could join the team right after the All-Star Break, Guillen hopes that Quentin is honest with where he's at during his rehab, and the club has its guard up on when to bring him back.
"He should play a little bit more to see exactly where he is,'' Guillen continued. "I know when you send any player from the majors to Triple-A, they get anxious to get back here.''
Before going down to injury, Quentin was hitting .229 with eight home runs.
Shortstop Alexei Ramirez had to leave the game in the eighth inning with an injured finger on his right hand. According to manager Ozzie Guillen, he will miss at least Thursday's game in Kansas City, and will be re-evaluated based on what x-rays tell them Thursday afternoon.
The injury first occurred on Tuesday, fielding a ball in batting practice.
Guillen said he was hoping it wasn't serious. If he does have to miss some time, the Sox have options with Jayson Nix or even moving Gordon Beckham to his natural position of shortstop.
CLEVELAND - Mark Buehrle's one and only job is to take the baseball and go to the mound every fifth day.
He was thankful on Wednesday about that being his only job description.
"We're playing good right now and that's always good,'' the face of the starting rotation insisted, when asked about the pulse of his team. "It's fun when you come to the park, and we feel like we're going to win every game. But I still can't forget that we've gone back and forth. We've had a good week or two and then it seems like we can't win a game and nothing goes right. I really don't know.''
Yes, the Sox had fun beating up on the sinking Indians, but Buehrle isn't stupid. He's glanced at the schedule, and knows that post All-Star Break is when pretenders and contenders will be separated.
That means six more games up in Minnesota after the Break, as well as eight games with Boston, three in New York, four with the Rays, and two West Coast trips which have always been dream killers for the South Siders.
The one week that caught Buehrle's eye, however? Hell week, starting Aug. 24. The Sox travel to Fenway for four, three at the new Yankee Stadium and then three in the House of Horrors that is the Metrodome, only to come home and play a Sept. 3 make-up game with the Cubs, and their rat friends, at Wrigley Field.
"You look ahead and see the schedule, yes, it's not in our favor,'' Buehrle admitted. "We've got a tough schedule ahead of us, but we have to figure out what we're going to do by the [July 31] trade deadline, before the schedule gets tough like that. I don't know if [general manager Ken Williams] will put that in the picture when he decides what we're going to do.
"It's every other week with us. We play good and we're buyers, we play bad and we're sellers. I still think, I mean I don't know what Kenny is going to do, but it still seems like it will come down to how we play here the next couple weeks before the trade deadline and that will dictate what he's doing.''
What would Buehrle do?
"Well,'' he responded, "that's why I pitch every five days and let Kenny deal with that.''
His manager's take on the ballclub and where it is, well, that isn't much different. Ozzie Guillen isn't ready to go out and start printing playoff tickets just yet.
"When Kenny asked me about it, I was honest about it,'' Guillen said. "I said, 'Well Kenny, you got to give me another week to be honest with you because right now I'm confused.' And I told you guys in the media, I'm confused. I don't hide anything, that's my problem. I'm confused. One day we play good, three days we play bad. Of course I have to be confused, we were like 10 games under .500, that's not a good team. Or we a good team playing real bad.
"Little by little, we've started to hit better, the kids start contributing a little bit more, and they take the heat away from the big boys when they start doing more. Then [John] Danks and Gavin [Floyd] and [Clayton] Richard are starting to contribute by pitching well. To have Jose [Contreras] come back and pitch the way he has, it's like we traded for somebody. The ballclub right now is great. How long are we going to be great? Hopefully from now until November. That's my goal.
"My goal is to convince those guys we can win. My goal is to make those guys believe every day there's nobody better than us, even if they are.''