MINNEAPOLIS - With the S.S. South Sider in full fledge sink mode, Captain Kenny was frantically trying to lighten the load with anything that wasn't nailed down.
And a big piece of cargo was tossed overboard Monday night, following yet another embarrassing 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on a road trip full of embarrassment.
With an 11 p.m. deadline for players to be moved before playoff rosters had to be set, an ESPN report had White Sox general manager Ken Williams sending out a list of players that were available, including Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Scott Linebrink, Scott Podsednik, Jose Contreras and Octavio Dotel.
By the time the deadline came and went Thome was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Justin Fuller, while Contreras went to the Colorado Rockies for cash and pitcher Brandon Hynick.
But that wasn't the only news the team received after dropping to 1-7 on this dismal road trip. The MRI of Jake Peavy's elbow came back clear, showing no structural damage, but there was fluid in the elbow from the comebacker he suffered in the Aug. 24 rehab game for Class AAA Charlotte.
While it would sound like good news, the fact that the Sox are now 64-68 could make it so there would be no reason to even pitch Peavy this season, shutting him down and getting him ready for 2010.
"That hasn't been said to me,'' Peavy said. "I saw a few doctors [Monday]. The biggest thing is the last start [on Saturday] was disappointing. Got it going and then had fluid build up. Structurally, my arm looked as good as it could look.
"No idea what to tell you except get here [today], play catch and see where I'm at. I couldn't play catch [Monday].
"We've come this far, not going to quit just yet. Hopefully get healthy and make a few starts this year.''
At this point, it's become almost why even try?
August 2009 Archives
MINNEAPOLIS - With the S.S. South Sider in full fledge sink mode, Captain Kenny was frantically trying to lighten the load with anything that wasn't nailed down.
MINNEAPOLIS - General manager Ken Williams had no comment concerning an ESPN report that said the club was waiving the white flag on the season by distributing a memo around the league to inform teams that certain members of the team were available for trade before the 11 p.m. CT deadline for postseason eligible players ran out on Monday night.
The story included the names of designated hitter Jim Thome, outfielder Jermaine Dye and reliever Scott Linebrink.
Thome and Dye could become free agents after this season, but Thome has a full no-trade clause, while Dye has a limited one that includes both New York teams, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington. As far as Linebrink, the Sox still owe the right-hander $5 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2011, so good luck trying to move that contract.
Williams, who is no longer with the team on this current 11-game road trip, simply chose to distance himself from answering the report, but just last week talked about how having his team now under the national microscope since the 2005 World Series win has made it more and more difficult to conduct Sox business.
"The interesting thing is, yes, there is a certain amount of pride that we have maintained a certain amount of competitiveness,'' Williams said then. "I still look at a couple of years prior to '05 where I felt we should have at least won the division and that still grates on me a little bit, but now as much as I like the fact that people do look at the White Sox and think they are going to be a tough, formidable opponent, I don't like what comes with that - the rumor-mill things and that part of it, because it makes it more difficult for me to do my job.
"But when you do as much as we do and you maneuver as much as we maneuver, that's just a residual effect I guess.''
NEW YORK - A dismal showing in Boston. An "embarrassing'' three days in New York. And now the reward for that?
Three games in the house of horrors that is the Metrodome, where the Sox have lost four straight games this season and are 2-14 there in their last 16 in the Twin Cities.
No wonder pitcher John Danks laughed and had to take a few moments to answer which ballpark he hated more - the Dome or Wrigley Field.
"We play there more, so I guess I'll say the Metrodome,'' Danks replied.
Considering he once said of Wrigley Field, "We'll all be bringing our nose plugs, try not to smell all the urine... that place is a (bleep)-hole,'' the Sox must really be excited that this will be their last series in the Metrodome with the new Target Field set to open for 2010.
"I'm glad this is the last series there, but I know come next April we'll all be wishing we were back indoors,'' Danks said. "Hopefully we can win some games and send that place off right.''
Manager Ozzie Guillen would sure like to. In fact, Guillen said he would like to tear down one of the numbers for the countdown to the new ballpark the Twins have been doing all season long.
"Besides Wrigley Field, the Metrodome is not one of my favorite ballparks,'' Guillen said. "Everything out there is very, very bad. I told [Twins manager Ron Gardenhire], when they take the numbers out for the date, I want to do it. They should call time out and I'll walk over there and I'll do it myself. And I told Gardy, 'I will see you in the next park.' We will kick his butt when they move to a new place.''
But they still have three in the old place. A place that both A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye have admitted that the Sox seem beaten in before the game even starts. Add Danks to that group.
"It's one of those things where you're almost waiting for something bad to happen,'' Danks said. "That obviously isn't the right mindset to have, but it seems like it happens every time we're there. Whether it's a turf hit, or just whatever it is, it's kind of cliché, but they have to deal with the same things we do when we play there. The difference is they obviously are used to it.''
The White Sox have finally ruled Jake Peavy out of making his debut at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.
The hope now is that the right-handed pitcher isn't ruled out of pitching for the big-league team at some point this week.
Making his fourth rehab assignment start for Class AAA Charlotte on Saturday, Peavy was shut down after just 3 1/3 innings pitched because of tightness in the same throwing elbow that was stung by a comebacker last Monday.
The goal was to get him close to 100 pitches, but they had to settle for 68. So now where does that leave Peavy in all of this?
"I spoke to Peavy and he said he had some discomfort and had to leave the game and didn't feel good,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said.
Peavy will now rejoin the team on this trip, where he will be looked at by head trainer Herm Schneider and they will examine the elbow area to make sure it was nothing more than what was to be expected in the wake of a comebacker off that area of the arm.
"I think we have to see how he's doing physically before we think about anything after that,'' Cooper said. "It turns out we were kind of right by sending him down to get another [rehab start], weren't we? And we are going to be right again on the next call, wherever that be, whether it's here or somewhere else. Whatever schedule we set, we'll find out what we need to do once we find out what we are dealing with.''
Even if Peavy checks out fine and can pitch for the Sox this week, it won't be against the Cubs. Not that manager Ozzie Guillen didn't at least try winning that argument.
"No, he's not going to pitch against the Cubs,'' Guillen said. "It will be whoever is next, but it's not going to be against the Cubs. I tried to convince myself, tried to convince [general manager] Kenny [Williams] and convince Coop, but that's a lot of risk out there because he's got to hit, he's got to run, he has to do a lot of things, and I don't see why we have to take the risk.''
And finally, more from the Oz
One day after his tirade, here was a calmer Guillen.
"I always calm down,'' Guillen said. "I have to say what I have to say. I mean it. If anybody don't like it, [bleep] it. They don't like it, my office is open.''
Asked if anyone did, Guillen replied, "They don't have no balls to do it. They don't. Because if I say that, it's for a reason. I'm not crazy, I'm not stupid. If I say this, it's for a reason. What's the reason? Look at the record.''
And the rest of Ozzie on Sunday:
"We better [play better] because if they want to win, they are the ones who have to perform. If they want to feel proud of themselves, they better step it up. I'm not saying I don't believe in them, I don't say we cannot win with this ballclub. I just say the way we are playing, if they think they are playing good, they just have to get a tape and watch the way they are playing. That's what they have to do because I watch it, and I don't think it's good.
If we think we are going to win the way we are playing, we don't. Do I think we have the material and the people to do it? Yes, of course we do. Because I'm not going to put myself in the situation that if I know I don't have enough talent to win, that's a different thing. I know we have talent, and I know we did it before and I know what we can do. That's the only reason I say that because I know.
"When I say we are stealing money, there are only two people not stealing money from the White Sox right now Hermie Schneider and Brian Ball, our trainers. Because we've got more guys inside that room than anybody suspect. And we're not performing.
"They know me. I'm always going to say the way it is. Some people have some guts, some people don't, some people say maybe it's Ozzie being Ozzie, my honesty takes me to a lot of problems, but nobody is going to change me. And I will keep my head up because I know I was telling the truth. I never lied. The only time I lie is when I tell my wife I love her every day. That's bull [bleep]. But everything else, I'm straight up.
A lot of guys out there play for me a lot of years, and they know I love it. They know I'm not a hypocrit and they know that I love them from the bottom of my heart, and I will fight for them every minute. But I have a job to do, and our job is not getting done. You want to make me happy, win some games.''
NEW YORK - Here's what an honest manager sounds like after another dismal performance by his underachieving ballclub.
Ozzie Guillen, take it away:
"I'm embarrassed. And everybody in that room should be embarrassed. If they're not embarrassed, they got the wrong job or they're stealing money from baseball. I feel like I'm stealing the money from Jerry. And that's a shame. When you got more errors than hits, you better look yourself in the mirror and start second-guess yourself. But I'm second-guessing myself right now, making the wrong lineup every day. I second-guess myself bringing in the wrong guys to pitch. Second guess myself like we work so hard to put this team together, all the way from spring training and when I look on the field.
"I was looking at the Little League game this morning, 11 to 13, and they were playing better than we did. It was more fun. It gets to the point where you are a veteran player and I have a lot of respect for them, and you appreciate what they do for you in the past, but this is not major league baseball, sorry.
"I'm not going to take credit away from New York. They got great players out there. But the way we play, ... if we had a B game against us, we might tie. Nobody is going to win. I feel that way, and I hope my players and coaches feel the same way.
"If they don't feel the way I feel right now, they're full of [crap] because there's no doubt in my mind we're better than this. But I think it gets to the point where it is what it is. And my hope is getting less and less. It's a long mound, and the mound is getting higher and higher every night. And if we're going to climb to the top, maybe they need a cable car to get up there. But they're not going to walk up there. [Bleep] it. They don't. I'm not a loser or a negative guy, but I'm really realistic. That's my problem in the past when I'm so realistic and people get mad at me and they don't like the way I do stuff or the way I talk. Well, if you don't want me to talk that way, [bleepin'] play better.
"And I'm getting paid a lot of money to manage this club and I truly believe this - I'm stealing money from Jerry Reinsdorf right now. I come here, make the lineup, go to sleep and watch [bleeping] Little League games."
Asked what he could do to change things?
"Well, I wish I have no choice. I was making the lineup today and started to laugh. I just finished making the lineup minutes ago and started laughing because when you only got one hit and three errors, it's not easy to pencil people in. It's not. I want the players to understand my point because I'm the one who should be blamed. I'm the one who will take the blame, 100 percent, there's no doubt. But give me some reason to blame me. Give me some bullets to fight for you guys, some ammunition.
"After today's game, that's embarrassing. I don't take anything away from the kid starting the game. He threw good, a good sinker. He got a lot of ground balls. I don't take any credit away from him. Jose, I've been watching this one for the past three months. I wish I had another choice than Jose out there. Our choice was short, and Jose threw another bad game. That's all. I don't know if I'm going to say anything else.''
NEW YORK - OK, so maybe in the world of Ozzie Guillen grandchildren are overrated anyway.
Asked last week if he would give Jose Contreras another start this season, the White Sox manager responded, "I've got three kids, and I want to see my grandkids when they are born. I don't want to get a heart attack before my time.''
Pennant races must make a man do crazy thing, because guess who is getting the start for this afternoon's start against the New York Yankees?
"[Saturday's] starter is going to be Jose Contreras,'' Guillen announced after Friday's loss. "I don't have many choices. Our choices in the minor leagues weren't very good. He's going to start [Saturday]. We made sure we changed his routine, so we hope he pitches well.''
Guillen was asked why the organization decided to go away from calling up youngsters Daniel Hudson or Carlos Torres, and he pointed toward the fact that the roster somewhat had their hands tied.
"Because we don't have another options at all,'' Guillen said. "Then we don't want to move anyone off the roster and we'll see how it works.''
Contreras was finally yanked out of the starting rotation earlier in the week, after he went 1-5 with a 6.16 ERA in his last eight starts.
The Sox were hoping that the Saturday spot would be filled by Jake Peavy, but after taking a comebacker in his right elbow last Monday, they opted to give him one more start in Class AAA Charlotte Saturday night.
BOSTON - The daily drama that has become "When the Peavy Throws,'' took yet another turn on Thursday, as right-hander Jake Peavy played long toss to test his sore right elbow, and deemed himself well enough to pitch on Saturday.
Just not in New York.
The White Sox unveiled their latest plan to get Peavy up and running, and more importantly on the mound for the big-league team, giving him one more rehab start for the Class AAA Knights. They will then evaluate where he is after that start, and if all is well, debut him in Wrigley Field on Thursday or wait until Friday against Boston at The Cell.
"We'll see what happens,'' Peavy said of facing the Cubs. "It's always something to shoot for. When you put things in concrete, you get a letdown. We'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to Saturday night, meet the team Sunday or Monday in Minnesota and start hopefully in the big leagues some time that week.''
General manager Ken Williams had already insisted that he didn't want to put Peavy on the mound under National League rules, because the ankle injury that sidelined him all this time was caused running the bases.
But manager Ozzie Guillen pointed out that with so much on the line for the Sox right now, they can't be that picky.
"I believe so far it won't be the Cubs game [when he returns],'' Guillen said. "We worry about running and stuff. But that's so far. If we need him or we're desperate about a pitcher, I don't mind [starting him]. I will [tell Peavy] pitch, and then I will talk to the umpire and tell him, 'We got one out before he's going up there, he's not going to hit.' ''
As far as the soreness in the elbow area that was struck on the comebacker last week, Peavy is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
"Obviously this is a tiny setback, but I hope to get out there and make a start and be out there sooner rather than later,'' Peavy added.
BOSTON - About 10 throws into the Wednesday long-toss session, bullpen coach Juan Nieves whistled to the White Sox dugout and gave the throat slash sign.
Just like that, Jake Peavy's day was done, and the pitcher's chances of making his debut for the White Sox this weekend in New York in doubt.
"I know that if he wouldn't have gotten hit by the ball [in his Monday rehab assignment start] that he would be pitching Saturday [in New York], but him getting hit by the ball in his elbow we're unable to do anything [Wednesday],'' pitching coach Don Cooper said. "So right now, it doesn't look like he's going to be making that start. [Thursday] we'll try again. We'll try and take it out again. Hopefully, we don't have to push him back a day for this, but again, each day is going to give us more information and that's kind of what we got.''
Cooper said that he hadn't spoken to general manager Ken Williams or manager Ozzie Guillen about it yet, but said in his opinion the organization should play it safe and give Peavy one more rehab start.
"To tell you the truth, sitting here right now, I'm believing, me, and me only, we haven't discussed it with Ozzie or Kenny, but my opinion, right now the best way to take care of Jake Peavy and do the best for Jake Peavy is to continue to play it by ear, see what he can do [Thursday], make one more start in the minor leagues,'' Cooper said. "To me then, we've taken care of everything the best you can take care of it. If you want to call it crossing the t's and dotting the I's, you can call it that. We're doing it the right away, we're not going to dick around with this.''
As far as Guillen was concerned, he seemed willing to let Peavy, Cooper and Williams all get together and make the call. His concern was for the pitchers he currently had on his roster.
"I just talked to [Peavy],'' Guillen said. "I think he's desperate to pitch. I told him obviously we need him and want him and would like to have him on the mound. But like I keep saying day in and day out, we have to be patient and careful what we are doing.''
Guillen did admit that from the short time he's spoken to Peavy, he likes him. The same could not be said when Guillen would watch him from afar in the dugout in spring training games against San Diego.
"I was upset at him in spring training,'' Guillen recalled. "Every pitch he threw he was crying and yelling at people and making noises. It upset me and I started yelling back at him. Now, knowing what kind of person he is, this guy like I say when we got him, there are a lot of fake bulldogs out there and I think this kid is the real one.''
Maybe so, but for now the "real bulldog'' is staying leashed up.
BOSTON - Jake Peavy would like nothing more than to play savior for a White Sox team that suddenly looks like it needs serious saving.
After all, Mr. Perfect Game - Mark Buehrle - hasn't won since he made history against Tampa Bay on July 23, Jose Contreras is now a reliever and Freddy Garcia is still working through the kinks, as well as doing a lot of sweating along the way, as he tries to recapture his form before shoulder problems.
Besides Gavin Floyd and John Danks, the strength of the team is suddenly laboring.
So obviously Peavy, acquired at the trade deadline from San Diego, would like to make the Saturday start in Yankee Stadium and help right the ship.
Unfortunately, the fact that he took a comebacker off the right elbow in his third rehab assignment start for Charlotte on Monday night now has everything up in the air, including his Sox debut.
"I think it is a fight because every part of me wants to be out there Saturday in a great venue against a great team, giving my team a chanced to win, and I believe that when healthy and when I do feel right, I can go out there, like I said, I might not be ready to throw seven to nine innings, but I believe I can give us somewhat of a chance to win,'' Peavy said Tuesday. "It's so much up in the air with getting hit, and with three starts in the minor leagues and trying to put it all together, you really don't know where you're at. You feel like you do, but until you get against big-league hitters, obviously great ones we'll face on this road trip in a big-league atmosphere, you really don't know where you're at. Certainly when, and if, the time comes, I'm going to do everything I can to compete and hopefully win a couple ballgames down the stretch.''
In talking with the media for close to 10 minutes before the Red Sox game, Peavy sounded every bit a conflicted man, weighting what's at stake for his new club with his health. Sometimes it sounded as if his mind was made up and he would in fact make the start against the Yankees.
Case in point: "We're going to treat it, treat it and treat it some more, and hopefully things will calm down, we'll be able to throw the next few days and this weekend won't be altered.''
Other times sounding like the sting felt by the comebacker has put this weekend in jeopardy.
"Obviously, the decision would be a little easier to make if we weren't coming off a ball hitting me square in the elbow,'' the right-hander said. "It's just frustrating to come out for [Tuesday's] work day and not being able to play catch. And a bullpen [today] up in the air, that's obviously frustrating to me with all we battled through to get to this point.''
The one point that was made by both pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen was that Peavy will dictate when Peavy is ready to pitch.
"When he tells me he's ready to pitch, I'll pencil him in and be glad to do it,'' Guillen said.
If he's not ready to pitch Saturday?
"The possibilities for the next spot open are the same names we talked about Monday night,'' Cooper added, referring to minor-leaguers Daniel Hudson and Carlos Torres. "That's all I got.''
BOSTON - And just like that, the Jose Contreras Era came to an end on Monday.
Sure, he'll make an occasional appearance out of the bullpen, but his days as a starter for the Sox are now over with the free agent to be.
"It's something you keep pushing and hoping for him but nothing works,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said after the 12-8 loss to the Red Sox. "Jose is going to be in the bullpen and I don't know who is starting in his spot [Saturday]. We are in the position right now where we can't continue to handle guys and hope they get it done. I think enough is enough.
"I feel for him, but our job is to win games and not to do people favors. We cannot handle this anymore.''
Not only did Contreras allow a six-run rally by the Red Sox, but the way he did it sealed his fate.
And just in case the third inning didn't, what occurred about 1,078 miles away in Lawrenceville, Ga., undoubtedly did. Ace pitcher Jake Peavy made his third rehab start for Class AAA Charlotte, throwing five scoreless innings, and the talk was he could have a change of heart that he would need a fourth.
Pitching coach Don Cooper didn't want to go there just yet.
"If he says he's ready to give us five, six or seven [innings], that may be enough in [the mind of GM Ken Williams],'' Cooper said. "If [Peavy] can't say that, we'll have to go somewhere else and wait another start for him to be ready. To have to quicken his process because we fumbled the ball [Monday], two wrongs don't make a right. Peavy will be here when he says the time is right for him. Until I hear it out of his mouth, I'm not going to go with it.''
The fact is, with all that is on the line for the Sox (63-62) this season, there was no way they could continue to send Contreras back out there, 1-5 in his last eight starts with a 6.16 ERA.
"We'll find out more [Tuesday],'' Cooper said. "Obviously, we've taken Jose out. Our options our Peavy, [Daniel] Hudson, [Carlos] Torres, and they're all lined up for it. Who gets the nod? It's going to be up to Kenny. Whoever it is, is fine with me.''
Told that Peavy had a solid outing Monday and hinted he might be ready for the Yankees on Saturday, Guillen said, "Good for Peavy. I don't make that decision. I just say I need another pitcher. That's Kenny's decision.
"Of course, I want him on the mound as a managing point. There's no doubt. It's not my call but if I have Peavy, I would be more than happy. We don't have any better choice, but in the meanwhile, we have to be careful. I hear He throw the ball well. But whoever is here... ''
BOSTON - You want to point fingers come October if the White Sox are watching the postseason from home?
According to manager Ozzie Guillen, start and finish the finger-pointing with him, because as far as the sixth-year manager was concerned, board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams did their jobs assembling a team with what Guillen feels is "world series'' talent.
In the wake of Williams saying last week that this would be his most disappointing season at the helm if the Sox didn't reach the postseason, Guillen went out of his way to praise both Williams and Reinsdorf.
"Jerry showed the fans how much he wants to win,'' Guillen said, pointing out the additions of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, along with their big contracts. "He showed the players how much he wants to win. I think Kenny and myself are lucky enough to work with this guy. We're very lucky. Jerry is a very tremendous business man. He knows what he wants, he knows what to do. If Jerry said yes to this players, it's for a reason. And we're lucky enough to have him as a boss.
"We don't have a pain in the ass bosses who start to put their nose where they don't have to. Jerry is a baseball fan who loves his team, loves his organization. Everyone has a job. Jerry never gets involved with Kenny or myself, how to manage or do our jobs. Everyone got to do their job and he trusts people in the organization.''
As far as what Williams said, Guillen said anytime you fall short of the playoffs it's a disappointment.
"This team overcomes a lot of stuff,'' Guillen said. "Look at the way we started spring training, we have four or five guys who weren't here before. If we have this ballclub early in the season, I might be in first place by 10 games. I might, I might not. The talent we had [at the start], we got BA [Brian Anderson], [Dewayne] Wise, [Josh] Fields, [Wilson] Betemit, Corky [Miller], [Jose] Contreras was hurt ... I think right now, this club is good enough to win the World Series.
"But I think it will be disappointing if we don't win, of course. But in the meanwhile, if you look at our record early in the season, I never thought we'd make it to .500 with how bad we started. Little by little, we climb and I think we still have plenty of time to be in first place.
"Kenny has always given me a good club. Always. He's given me the guys to win this thing and I'm not going to say anything bad about Kenny because he's given me enough talent to work.''
Tuesday was Jake Peavy's second rehab assignment with Class AAA Charlotte.
Wednesday afternoon was all about then talking the pitcher down off the ledge after what Peavy felt was a poor outing.
''I'm a long way from where I'm used to being and where I know I can be -- and will be,'' Peavy told Chris De Luca of the Sun-Times after allowing four runs in four innings. "It's just that when you try to turn that intensity up and take it to another level, it's just not there.''
Peavy was back in Chicago for a few days to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and general manager Ken Williams about the next plan of action in getting him up and running from the injured ankle that cost him more than two months, but the first order of business for the Sox was making sure Peavy was not unnecessarily beating himself up.
The Sox players that already know Peavy let Williams know that the pitcher has a tendency to be hard on himself, and the club wanted to make sure the hurler was not doing that just halfway through his rehab assignment.
As far as the physical part of getting Peavy back on the mound, Cooper all but ruled out any hope that Peavy's debut would come under the bright lights of Broadway, Aug. 28 in New York.
"We have at least two more [rehab starts] scheduled, Aug. 23 and 28,'' Cooper said. "Much of the stuff we are going to be doing is listening to him. Right now, he seems like he's par for the course. He's feeling good and trying to turn up the intensity. He doesn't feel the command and the intensity are meeting. That's kind of to be expected. That's what you are trying to get accomplished, to get the intensity and the stuff up.
"We've had two trips at it. I don't care who you are or how good you are at anything you do. You take the amount of time he took off, it's going to take a little while to get it back.''
As far as Cooper was concerned, when Peavy is ready, he's ready. Putting him out there before that, even if it means pushing him back to Sept. 3 or Sept. 8, wouldn't help anyone's cause.
"I'm not sitting here biting my nails and waiting for him because we are going to do this right,'' Cooper continued. "Whether he comes back on the 30th or the 3rd or the 8th, I sit here right now and I'm going to let that unfold.''
Cooper said the Sox could even keep him in Chicago a few extra days this week, and push his rehab schedule back.
The bottom line as far as Cooper was concerned, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras would have to hold down the fort until whenever Peavy is ready.
"I always feel confident,'' Cooper said of that scenario. "We are going to win until someone proves to me that mathematically we are out of it. We have as good of a chance as anyone else. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and everyone has their flaws. But let's have at it. We are in a pennant race. We should be happy we are in it and see what we can do, but we have as good of a chance as anyone else.''
Scott Linebrink took the news seemingly well on Tuesday, but moreso because it sounded like the White Sox reliever was surprised by it above anything else.
Prior to the second game of the series with Kansas City, manager Ozzie Guillen admitted that Linebrink and his 8.44 second-half ERA were out of the eighth-inning set-up role for the time being, with Guillen saying, "We're trying to get him back on track. As soon as he's back on track and we feel like he can help us in that situation, he'll be back to his job.''
Linebrink's initial response sounded more like a player who was hearing that news for the first time.
"Get me back on track how?'' Linebrink said.
Then he insisted, "I'm there to answer the phone call whenever it rings. I don't really worry about when and where. I'm just trying to stay prepared every game.''
Linebrink earned the win on Monday, but not before he allowed a three-run homer in the eighth that tied the game up. Over his last 12 games, the right-hander has allowed 10 runs on nine walks and 15 hits over his last 12 games (10 2/3 innings pitched).
Basically, he doesn't look at all like the dominant reliever that had a 1.93 ERA in the first half of the season.
"Not because I don't trust him and not because he's not pitching the way we want,'' Guillen said of the decision on Linebrink. "It's just because I want him to relax a little bit more, don't feel like every time he's on the spot, 'Oh my God, I've got to throw the ball well.'
"But right now, everybody in the bullpen should be ready for that inning.''
Linebrink said that in a perfect world everyone in the bullpen would have defined roles, but at the end of the day it just doesn't work like that.
"In a perfect world everyone would have their own inning,'' Linebrink said. "I think we got the kind of bullpen where you do have a lot of guys with experience in the later innings of the game, so they choose to go with the hot hand. As long as we're winning ballgames I don't think there is any set way to do it.''
OAKLAND, Calif. - Jim Thome left Sunday's game with a sore left foot, and according to manager Ozzie Guillen he will not play in Monday's game.
How long he will be out is yet to be determined, but the foot has been bothering Thome on again and off again all season long.
OAKLAND, Calif. - Quentin's Law has dictated this season that if anything can go wrong with the White Sox outfielder, it has.
Slow start, plantar fasciitis in his left foot and now a dinged up knee, it seemed only inevitable for Carlos Quentin that he would indeed need to have offseason surgery on his left foot to remedy a problem that cost him two months on the disabled list.
But on Sunday, Quentin offered up some good news on that front.
"You know what, we've talked to doctors in the past and they have clarified with me exactly what that's about, that type of surgery and what it means,'' Quentin said. "As of now, there's nothing like that in the future. It's actually more beneficial for me to just let it heal. With how it's going right now, I think we'll have that opportunity, definitely, so surgery is not really an option right now.''
That was a far cry from the scenario Quentin was painting midway through his rehab process, when he said that with the tendon in his foot partially torn, there were concerns it would completely tear when he resumed playing, and even if it didn't, surgery - along with a two-month recovery - was a possibility they were exploring.
"I'm happy with how it's held up,'' Quentin said. "I've had to deal with some other stuff because of it, but it is what it is. I'm happy with the fact that it hasn't come back, I haven't re-injured it, which was definitely a possibility. Knock on wood, I don't want to sound like I'm past anything, but I feel like I can maintain how it is hopefully for the remainder of the year, so I'm happy about that.''
What he's not real thrilled about? His performance at the plate. Quentin was 20-for-89 (.225) with three home runs and nine RBI in his 23 games since coming off the DL, and was 1-for-15 in his last three games.
That earned him a day of rest on Sunday, as manager Ozzie Guillen opted to sit Quentin in the series finale.
"Right now, Carlos is really struggling,'' Guillen said. "I'm trying to get him rest, more mentally than physically.''
Guillen was asked if Quentin's injuries had anything to do with his struggles, and didn't think that was the case.
"I don't think, at least not that I know, that the injuries are bothering him in swinging the bat,'' Guillen added. "I just don't think he's swinging the bat real well, and he's gotten a little bit better last week swinging the bat, but right now I think he's putting too much pressure on himself. He's trying to do too much. That's what I see from here. He should go out there and just try to be himself. Make sure everyone else takes care of themselves.''
OAKLAND, Calif. - Ozzie Guillen didn't need to read the four-word text from pitcher Freddy Garcia Saturday morning to know that the right-hander nicknamed "Big Game'' would be ready to make his 2009 major-league debut come Tuesday.
But it didn't hurt.
"He just sent me a text message, 'Bro, ready to roll.' And I like that,'' Guillen said. "Me and Freddy are tight. I don't think Freddy is going to lie to himself or lie or to me. He knows our situation here. He knows everyone loves him. He knows he's got a lot of feelings for this ballclub. And I think if Freddy is going to come out and pitch well for anybody, it's with us. We know him very well here.
"But he knows he's ready for the competition and knows he pitched well here and he listened to me and to us that he'll be fine. The last couple years he went through a couple [things]. He went the wrong way, that's why he got hurt. He didn't take care of himself well, I'm pretty honest. I think Freddy is going to come out and pitch well.''
Frankly, the Sox need him to.
It was first reported in the Sun-Times on Thursday that Garcia was shaking hands goodbye with his Charlotte teammates, all but stating the obvious that he was South Side bound for the start against the Royals.
Garcia made four minor-league starts in the Sox farm system, going 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He last pitched in the big leagues on Sept. 29, facing off against the Sox as a member of the Detroit Tigers and getting the no-decision.
"I talked to Freddy,'' Guillen said. "This is not spring training for him. He's got to come here and kick some butt. I think he's ready for the challenge. We all know what Freddy can do. We all know what kind of warrior Freddy is, and we're going to give him the chance.''
How much of a chance after Tuesday will depend on two factors, however: First, how he pitches against the Royals and then how Jose Contreras pitches the following day.
Despite Contreras' struggles - 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in his last six starts - the Sox are sticking with him for now.
"I don't think we have any other choice, to be honest,'' Guillen said of Contreras. "We don't have any other choice. I know this is get it done, or don't. That's with everyone, you do it or you don't. After the game, if we win 11-10, we're good. We did our job. But if we lose 11-10, we all fail. Right now we're going to stay the same.''
When Jake Peavy is set to return, though, all bets are off. Whoever is pitching better between Contreras and Garcia stays in the rotation. The other? Well, enjoy life in the bullpen.
OAKLAND, Calif. - Manager Ozzie Guillen said after the 8-7 win over Oakland that he was likely sending struggling pitcher Jose Contreras back out there next week, reluctantly.
The right-hander got the hook after just 4 1/3 innings on Friday, after he allowed seven runs [six earned] on eight hits. Even with the no-decision, Contreras is 0-4 in his last six starts with a 7.62 ERA, last winning a game on July 8.
Yes, the defense did Contreras no favors, but even the pitcher wasn't going to point fingers.
"No, because I didn't make the right pitch in the crucial situation,'' Contreras responded, when asked if he was blaming his defense. "I left pitches high when I didn't need to and when I needed to make a key pitch I didn't do it. No, the six runs are my runs.''
Guillen blamed both the pitcher and the defense in blowing the 6-0 lead.
"Jose didn't pitch good and the defense helped him to not pitch good,'' Guillen said. "He was cruising around and just like the last time. All of a sudden we didn't make a couple plays and everything went south. He got hit pretty hard and I think he lost his concentration. As a pitcher you have to overcome [bad defense], too. If someone doesn't make the play behind him, try and make better pitches.''
As far as what to do now, well Guillen said the options are almost nil.
"I don't have any choice,'' Guillen said, when asked if he would stick with Contreras. "We have to keep sending him out there. Our options aren't that much right now. Maybe [Saturday] we'll change our minds, but right now we have to send him back out there and hope for the best.''
OAKLAND, Calif - The Cubs might be getting Jake Peavy after all.
Just not exactly in the way they were hoping for.
After making his first rehab assignment start in his recovery from an injured right ankle, Peavy opened some eyes in Charlotte Thursday night, throwing three scoreless innings, while allowing just one hit and one walk, while fanning five.
But before Sox fans get their Peavy jerseys ready to wear, the guys that make the decisions for the White Sox did their best to turn the heat to simmer on all the Peavy excitement.
"Everyone was raving, but Peavy was happy, but he wasn't raving to me,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said Friday. "We text each other back and forth, and he's happy with what he did, he's starting to feel better, but it's starting to look like he's going to need at least two more [starts] no matter how you shake it out. It's par for the course for him to feel so good because he hasn't been on the mound on a regular basis.''
Peavy, who was acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline, informed the club that he wants to return to the big-league level when he knows he is capable of pitching a complete game.
"He's got a lot of pride,'' one Sox official said. "I wouldn't be surprised if it's more like Sept. 3.''
That would be against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. The same Cubs who spent the winter trying to complete a deal for Peavy, but for whatever reason couldn't get it done.
Now, the Sox are hoping that the Cubs' loss can come back to haunt them.
"Peavy threw the ball very well,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "[General manager] Kenny [Williams] told me he got a little tired at the end, which is something we obviously knew [would happen]. But [Williams] said he threw the ball very, very good. But we cannot go there and get too excited about it. We have to be patient and he has to be patient. When he gets here we want him to get here for good.''
Besides, the Sox have more pressing matters, specifically who will be the starter for Tuesday's game against Kansas City.
Guillen said it was still being discussed, but privately it sounds like the decision has been made and it will be "Big Game'' Freddy Garcia. The Sun-Times reported on Thursday that Garcia was already saying farewell to his Charlotte teammates, heading to Chicago for the weekend.
"A lot of people recommend Freddy from the minor leagues,'' Guillen said. "Is that the guy we're going to call up? I don't know yet. Freddy is throwing the ball real good, the ball is coming out of his hand. I think he's got enough starts, but I'm excited to know exactly what we're going to do.''
SEATTLE - Word out of Charlotte is that Brent Lillibridge left for the Bay Area Wednesday night, and sources have confirmed that it will be to replace Chris Getz on the 25-man roster because of an oblique injury.
That means Jayson Nix will moves in as the starting second baseman for the time being, or at least until Getz gets off the 15-day disabled list.
The club is expected to make the announcement either Thursday night or Friday morning.
It will be the second time in the last two weeks Lillibridge has been called in, with the club summoning him last week when they weren't sure of the status of Alexei Ramirez and his injured right ankle at the time.
SEATTLE - Ozzie Guillen on Podsednik getting picked off third base in the 10th inning with one out.
"Yeah, 'What are you thinking?' that's all you can say,'' Guillen responded, when asked was there anything you can even say to Podsednik about committing a cardinal sin of baseball. "You cant' even get mad at that play because you didn't expect that thing to happen at the big-league level. You expect everybody to know what they're doing and what is their role, how important it is, but he just, I guess he was thinking about something else.''
SEATTLE - Ken Williams has been very upfront in addressing the concerns his players may have about their future with the White Sox beyond this season in the wake of more than $115 million in salary being brought in the last two weeks with the additions of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios.
"I don't know that we need to focus on anything right now other than winning,'' the Sox general manager said on Monday. "That's the idea - to win right now. I tell you this, there's a lot better chance of guys sticking around and our abilities to be able to make this work for everyone if we win. I have a tendency to get rid of people when we don't win. It's in everyone's best interest that we focus at the task at hand and you worry about that after the fact.''
That's not a problem for A.J. Pierzynski, considering the catcher wakes up in the morning already thinking about a way to beat that evening's opponent, but even Pierzynski admitted that it's only human nature to at least be somewhat concerned about 2010 and beyond.
Especially for a guy like Pierzynski who wants to finish his career on the South Side.
"Obviously I want to stay here, and I think everyone here knows I want to stay - [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] to [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] to Kenny, I have no reason to want to leave here at all. I've had good times here, great people, great organization, so I can't complain at all.
"At the same time it is baseball and things are out of my control. I've been traded before, I've been released, I've been through it. It's not something I look at right now and say, 'Oh, is this going to happen?' We'll see. I'm under contract for one more year. Obviously, if they want to trade me, they're not just going to let me walk, they'll trade me, and I can't say anything to change their mind. All I can do is go out and play as best I can and see what happens.''
The "through it'' Pierzynski was referring to was being the odd-man out from a team that had a younger, and at the time cheaper, catching option. When Joe Mauer was drafted by the Twins, Pierzynski knew his days were numbered.
The Sox acquired Tyler Flowers in the offseason, and the youngster continues to at least show he can hit on every minor-league level, entering Wednesday's game with a .300 average with Class AAA Charlotte.
"Like I said back in Minnesota when they Mauer, hopefully there's a team out there that still wants me and I can go play somewhere else if the White Sox don't want me anymore,'' Pierzynski added. "But again, that's not in my control.''
SEATTLE - Day 1 for Alex Rios with his new team was about Ozzie Guillen relaying to him a very simple team philosophy: "[Bleep] feelings, it's all about winning,' '' the White Sox manager explained Tuesday. "That's what we do here. We hurt your feelings, that's easy, call your agent, your agent will call [general manager] Kenny [Williams] and then Kenny will do something about it.''
Welcome to the South Side, Mr. Rios. Now buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Rios got the early wake-up call in New York, and made the cross-country track into Seattle, with his first order of business to meet with Guillen about how the club planned to juggle four starting outfielders in three spots.
"I talked to him about our situation, talked to him about our players,'' Guillen explained. "He has to help me in different ways. He has to play left field, right field, center field. He might not have to every day, but it's just to make sure that everybody here gets playing time. The only way they're going to get playing time is if Alex helps me do that. He agreed and had no problem. I think he knows what we want and where we come from, and hopefully my headache will be a good one.''
Rios will make his first start for the Sox Wednesday night, after the Sox acquired him in a waiver claim from Toronto Monday afternoon.
Admittedly, even with Rios hearing the rumors that the Jays were looking to unload him, the idea of changing teams was still settling in.
"I think it will take a little time to get to know everybody and feel comfortable,'' Rios said. "Besides that, it's baseball.
"I'm a big fan of the city of Chicago. It's going to be great because we have a chance to go to the playoffs and it will be great. I've never been in the playoffs so it will be a good experience.''
A few more questions were answered in Rios' arrival as well, specifically what will happen when he starts for Podsednik? According to Guillen, either Rios or Jayson Nix will leadoff, after they ruled out removing Gordon Beckham from the No. 2 spot.
The other question was Rios' jersey No. 15, which is worn by Beckham. Rios didn't seem bothered by taking a new number and went with 51.
"I've used 51, 61 in winter ball one year,'' he added, "so it's just a number.''
SEATTLE - Quite the Monday for Ken Williams.
First the White Sox general manager got Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and then he got a ticket for jaywalking outside Safeco Field.
One will cost him a small fine. The other could further define his legacy on the South Side - one way or the other.
In what could only be described as "shock'' by not only players like Jermaine Dye, but even by manager Ozzie Guillen, Williams sent a text to Guillen before arriving to the ballpark to let the skipper know that they had added the 28-year-old outfielder to the roster, as well as Rios' guaranteed $59.7 million contract that runs through 2014.
"I told you guys when Kenny is going to make a move, it stays with him,'' Guillen said before the game with Seattle. "Maybe he cannot trust me. He might be scared when I talk to the media with a mic. But it was great news, pretty good headache.''
Make that a big headache.
First, Williams had to go to his owner and justify to board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf why it would be a good idea to take on more than $115 million in payroll with Jake Peavy last week and now Rios, and then he had to make sure his current players understood that while playing time will be cut for almost everyone, winning was the top priority, outweighing egos.
"We've been in trade discussion with Toronto before the deadline to try to get this guy,'' Williams explained of how the whole thing came together. "And the way the waiver claim was made was to A: hopefully resurrect talks. B: in the event someone else claimed him, we didn't want him going elsewhere because we targeted him not only as a guy who not only would help us in our quest for the division but future seasons as well.''
Asked how Rios will fit in, Williams said, "All of [the current outfielders] need breaks, too. ... And what that also does for you in this season is by having that versatility and strength, a guy like a [Mark] Kotsay will be on the bench if he's not in the lineup and it will be one of [Scott] Podsednik, Rios, Dye or [Carlos] Quentin that's also on the bench. Your bench, all of a sudden, you have right-handers and left-handers and speed coming off your bench. And will aid you late in the game.
"Make no mistake, Ozzie has complete control of his lineup, so he'll ultimately determine what the best matchups are. But we think now that with the addition of this guy we can play amongst the big boys. We just have to get ourselves into a more consistent mode of play.''
The other question Williams had to answer was his saying he made famous of "You can't spend a dollar if you only have 50 cents,'' was once again stated earlier this season when the team's finances and attendance was brought up, with Williams painting a bleak picture of both. So what changed?
"If we don't win, [Reinsdorf] and I might need second jobs,'' Williams said laughing. "We're out on the limb a little bit with the last two acquisitions but we have seen in recent games our fans are starting to wrap their hands around this team. The walk-ups have been great, and people are getting excited about the possibility. I think they can see this team being a dangerous team if we get to the playoffs and match up against anyone.
"We just need to win the games that we're supposed to win now.''
Rios was expected to arrive in Seattle before Tuesday's game, but might not play until Wednesday. How often he plays, well, that's Guillen's cross to bear now.
"I already had a meeting with a few guys [in the clubhouse], and I will sit down with [Rios] and talk about it, but everybody is going to have playing time,'' Guillen said. "How we're going to do it? Between myself and Joey [Cora], we're going to figure out how we're going to pick days off for anyone. We're going to bounce guys around. In the meanwhile, I'm going to go with my best lineup, but I don't want long faces. I don't want people to feel left out, I don't want people to feel they're not part of this ballclub anymore because we're here together and we're here together to win.''
That's OK, because neither have the White Sox.
For the second time in the last five weeks, the Sox have "misplaced'' their 300-pound, often injured right-handed pitcher, as Bartolo Colon - this time on the DL with a sore right elbow - is once again missing.
"Right now, I don't see it,'' manager Ozzie Guillen first replied on Thursday, when asked if he thought Colon could help again this season. "Hopefully, he is, not late in September. But right now, we've got to wait another, what, 12 days to see exactly what it is. Then he's got to go to another rehab assignment.''
Guillen was then asked where Colon has been, and started to laugh.
"No, he's not here,'' Guillen said. "[Where?] ... that's the hardest question you ask me, where is Colon? I think I don't see him pitching here in the next 20 days because he's got to go to a rehab assignments, start over with a pitching thing and we'll see what happens.''
The Sox do know where Jake Peavy is, however. He was in San Diego this week, testing his injured right ankle on the mound Wednesday and having good results.
"[Wednesday] went very well,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said of Peavy's session. "He turned up the intensity more, second time off the mound, and he's looking to continue to climb.''
The Sox will have him back in town on Saturday, and he will throw off the mound again. If that goes well, he can begin his rehab assignment as early as next Thursday.
"At least three,'' Cooper said of the number of rehab starts Peavy would likely need. "But you know, he's going to tell us more and more as we go. He's going to give us a lot of the answers, how he's feeling and how he's throwing.''
Basically, if Peavy stays on schedule, that puts his debut for the Sox on Aug. 28, against the New York Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium. The lights don't get any brighter.
And maybe, just maybe, Colon will have turned up somewhere by then.
No matter how this season finishes for the White Sox this year, atop of Ken Williams' to-do list is to sit with the speedy leadoff hitter he watched from his private box at The Cell on Wednesday, and talk contract with the free agent-to-be.
And right after Williams is done talking to Chone Figgins, he may then also have to reach out to Scott Podsednik, who has gone from out of baseball back in April to a commodity that will warrant a price tag.
What the Jake Peavy trade did was reiterate that the Sox are in, and will stay in, win-now mode. And while Jordan Danks is still likely a few years away - along with 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell - there is no in-house candidate to take leadoff duties for the 2010 team.
Figgins is undoubtedly 1a, but Podsednik is hoping to be 1b. While he won't initiate those talks with the Sox, he made it very obvious where his heart is.
"I'm going to go into the offseason open-minded,'' Podsednik said, when asked about his approach to free agency. "With that said, I love the city, I love the organization.
"I'm comfortable here, and my wife likes the city, she's comfortable here. It would be nice to come back and play for the White Sox.''
Ozzie Guillen said on Wednesday that the feeling was mutual. But Guillen also pointed out that he doesn't sign the checks.
"This team is going to have a lot of trouble if we don't have Podsednik here,'' Guillen said. "I don't want Podsednik's agent to take this interview and try to make some money with me. I've had a couple players say you know, look at what Ozzie said about your players, it cost another $1 million for the White Sox. But it's true. He plays a good outfield.''
Podsednik did admit that he has not heard where he stands in the club's future beyond the next two months, so his attitude is to make it the best two months that he can.
"I would [like to re-sign], but I think anyone is foolish if they say they don't think about job security and their future,'' Podsednik added. "We all have families, we all have bills to pay, things on that side of it, so yes, it enters your mind. Most importantly, is we're still trying to win and make it to the playoffs.
"I would love to come back and play here. Again, I don't know where Kenny Williams is on that, I don't know where the organization stands on that. I would definitely sit down and entertain if they wanted to talk. Until we're approached, I'm focusing on leading off and providing some spark.''
Don Cooper knows exactly how it looks on paper.
If, and when, newly-acquired ace Jake Peavy is ready to pitch, he would headline a group that also includes Mr. Perfect Game himself, Mark Buehrle, as well as John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Add Jose Contreras to the mix as the No. 5, and it would seem to be as formidable starting five as the White Sox have had since Cooper took over the pitching coach duties.
Yes, Cooper knows how it looks on paper, and then on Tuesday he crumpled that paper up and tossed it to the side when asked how this current rotation could stack up against the 2005 staff.
"No, no, we haven't accomplished nothing,'' Cooper said. "Just having the five names together, what is that, you know? The five names in 2005 accomplished a World Championship, so you can talk about them. No staff compares to them because they got it done, they did it. You have to achieve something to be considered in the same sentence as that group.''
Besides, Cooper has bigger problems to deal with, like a starter for Saturday. Monday's off day allowed the Sox to play skip-a-roo for the time being, but they need a fresh arm to face the team that once resembled the Cleveland Indians.
Cooper said D.J. Carrasco was the in-house candidate once again, but depending on his use in the Angels series, that could change, with the Sox going to the minor leagues. Righty Carlos Torres and lefty Wes Whisler are on the radar.
"We have D.J. a possibility again, but we could go with the kid Torres again or go with Wes Whistler,'' Cooper said. "Those are the names.''
Not an option just yet is Freddy Garcia.
"Freddy won't be ready for that,'' Cooper said. "Freddy probably needs at least three more [starts] for us to start saying, 'OK, let's see where he is right now.' He's still getting his feet and legs underneath him. Freddy is up to five innings, 60 pitches, and his velocity was 87-88 mph average. We know that Freddy is hard balls and smarts, and we know his curveball, slider, changeup will be there, because they're always there, he can throw them on Christmas morning. It's a little more game stuff for him, making sure legs are under him and arm is strong. He's further along than where Jake is, but Jake didn't have an arm injury, Freddy did.
"Getting to Jake, he's going to have a side day [Wednesday] in San Diego and take two days off. Then he'll do something with us on Saturday.''
As far as the best-case scenario for Peavy's debut with the South Siders, that remained late August.