Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

September 2009 Archives

Peavy silencing critics

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jakepeavy-thumb-500x337-10718.jpgCLEVELAND - Just in case a last statement needs to be made, Jake Peavy hopes to dot the exclamation point on Friday.
Yes, his wish is that the game will still mean something for Detroit in deciding the Central Division, despite the White Sox' fate already decided. But even if it doesn't, the right-hander would like to put a final nail in the coffin of the perception that he originally turned down the trade from San Diego back in May because he was worried about a sky-rocketing ERA in the move from the National League to the American League just in case his 2-0 start and 2.25 ERA in his first two starts haven't.
"There's no doubt that pitching in this league is more difficult simply because of the extra hitter,'' Peavy said on Wednesday. "You can't pick and choose your battles as much. Obviously you can pick and choose your battles somewhat, but the battles you're picking and choosing in the National League, if you're anywhere close to that pitcher you're going to get him. Obviously he's not going to be as talented as the other guys in the lineup, and certainly ERAs are going to be higher here.
"The bottom line, though, is pitching's pitching, and I told everyone from the get-go that staying in the National League, from my standpoint, I enjoyed getting a hit, bunting, hit-and-run, just strategizing, I enjoyed that. I told people when it happened that obviously I put that to rest, the idea that I was somehow scared or didn't want to pitch over here, that I don't give a dang about what my ERA ends up at the end of the season as long as the win-loss column is right for the Chicago White Sox and I did something to help that, that's all I care about.''
Because of an ankle injury and then a bruised pitching elbow that sidelined him a good part of three months, Peavy is admittedly still not 100 percent. But as he's shown in starts against Kansas City and Detroit, Peavy at 80-90 percent is still ace material.
And as far as settling into his new environment, not a problem.
"I'm excited to be here,'' Peavy added. "First of all, it's a great bunch of guys in this clubhouse. The one common goal from the players to the manager to the front office is to win. When you hear Jerry Reinsdorf speak to the team the way he did [before Friday's game], there's nothing more for a player in my position than to win that World Series. It puts chills on me, gets me excited that from the owner on down to the 25th man on the roster we want to win.
"It was a good decision, I'm in a good place. I'm in a great city that's passionate about sports and hopefully we'll get that in the next three years. As a player that's all you can ask for.''

Chris Getz having surgery Thursday

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47618696.jpgCLEVELAND - Chris Getz was already saying his goodbyes before the rookie found out that the Tuesday game between Cleveland and his White Sox had been postponed because of weather.
Having to leave the team in order to have surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia was not the way the second baseman wanted his 2009 season to end, let alone to have that last day with his teammates day cut short because of bad weather, but there was one more light work session with hitting coach Greg Walker in the batting cages for Getz, and then off he goes.
The lower oblique strain that put him on the 15-day disabled list back on Aug. 21 had still been bothering him, so Getz saw a specialist and a sports hernia was discovered. The plan was first to address it at the end of the season, but that plan went out the window now that the rest of the Sox schedule is basically meaningless.
"That's why we're getting it done now,'' Getz said. "It's not like a serious surgery, I mean it's still surgery, but I think the recovery time will take about six weeks before you can start being fully active again. That's why it's better to get it done now so I can fully prepare for the start of the 2010 season.''
That also closed the book on an '09 campaign in which Getz showed signs of giving the Sox a stable force at second base for years to come.
Getz hit .261 with 49 runs scored, but even more impressive, proved to be a threat on the basepaths, stealing 25-of-27 bases for an American League best 92.6 percent. His numbers could have been better had it not been for his injury slowing him down since late August.
"We knew that this probably had to be taken care of,'' Getz said. "It was just a matter of whether or not it was going to be rest or surgery, so obviously the rest was ruled out.''
The plan is to get the surgery and then start rehabbing in mid-November. Getz also has a direction this winter, looking to add strength. Not that he will ever be a home run threat, but two homers in 375 at-bats is something he would like to improve on, as well as adding strength in order to drive the ball in general.
"No doubt I will be full-go by January,'' Getz said. "I normally go to Arizona early anyway, go there in January and work out at Athletes' Performance. I've done that the last few years.
"But getting this done earlier rather than later, I can kind of get a jumpstart on recovery and on getting ready for spring training because after assessing the season that's something I really want to make gains on - being stronger, no doubt.''
Getz was sidelined a few times this season, breaking a finger early on and then the oblique strain that was now diagnosed as a sports hernia, and while neither could have been guarded against, he wants to make sure that he is as physically and mentally ready as he can be for 2010.
"I had a few freak things happen - the broken finger, and I kind of look at this as a freak thing as well,'' Getz said. "I'm trying to take all of this as a positive because I know what it takes now. I don't want to say I know what it takes, but I know I have to improve in certain areas. That's always a positive.
"I wouldn't say I need to improve durability, but I have to improve my pure strength so that I could do the things I need to do to in order to improve as a pure hitter and fielder. The things you need to do in order to have success at this level.''
As far as the rainout, the Sox and Indians will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with Carlos Torres pitching in Game 1 and then Mark Buehrle in Game 2. Jake Peavy has been bumped to Friday, getting the start in Detroit against the Tigers.

Ozzie being Ozzie ... again

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Ozzie-Guillen-R.jpgCLEVELAND - Ozzie Guillen interviews never get old.
The latest?
Guillen was asked about regrets from this season and had this to say:

"The only thing I regret, I don't think Jose [Contreras] and [Bartolo] Colon were ready enough to help us [out of spring camp],'' Guillen said. "That's what I thought. We brought them up to the big leagues so fast because we were desperate about who was the best guy we were going to take to be a starter. That's the one thing. I think Gordon [Beckham] should be in the big leagues. Besides that, we really thought the problem in the outfield would be resolved, the third base problem would be resolved with Josh [Fields]. Things didn't go the way they should be. One thing is those two guys weren't ready. Besides that, we just didn't play the way we should.''

He was then asked about what was left to play for, and had this gem:

"We got to go there and compete. That's the reason I was pissed Saturday. It seemed like we didn't compete and 'Ok, let's go through the season.' That's not the way to approach it because if we want it, like put this game over with, how about sending the money we make to Jerry [Reinsdorf] and Kenny [Williams]? I say, 'We're not going to play to win. Here's your money back and play to get the season over with.' If you're going to think that way, then give the money back to those guys. Myself, and my coaching staff. If I sit here and say I don't care what happens today, then look yourself in the mirror and you should be embarrassed because you're getting paid a lot to being here and you got to going through the season. I don't want to go through the motions. I don't care. I don't care what those guys think. I'm not going to go through the motions. I make the same move I made against Detroit that I go against Cleveland. Obviously, with Cleveland, I'm going to have a chance to play the kids. That's the only difference. We go to Detroit and it depends how they are. We'll go by the way we should. Right now, we got six games left and we have to win those six games. For what? Who cares. But we got to win those six games or be prepared. We still have people in the stands. We have fans watching the game. No matter what you play, you got to play for something. One thing about it, play for pride and thank God you're playing baseball now.''

Source says coaches and Williams all signed extensions

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blacklikepanther.jpgFor all the White Sox fans that have been waving the torches and calling for the heads of the coaching staff, it isn't going to happen.
Ken Williams all but settled that on Wednesday, as the general manager met with the media for almost 30 minutes to discuss a 2009 season gone very wrong, and the promise the organization has heading into 2010.
Minutes after Williams spoke, a source confirmed that all of the coaches that had contracts up after this season - specifically hitting coach Greg Walker, pitching coach Don Cooper, bench coach Joey Cora and first base coach Harold Baines - had or were in the process of signing extensions thought to take the staff through 2011.
There was also whispers that Williams recently inked an extension that will keep him the Sox GM through 2012 - the same length of Ozzie Guillen's deal - but Williams replied in a text that he would not comment on that.
"I don't discuss my contract status,'' Williams wrote. "Never have and always looked at it as a year-by-year thing.''
He did talk openly about a coaching staff that did draw some heat this year, however, specifically Walker.
"Listen, he's doing everything he can to get the hitters in a proper mindset, the proper hitting position, to have success,'' Williams said. "We give them information from advanced scouting, we have video capabilities to where the guys study not only their swing, but the opposition's pitcher. I've had conversation after conversation with Greg in terms of what he's teaching, how he's teaching it, he's open-minded to using the rest of the coaching staff, who are accomplished hitting guys in their own right, Harold Baines and Joey Cora and Ozzie as well as his input. So it's not a one-guy thing. I don't think you can put it on one guy.
"Listen, at the end of the day, it's the players that make you look smart or make you look dumb, and right now we're all not looking to smart. But we certainly have a lot to look up to.''
As far as the rest of the staff, they spent a good part of the afternoon in organizational meetings discussing what they all needed to do to get better.
"I got them all upstairs now right now and we're talking about the future as we speak,'' Williams added. "We're talking upstairs now, giving us all input and I expect everyone to be back. But Ozzie and I still have to reserve that official comment when Ozzie and I sit down and talk about the staff. We have not had one conversation about getting rid of anyone.''

Jenks done for the season

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bigbadbobby1.jpgTo add to the woes of the White Sox, closer Bobby Jenks said that he had been shut down for the remainder of the season after he popped his right calf muscle.
"I can't even walk,'' Jenks insisted after the game. "It's one of those freak things.''
That means his year ends with a 3-4 record and 3.71 ERA to go along with 29 saves. It also adds to the questions that were already swirling around the future of Jenks in a Sox uniform. Not only are injuries a growing concern with him, but there is also another arbitration to avoid that could cost the Sox $7 million in 2010.
"That's not a decision I make,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said of Jenks' future. "Bobby's been great for us for a long time. When a guy has a good career, always you think about coming back. In the meanwhile, like I say [Monday], I'm not the general manager. I don't want to be the general manager. I respect [general manager Kenny Williams'] opinion. I respect Kenny's decision, and we've got to go from there.''

Dye knows final days are coming

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20060213-3_d-0569-515h.jpgThere was a time this season where Jermaine Dye was willing to rip up his current contract, forget the mutual option that was awaiting him this winter and sign a new deal at a hometown discount to keep him on the South Side.
Life for the White Sox outfielder was much different then, however. Specifically, he was carrying a .302 average to go along with 20 homers and 55 RBI heading into the All-Star Break.
Now?
The veteran is trying to survive, trying to show that he's not washed up at 35. And realistically, he now knows that this is his last homestand on the team he won a World Series with.
"I'm not concerned about that,'' Dye said about his fate now being all but sealed. "Whatever happens is going to happen. At this point you just want to try and get into a somewhat of a little bit of a groove before the season is over. Go into the offseason and see what happens.
"I've never struggled like this before, never had a whole half that has been nothing. Over the course of a career, I think that's pretty good. The five years I've been here I've had five pretty good years, and it just so happened that I struggled here at the end, we were fighting to get into the playoffs, and it's just the way it is.''
The struggling Dye was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday, unable to change the .168 second half he's had with just five homers and 19 RBI. A second half he has no explanation for.
"I have no clue,'' Dye said. "I put in the work and sometimes it doesn't work out. There's nothing wrong with the mechanics. When you struggle, the pitches you should hit you foul off. The pitches you take normally when you feel good they're balls, they're strikes now. When you struggle everything goes wrong. This second half it just didn't happen.''
It sounds more and more like the Sox will be strapped financially this winter, enough so that Plan A of Chone Figgins is already being moved to pipedream status. The idea of bringing Dye back is even less likely.
"Everyone is frustrated, not just the fans, everyone,'' Dye added. "Second half for me, for this whole team, especially in the month of September has been not good. We struggled.''

In Kenny's court

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kenny-williams1.jpgIt was a very specific ultimatum handed down by Ken Williams in late August.
The White Sox general manager insisted, "Obviously, the better we can do, the further we can go, the more resources I'll have to work with. So if I like what I'm seeing right here, the better chance for me to keep it all together.''
Obviously, he didn't like what he was seeing. Jim Thome and Jose Contreras were traded at the end of August, and now the futures of free agents-to-be Jermaine Dye, Octavio Dotel and Scott Podsednik are cloudy, as are what decisions the Sox will make with the likes of Bobby Jenks and team captain Paul Konerko. Jenks is once again arbitration eligible, while Konerko has all say on any trade the Sox might pull off, but told the Sun-Times back in spring training that he would waive the no-trade if the situation was right.
As far as how much the team would be broken up this winter, manager Ozzie Guillen said that will fall on Williams' shoulders.
"That's Kenny's job,'' Guillen said. "I'm not going to say, 'We should trade this guy and trade that guy.' Obviously, I have a little thing to do with who's coming and who's not, but I never, since I've been managing this ballclub, I've never come out and said, 'I don't want whoever.'
"If Kenny has something in mind, he will do it. I did in the past say, 'I don't want this guy in my clubhouse, I don't want this guy on the team.' A few people, I went to Kenny said, 'Hey listen, I don't think this guy's going to work here. I don't think having this guy is going to help this ballclub,' and he did what he had to do. But in the meanwhile, I haven't told him what trades to make. He knows what we need, he knows what we want, he knows what direction we're going in. That's why I stay away from that.''

Ozzie's 'Falling Down' moment - he's ticked!

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ozzie-guillen-choke.jpgSEATTLE - Ozzie has had enough.
Here is Guillen in the post-game of the 4-3 14th-inning heartbreak.
"I'm only going to say two things,'' Guillen said. "I'm tired and I don't have anything ... it was two-and-a-half hours of satisfaction and then two-and-a-half hours of horse[bleep] baseball. Go an ask them. I don't have any more quotes, seriously. What the [bleep] am I going to say? They horse[bleep]? Yes, they are.''
Guillen then walked into the clubhouse and made it a point - a very loud one - to say that there would be a lot of lineup changes [for Friday's game], and "If they give up on me, I give up on them.''

Floyd and Buehrle could both be shut down soon

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3251916271_4953dea4ae.jpgSEATTLE - The inflammation in Gavin Floyd's left hip is bad enough to cost him at least one start, as the White Sox officially ruled him out of Monday's game before their finale with Seattle on Thursday.
By next week, he could be shut down for the entire season, and he won't be alone.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said that if the team continued to bury itself in the standings that they would also likely shut Mark Buehrle down for the remainder of the year.
"If this thing is shut down, I say Buehrle,'' Guillen responded, when asked if there would be any other players put on the shelf for the rest of the 2009 campaign.
Then he joked, "We'll give [Jake] Peavy Buehrle's start and give Peavy Gavin's start. Give him all of those starts. [But] I think Buehrle because he has a lot of innings piled up. But I have to continue to have a season and make those guys go out there and earn the money for that reason. For pride, to finish better. For money, because you are a free agent, whatever the reason is. We have to show up and play the way we should play everyday, no matter what our situation is.''
Just not at the cost of jeopardizing the health of two of the four starting pitchers that the Sox will build the 2010 team around.
As far as Floyd, he said that while he couldn't recall the specifics of how the injury occurred, he had been dealing with it for the last "six or seven starts,'' and was progressively getting worse. Worse to the point that they could see he was in pain on Wednesday, so shut him down after just three innings.
"I want to pitch,'' Floyd said. "That's why I've been pitching through it. I think I can be a benefit to this team, whether I'm laboring or not. But I want to pitch. I want to go out there and help the team out.''
"That's why they took me out, because obviously it hasn't been getting better. That's why they think maybe a start off will help things out.''
Guillen did stress that they are not giving up on the season, but Floyd's future is worth more than a pipedream.
"The main thing for us is to make sure we keep this guy healthy for the future,'' Guillen added. "The way this guy has pitched for us the last two years, he deserved and earned our consideration. We know we are fighting for something and we are trying to get there.
"In the meanwhile, I'm not going to put this kid in to go out and pitch two innings and see him the way we see him the last two outings. It's not fair for him or for us.''

Guillen unhappy with fundamentals

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ozzieguillen.jpgOz on his team's fundamentals

"Spring training is going to be a little better because we know what we have, and know what we have to work on every day to play the way we want to play,'' Guillen said.
One bad habit that has evidently been going on with very little attention to it has been too many players missing signs. A no-no for a team that has to compete against the likes of the fundamentally sound Minnesota Twins.
"We cannot continue to miss signs,'' Guillen said. "We cannot continue to try and hit-and-run and hit a foul ball. We cannot continue to miss bunts. Little by little we've started getting better and better, but that's going to be our main thing in spring training - make sure we do the little things right day in and day out. If we do that we won't go into slumps like we do this year. We're not going to be in a slump because someone will do something to break it up. We won't have to wait for the big boys to wake up all season long. You learn from it, and hopefully we continue to improve.''
So those new small bunting field that they had built at the new facility in Glendale, Ariz., well they are about to see a lot of action this spring.
"There's going to be more bunting,'' Guillen added. "There's going to be one station just hit-and-run. Game situation, just one for that, and then we'll hit. Because we're going to need it next year.
"This year was pretty bad. We may have a section for whoever is coaching third base, or Coxsy [Jeff Cox], you just stay with him for a half hour because I think we missed so many signs this year, it was unbelievable.''

Peavy set to debut Saturday

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1922470.jpgSEATTLE - It sounded strange to hear Jake Peavy finally utter the words, but on Tuesday he finally did - and with confidence.
"Yeah, how about that,'' Peavy said. "I'm going to make a start.
"I'm going to get out there and compete. I expect to win on Saturday and we'll have a few more starts and put to bed hopefully all this injury stuff or whatever it is and I'll show up and be ready to go at spring training. Stranger things have happened, and if we get to the postseason, I'll be fine and ready for that as well.''
It's been a frustrating six weeks for the White Sox ace in waiting since he was acquired from San Diego at the July 31 trade deadline.
First it was the obstacle of getting through the right ankle injury he suffered with the Padres, and then as he was making what was supposed to be his last rehab start from the ankle problem back on Aug. 24, he was hit with a comebacker in the right elbow, setting him back another few weeks.
But after throwing a second all-out bullpen session in Anaheim over the weekend and not feeling any soreness in the wake of it on Monday's off day, the Sox announced that Peavy would make his debut on Saturday, when the Sox host Kansas City.
"I think that's what we were looking for a long time, before he got hit by the ball,'' Guillen said. "It's been like two weeks when he was supposed to be on the mound. It will be interesting. I think it's going to be exciting, especially for him. He wasn't on the mound for a long time, and it will be interesting to see him perform and I know personally he's looking forward to being on the mound.''
That he is.
"I look forward to going out there and competing, like I said,'' Peavy explained. "I'm certainly not where a normal starter would be or where those other guys are, but I'll go out there and compete and I look forward to taking the field the first time with my new teammates.''
Peavy is expected to be on a pitch count, considering his last two bullpen sessions were the equivalent of throwing four innings or so, and could get the yank at about the 70-75 pitch mark.
"I wanted to put everything to rest a lot quicker but the bottom line is I just wasn't able to do that,'' Peavy added. "I can tell you I did everything I possibly could do and [Don Cooper] as a pitching coach and these trainers absolutely worked their tails off to get me as healthy as I could be. I don't expect to be 100 percent. I'm not 100 percent. I would be lying if I told you I was.''

What's still wrong with Rios? Let's ask him

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340x.jpgANAHEIM, Calif. - Everyone involved with the White Sox organization has their opinions on what's wrong with Alex Rios.
From manager Ozzie Guillen insisting that the outfielder had never been moved to a different team before so tried donning a cape and playing Superman when he came over, to hitting coach Greg Walker talking about a guy that has now become overwhelmed with mechanical problems.
At the end of the day, however, only Rios knows why he has gone from two-time All-Star in Toronto to the guy that was hitting .144 through his first 25 games on the South Side.
And he'll let us all know once he knows.
"I don't really know,'' Rios said of his struggles. "If I knew I would have fixed it already. It's something that I've been trying to fix and I haven't been able to. I guess the offseason can be a good thing. I will be able to just wipe things away and get a fresh start next year, just simplify things.''
Not exactly what Sox fans, and more importantly, what the Sox might want to be hearing, especially for a guy they are committed to pay almost $60 million over the next five years.
What Rios can explain of his slump is he knows what it's not, specifically the idea that he's been pressing since he arrived.
"No it's not that,'' he said Sunday. "It doesn't matter where you play, you can play on the moon and it's still baseball. It's the same game. I don't think there's that transition problem that people think. It has nothing to do with being traded.''
The one point Guillen brought up earlier this week that Rios does agree with is that both Rios and the team will somehow benefit from this down the road.
"I can't recall a previous time that I have been struggling like I have right now,'' Rios added. "You learn from these things. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe I'll get to know myself a little better and figure out how to get out of a slump like this.''

Peavy on course for weekend debut

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145615_jake_peavy__kenny_williams.jpgANAHEIM, Calif. - Jake Peavy threw another simulated game/bullpen session before Sunday's finale in Anaheim, and he was sounding like a pitcher that will be ready to make his White Sox debut by the weekend when the Sox host Kansas City.
Now, it's just a matter of deciding when, no longer if.
"That's the best one so far,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said. "An extended workout. Basically, the equivalent of four innings. Movement was outstanding. He has outstanding movement. I haven't see the guy pitch first-hand in a game, but if that's not the biggest asset, it's certainly one of them. His curveball was good, his cutter, he threw some of them, was good. His fastball, change-up, went to a full windup, stretch, went over hitters. We really isolated the fastball more than anything.
"You can speculate there's going to be a bullpen Tuesday or Wednesday [in Seattle]. You can speculate that he will be pitching two or three days after that bullpen.''
The only way that would change would be if he would feel a setback when he wakes up this morning.
"I'm excited about it,'' Peavy said. "I know who I can be, and it's been frustrating to get there and jump right in and not ease into things. Its' been different than what I've done in years past. [Sunday] was certainly the best I've been and felt and hopefully that progresses.''
Peavy was acquired at the trade deadline already on the shelf with a bum right ankle. He was close to returning from that, but in an Aug. 24 rehab assignment game with Class AAA Charlotte, a comebacker struck his right elbow, causing a bone bruise and fluid to enter the area.
Now it seems, all systems are just about go.
"The stamina was definitely better, the sharpness of everything, the fastball command, the breaking ball, so we'll be ready to get in a game sometime soon,'' Peavy said. "I'm not sure how long I'll be able to go, but I'm excited to give it a go.''

Oz being Oz

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ozzie-guillen-choke.jpgANAHEIM, Calif. - The best of Ozzie from Saturday:

Guillen on his hitters failing to beat pitchers they have seen for the first time - "I mean you're not going to take anything away from the pitching staffs that we've faced, but we've been facing some pitchers this year it's like, 'Who the [expletive] is this guy? They don't even belong in the [bleeping] big leagues and they just kicked our ass.' I'm not going to lie to anybody. I know who beat us and I know who should beat us. We've faced some guys where they've called him up, faced us, and get him back to [bleeping] Double A, get the [bleep] out of here. That's how bad we've been.''

Guillen on Alex Rios - "What have I seen from Rios? A lot of outs. The only batting ninth guy making $5 million was me. This mother [bleeper] is making $10, $12, $14 million, he ain't going to be batting ninth [in 2010]. I'm going to make sure he earns his money. But right now I have to put him there because he's struggling. Next year, if we have Rios batting ninth we're in deep [crap] once again.''

Guillen on his lineup - "I wish somebody ... I mean whoever swings the bat better is in the first three, [Scott] Podsednik, [Gordon] Beckham and A.J. [Pierzynski] right now, but after that, God. [Alexei] Ramirez has been up and down, but it's tough because you want to get those guys going. Like [Alex] Rios, 'OK, let's move Rios down to relax a little bit, don't let him carry the load.' [Chris] Getz, we can hit and run with him down in the lineup. We do so many things to try and help them mentally.
"I put J.D. [Jermaine Dye] down at six and it didn't help. And when this team doesn't score, this team looks very, very, very bad. Very slow, no energy, but it's not because we don't have that, it's because we're not hitting. When we hit it's like, 'Oh, OK here we go.' ''

Peavy set to go?

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peavy%20(ap).jpgANAHEIM, Calif. - Leave it to the White Sox to turn in a soap opera into a mystery.
Pitcher Jake Peavy was saying all the right things on Friday, two days after he threw a simulated game in the bullpen.
"Just normal soreness,'' Peavy said of the right elbow that was struck by a comebacker in an Aug. 24 rehab assignment start. "[Wednesday] was almost like a start day. I threw about 60 pitches, got up and down about three times like innings, so I was sore, but just general soreness like you should have because I was letting some balls go. Other than that, just got some working out in [Friday]. I'm just waiting for them to tell me what, when and where, if they want me to, don't want me to, just waiting on the word.''
On the other hand, pitching coach Don Cooper was saying very little.
Cooper did meet with general manager Ken Williams and did admit to having a plan in place. Letting that plan known? That was a different story.
"I've got something in mind right now, after looking, discussing, putting it down on paper, to make sure everyone is on a schedule, but I'm not prepared to talk about it now,'' Cooper said. "To me it's Seattle or Kansas City, and we have a couple options there.
"We have some starters throwing the ball well, and you don't want to throw them out of whack, plus, we're still in a pennant race. It's a lot to ask of a guy that hasn't pitched in a long time, 'Hey, just go ahead and hop in the pennant race.' That's some of the consideration. He will pitch, I just can't tell you when.''
An off day on Thursday and then another upcoming one on Monday before the Mariners series, allows Cooper to go with a four-man rotation for the time being. Peavy, who initially missed more than two months because of an ankle injury, could slide in there fairly easily, however, especially because the club had gone out of its way to keep Mark Buehrle as rested as they could the first half of the season.
But pitching Peavy against Kansas City at home would make a bit more sense, considering the bump in attendance it could give to a team that will be counting every penny the last three weeks.
As far as Peavy was concerned, just name the date and place.
"It's getting time where I'm as frustrated as I've ever been, trying to get back and you don't really have a clear-cut game plan,'' the right-hander added. "I'm just going to do what I'm told to do. I'm ready to do whatever.''

Vintage Ken Williams

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520x.jpgAsked on Wednesday if he takes any consolation knowing that his team will likely be favorites to win the Central Division in 2010, general manager Ken Williams fired off these beauties.
"That doesn't take away the sting that I feel right now,'' he stated. "That doesn't take away the churning of my stomach.
"When you can beat the New York Yankees three-out-of-four, Anaheim two-of-three and then Cleveland comes into town and you lose two-out-of-three, Baltimore comes in and you lose two-out-of-three, you beat the Boston Red Sox three-of-four, almost sweep, and you go on a road trip and do nothing. Then you come back and the Oakland A's pound you ... no, none of what I see ahead takes away the beat down I feel right now. [Bleep] no.''
As far as the blame game he's heard coming from Ozzie Guillen the last few days, well, Williams wasn't impressed one way or the other that his manager has chosen to be the one to fall on the sword.
Guillen has gone on the offensive as far as protecting his players and coaching staff, insisting on Monday and Tuesday that he should be the one that's fired, and "when one country is not running well they don't blame anybody, but they blame the president. Well I am the president of this ballclub. I am the face of this ballclub.''
"That's just the thing to say,'' Williams said. "Everybody says ... everybody on the losing teams say that this time of year. That's just the thing to say, it's a sports cliché.''

Peavy start still up in the air

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chi_g_peavy1_sw_576.jpgJake Peavy couldn't promise if he would pitch in Anaheim, whether he would pitch in Seattle or whether he would pitch at all this season for the team that acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline.
As a matter of fact, following his latest bullpen session on Wednesday, the White Sox right-hander could only make one promise about his future.
"I can promise you this,'' Peavy said. "On Feb. 15 or whatever day it is I report [for spring training], I'll be in as good of shape as anybody and be ready to pitch and expect nothing less than what I've done in years, which is giving my team a chance to win and work 200 plus innings. That's where I stand.''
It's been a tough season for the former Cy Young Award winner, first an ankle injury that sidelined him for more than two months, and then after he was traded to the South Side and seemingly back on track for a Aug. 28 return in the new Yankee Stadium, a comebacker in his last rehab assignment start struck his pitching elbow, leading to fluid forming in the area.
The Sox have maintained that they wanted to get Peavy on the mound before the season ends to make sure there are no lingering thoughts on their projected 2010 Opening Day starter over the winter, but Peavy said he knows what he brings to the table whether he pitches in the remaining three weeks or doesn't.
"In my mind, whether I get into pitch or whether I don't pitch, it has nothing to do with this offseason,'' Peavy said. "I look forward to the offseason and starting the rehabilitation on the ankle and starting to ease my way into getting strong, long-tossing, just starting fresh and being healthy again.
"I came off of a pretty traumatic injury and just trying to jump and go from 0 to 60, it's tough on all aspects of my body and the mental side of thing as well ... I'll do whatever the organization wants me to do, whether it's getting me out there this year or not.''
According to pitching coach Don Cooper, the goal in the latest session was to push the pitcher to the brink by having him go all out, simulating a game by having him sit after a certain number of pitches like it was the end of an inning.
As far as what's next, Cooper said that answer could come today, after they see how Peavy feels.
"The best I can tell you is we'll see how he feels [today] and continue to map out a plan for him to go out and pitch,'' Cooper said. "He and I are going to work together and decide when it's right, and right now we don't know when it's right.''

Finger pointing

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s_ozzie_guillen_060623_300w.jpgOzzie was at it again on Tuesday, taking all the blame for a season suddenly gone very wrong in a two-week period.
"I think every time we lose a game I think it's our coaching staff's fault and our fault because we're not good enough to do that,'' Guillen said. "I've always said since I got this job I'm never, never scared to blame myself. Who can you blame? The one thing about it is when one country is not running well they don't blame anybody, but they blame the president. Well I am the president of this ballclub. I am the face of this ballclub. We did everything we could, but in the meanwhile I'm the one that penciled those guys in day in and day out, and they have to perform.''
Asked then if the players also have some fault in this since they didn't perform, Guillen again brought the focus to him.
"They have to perform, but you have to make them perform,'' Guillen responded. "They didn't perform good enough for us and we didn't make them perform. When you lose, everything goes wrong. Why not blame just one guy and deal with it? I think I can deal with it. This is my job. When you hire a manager you hire him to take full responsibility. It comes with a chain - from the owner [Jerry Reinsdorf] to [general manager] Kenny [Williams] to me to my coaches to my players to the rest. I take the blame. No one in this town can blame Kenny or Jerry or [assistant GM] Rick Hahn.
"I want to take the blame,'' he said. "I want to take the full responsibility of it. They gave me a ballclub to compete and I accept that. When I said in April that we had a chance to win this thing, I said it. I didn't see any of the players say it, I said it. And I said it because I thought we would back myself up. It's my responsibility to take it like a man. When we're not playing well, it's my fault.
"If they were struggling it was my job to pencil in someone else. But that's my job and I'm not going to hide. I'm never going to hide from anybody. If we don't get where we want to get, I think I failed as a manager. I do. We spent three months, felt like 20 months trying to get a good team in spring training. We told the fans we had a good team. When I tell the fans we have a good team and we fail, well I have to take responsibility for that, I have to.''

What's wrong with Rios?

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Chicago+White+Sox+v+Seattle+Mariners+e68EqEAbbX6l.jpgThere are a ton of reasons why the White Sox need Alex Rios to be the player that had superstar written all over him just a few years ago.
Actually, there are almost 60 million reasons why they need Rios to be that guy, considering they owe him $58.7 million over the next five seasons since they acquired him a few weeks back off waivers from Toronto.
So far that return has netted an everyday outfielder that was hitting .160 with one home run and three RBI in 21 games entering the finale of the Boston series.
It would be one thing if the Sox had other options, but this is not an organization that can make Milton Bradley-esque mistakes and then throw more money at it next year to cover it up. Rios will be the fourth highest-paid player on the roster next season, with Jake Peavy making $15 million, Mark Buehrle at $14 million, Paul Konerko at $12 million and then Rios' $9.7 million.
Of course there is pressure to get him turned around as quickly as possible, and hitting coach Greg Walker thinks that a majority of that pressure is coming from Rios.
"You're talking about a guy that's had a good bit of success in this league,'' Walker explained on Monday. "When you bring a guy over to a pennant chase, a lot of pressure. He got off to a bad start and I just think it kind of snowballed on him.
"You look at him and the physical part, he's an elite talent. I don't think anyone in this league would deny that. But I think he's come over here and he's pressing. It started in his brain and now it evolved into his mechanics. I think his lower half, he's spinning off a lot of balls. I know he's frustrated.''
Rios isn't alone, as Sox fans at the Cell are now starting to turn on a player that general manager Ken Williams was looking to build the outfield around.
The way Walker sees it, however, there's just under a month now to get him right going into next year.
"You have to look at this on a daily basis, get him ready for the game each day,'' Walker said. "As a hitting coach you try and look at what he's thinking, look at him from that respect and simplify it. Base hit up the middle, simple like that. Let him know, 'This is what this guy is going to try and do to you.'
"The last thing you want to be doing as a hitting coach in September is working on mechanics, but whether it's pressing or the mental approach, he's had some pretty consistent misses and most of them have ended up with the problem starting in the legs.''
According to Walker, the approach had been hands off at first, especially because Rios came over with a solid resume. With him drowning now, it's time to throw the life preserver.
"We basically take a commonsense approach - 'What have you done in the past, what kind of approach have you used, what worked for you?' '' Walker said. "The last thing we're going to do is try and impart new things on him and throw something into the mix that he's never dealt with before. So for the first two or three weeks, we've sat back and watched, let him go play and give him the information and workload he's always gotten.
"But now it's to the point where you start looking at where are his misses, what we see that works and doesn't work? That's kind of where we're at now.''

It turned out that the White Sox-Cubs season finale was better than expected, especially if you are a White Sox fan. The Sox return to reality tonight, when they open a four-game series against the Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. But there are plenty of leftovers from the 5-0 victory over the Cubs on Thursday at Wrigley Field.

Dreaming big

With consecutive victories over the Twins and Cubs, the Sox put a positive ending on a dreadful 3-8 trip to Boston, New York, Minnesota and Wrigley Field. Does this mean they are back in the playoff hunt?

''We have to get to .500 before you can entertain thoughts of anything else,'' captain Paul Konerko said of the 66-69 Sox. ''We've dug a big hole for ourselves, and we don't have the right to talk about being in something when you are under .500. That should be our short-term goal, to get back to .500 and just keep grinding away.''

Anyone banking on the Sox still having a shot because they have six games left against the first-place Tigers, here's what manager Ozzie Guillen thinks.

''We are not going to sweep the Tigers,'' Guillen said. ''We're not.
''Hopefully, this thing turns around. But you know what? All year long I've got the same stuff. I get excited for three or four days and all of the sudden backwards.''

If his sore right elbow cooperates, Jake Peavy still plans on making a start for the 2009 White Sox.

After shagging fly balls and throwing a few balls before the White Sox faced the Cubs today at Wrigley Field, Peavy said he still believes a major-league start is a real possibility. A major test will come Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, where Peavy hopes to step on a mound and resume pitching for the first time since his elbow forced him out of a minor-league rehabilitation start Saturday.

''I want to get out there,'' Peavy said. ''This has been frustrating for me just coming to the field for a month now, just spending a countless number of hours in the training room, it gets old and it gets frustrating. I knew this coming in that it was going to be a long road coming back and we were hoping for no setbacks and got one in a way that no one expected. It wasn't an ankle, it wasn't an arm issue, I got hit with a line drive in a terrible place on my arm -- right in the crease of your elbow. It's certainly been tough for me.

''I hope I can get out there. Who knows how good I will be? But it will be fun to be out there and compete. I'm close but I'm far. I think I'm close to returning, but I think I'm far from where I want to be and where I'm used to being.''

p1_peavy2.jpgMINNEAPOLIS - Ozzie Guillen is out of the "Jake Peavy talk'' business, as the manager indicated on Wednesday that he was tired of discussing the injured right-handed pitcher or a possible timetable for his White Sox debut.
Guillen indicated on Tuesday that if the team continued to slide, he was not opposed to simply shutting Peavy down for the rest of the year and make sure he's ready for 2010. But pitching coach Don Cooper is taking a different approach.
"I'm not of that sort right now, I'm not in that same category,'' Cooper said. "I want to see if we can get him healthy right now so he can go out and pitch. That's where I'm standing right now. I'm not going to shut him down and, 'OK, let's see if he's OK in spring training.' If there's one thing I want to accomplish here, whether or not he's pitching in a game or not, which is yet to be determined. I don't know what he's doing today, so how will I know what he will be five days from now? But before he leaves here we're going to make sure he's healthy.
"Wouldn't that be the smart thing to do? Instead of like let him go home, shut him down, see you later and we'll keep our fingers crossed that everything is OK in spring training? No, we're going to make sure he's OK, that's my goal. And hopefully that leads to games. We're not done yet. Yeah, we're in a terrible spot, we need to win some games, but we're going to play until the last out. We're going to be running our guys out there until the last out. As far as Jake Peavy goes, it's a day-to-day thing and I don't know what's going down the next few days because I'm not sure where we're at today.''
Where they were at was Peavy again tried to play catch before Tuesday's game and couldn't go. The pitcher, acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline, was making his third rehab start for Class AAA Charlotte on Aug. 24 to recover from his ankle injury, and took a comebacker in the pitching elbow. An MRI showed there was no structural damage, but fluid in the elbow has been the issue.
"Right, but that being clear, that's fine,'' Cooper said. "That means there is no structural damage. But he got smoked. And he got smoked in his throwing elbow. I'm sitting here saying to be patient with this. He's telling us he can't throw so he can't throw right now. But when he's ready we're going to try something.''

The day after - Sox players sound off about trades

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1396566633_43565120bd.jpgMINNEAPOLIS - The idea that the White Sox had perched themselves atop the Metrodome, waving the white flag on the 2009 season in surrender late Monday night, was an easy conclusion to draw from the outside.
Not necessarily an accurate one, however, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.
He would know. After all, Guillen was a member of the original South Side surrender, back in 1997, when the Sox seemingly gave up on the year just 3 ½ games behind Cleveland, sending out pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez to the Giants at the July 31 trade deadline.
"Not really,'' Guillen responded, when asked if this was White Flag II. "I think right now we can cover that hole [left by Jim Thome]. We got [Mark] Kotsay, we got [Paul] Konerko, Anybody in the outfield. Are we going to cover the home runs and on-base percentage, no. That's not going to be easy. We're going to be a different club without him. Everyone has to step it up a notch and play better. But White Flag? No. A lot of people say that.''
And in sending Jose Contreras to Colorado, the Sox sent out a pitcher that was likely not going to see the mound the final month.
That doesn't mean there wasn't a feeling of loss on Tuesday afternoon. Not of the baseball players that were traded, but of the men they were in the clubhouse.
"Not to see Jim, not see Jose, it's definitely different,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "You get to seeing Jose walking around with a big smile on his face, Jim walking around doing his workout, talking pitchers with him. We have to move on, the whole organization has to move on now and see if we can get things going.''
Easier said than done.
"Forget all the ERA and wins and losses and all that other stuff,'' team captain Paul Konerko said of Contreras. "As players, we will remember a guy who was supposed to come back in June or July [from a ruptured Achilles] and he came back April 1 for his team. A lot of other people will forget that and maybe already have, but players won't.
"As far as Jim goes, we had a lot of fun on and off the field, especially off spending a lot of time. There's nothing I wish I would have done, plus we still are going to see each other. It's not a death in the family, one of those deals.
"We had some good years here. We won the division and saw him hit his 500th. There were a lot of special times. I'm not quite sure it really has set in yet. I'm still looking for him to come walking through the door, one of those deals.''
As far as picking up the pieces on the field, Carlos Torres will start in Contreras' spot on Thursday, while Jermaine Dye was the DH Tuesday night.
"If you hang around long enough in this game, you see that thing come and go,'' Guillen added. "Some times you lose people you really love and sometimes you keep people you don't like. But those two people are special people.''

More comments on the two trades:

Jermaine Dye
"It is what it is. It's a crazy game. You're never too surprised with things that happen in this game anymore. Unfortunately, it happened to a guy like Jim. We wish him well and hopefully, we can have a good month of September and see what happens.''

"Yeah, you could see [Thome was emotional] a little bit. He was down when he was first told, but once he realized what was going on and with him having a chance to probably go to the World Series again, put something on his resume that he's never done, winning a World Series, he felt it would be best for his family.''

A.J. Pierzynski
"Yeah he was great. Getting to play with Jim for four years, getting to know him on a personal level was awesome. He was one of the best people I ever played with. I'll miss having him around, I'll miss his face every day, I'll miss seeing him work his tail off every day to play a game. He'll be missed, but at the same time we have wish him the best and move on. We have to try and right the ship here the last month now.''

Paul Konerko
"I mean definitely tough to see [Thome] go. Great teammate, great guy. He was everything he was cracked up to be before he got here. It was great. As far as me with him, it's going to fall short by this month and hopefully next year. That's a pretty good amount of time as well. We did some good thing. I could always say I played with him, like everyone else in here. You play with a legend like that, it was definitely a privilege. That's the business we are in.

"Any time you win a World Series with a guy [like Jose Contreras] and I just remember all the good things with him. He always took the ball and I'll remember the fact that he came back way ahead of schedule this year. Maybe that wasn't the best thing that he should have done. I don't know that he got off to the best start he could get off to, but that was all in the name of him trying to be there for his team.''

Ozzie Guillen
"It's hard. That's the way baseball is. I think nobody in baseball got a chance to be a Hall of Famer, be so humble and naïve and nice and good teammates and good team guy, you name it, with Jim. I think Jim, class act, baseball people, Jim Thome should be in the top 3. In my book might be number 1. But I know there are a lot of nice people there, but Jim Thome represents the White Sox's organization very well and makes a lot of people proud to wear this uniform and a lot of great things here, on and off the field. That's what's important. And every time he put his uniform for us, he played the game right. He taught kids how to play the game right, and everyone said that every time about him. Those guys, the new kids, the rookie guys growing up and watching this guys, and prepare themselves every day to compete, they should learn a lot. No matter how many days you stay or spend here or years you spend here, this man was outstanding. And the last thing that should happen to him is that he goes to the Hall of Fame. I hope and pray Jim Thome has what he wants - and that's a championship ring. I know it was a tough decision for him to make. I'm glad his wife helped him to make that decision. We're really excited about him to do that, because it's something he always wanted.''

"Great memories [for Contreras]. And some bad memories. But good and great. I don't think we went to the World Series without him. That was a big part in our ballclub that year. Tremendous human being. Great guy. The reason he was there that long or starting every five days was because how great of a guy he was and the respect and love we gave him. And I think Jose earned that. The way he worked, the way he went about his business. He went a long way to what he was for us. I wish them both the best. Both have a good chance to win. There's nothing better than when somebody wants you. A lot of people saying we're offering people around there. Just to let you know, the guy who told me was Mark Buehrle, when I had the message from Kenny. When somebody wants you, especially two veteran guys, I think that's nice when they still want you.''

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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