Ozzie Guillen would like to confidently admit that the White Sox are indeed close to signing free agent shortstop Omar Vizquel for the 2010 season, but then again, the manager knows how it works.
Making sure the free-speaking Guillen doesn't jump the gun on club business, general manager Ken Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn have done their best to keep Guillen just on the outskirts of the circle of trust.
Guillen did confirm on Friday that both he and the club have spoken to Vizquel about him joining the team, but the manager didn't know how far those talks have progressed.
"I hear they are talking,'' Guillen said in a phone interview. "I've talked to Vizquel in the past, but they aren't telling me anything. I just got back from Venezuela, and I guess Kenny and Rick didn't want me running my mouth down there.
"I'll tell you what, though, if this kid is on the team there's no way in hell he's wearing No. 13.''
Guillen has worn 13 his whole career, so sorry Omar.
On the same day that the Sox took a step in adding a veteran presence like Vizquel, however, talks with free agent Scott Podsednik have taken two steps back. According to a source, enough so that Williams is looking elsewhere for a leadoff hitter right now.
"Do we need Pods, yes,'' Guillen said of the situation. "Do we want him? Yes. But we have to make the best deal for this organization. That's not my problem right now. That's on Kenny, Rick and [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] to decide.''
According to pitching coach Don Cooper, for the first time in his tenure, the club will have a pitching summit in January for a group of major and minor-league pitchers in the organization to come together in Chicago, making sure they are practicing what the club is preaching from their hurlers.
"Something kind of new we're thinking about,'' Cooper said. "Bring our system together even more in Chicago. Get the minor-league people and their DNA knowing what we do. Whatever it might be. We're bringing a few guys in for that. We want them to know what to expect at this level. In my mind it's trying to get some guys over the hump. It's trying to continue to reunite our whole pitching system. We're bringing in certain guys on the 8,9 and 10th of January to have a little pitching meeting.
"I don't need Freddy Garcia or Jake Peavy to come to this. John Danks might come, but the main thing I'm doing is looking at numbers and formulating ideas.''
The Sox did announce on Friday that they purchased the contracts of outfielder Stefan Gartrell and right-handed pitchers Brandon Hynick, Brian Omogrosso and Sergio Santos from Class AAA Charlotte and right-hander Santo Luis from Class A Winston-Salem.
With the moves, the Sox 40-man roster is at 37.