GLENDALE, Ariz. - The old dance crew would have been proud.
Everyone else associated with shortstop-turned-reliever Sergio Santos sure was on Tuesday, as the 26-year-old finally captured his eight-year dream of making a big-league team, and did so on the path less traveled.
The right-hander, selected by Arizona in the first-round of the 2002 draft as an infielder, stopped relying on his glove and bat less than a year ago, and put his stock in his arm, switching to pitching.
It proved to be a good decision, as he was told before the Cactus League game against Oakland that he had made the 25-man roster and would join the Sox bullpen.
Santos was called into the office, and awaiting him were manager Ozzie Guillen, general manager Ken Williams and pitching coach Don Cooper. Admittedly, he didn't know what he was going to be told.
"In this sport, you never know what can happen,'' Santos said. "[Williams] told me I'll be on my way to Chicago. And it was like, 'Ok, we are finally doing it.' ''
Not bad for a guy that back in high school was a member of a break-dancing crew and went by the name "Mr. Wizard.''
As far as the rest of the Sox roster, the club announced that outfielder Alejandro De Aza, right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson and infielder were headed to Class AAA Charlotte, while pitchers Greg Aquino, Charlie Leesman and Erick Threets, as well as catcher Donny Lucy were reassigned to minor-league camp.
"They just told me be ready,'' Hudson said of his morning meeting with The Turk. "If something happens tomorrow, I could be the guy. Just go work hard, come up whenever I can, help win a championship.''
As tough as the final cut-day usually is for manager Ozzie Guillen, he did say afterward that there weren't many decisions to be made in this latest camp.
"Yeah, I think this year was easier,'' Guillen explained. "The tough decision was between Nix and Lillibridge about what one we were going to pick.
"It's not easy when you're going to send somebody down and you don't have any space for them, not because they didn't do the job. But the people we sent down last, they did a great job for us in spring training. They came ready to work and impressed a lot of people. That's the reason they were the last guys to get sent down.''
Both Nix and Santos were also helped out by the fact they were both out of options. At the end of the day, that will give them the benefit of the doubt with all things being equal. Nix, however, also feels that going through the 2009 season as a reserve also factored in.
"Last year was the first time I've ever done a role like that before and I feel like I transitioned into it pretty smoothly,'' Nix said. "I never stepped onto the field after not playing for a bit and felt like it was foreign ground, so I felt like I did a good job staying ready.''
It's Santos that is the story of camp, however, especially when his entire journey is taken into consideration. No wonder he was on the phone with members of his family for a good 30 minutes, and very emotional.
"I talked to him and said, 'Santos, you don't have one year of pitching. You've only had a few months pitching. I think the reason we keep you is because we know you can help us win games. This is not the Instructional League, this is not a development situation. Our job is to try to win this division, try to win everything. Don't feel like we kept you because we didn't have any choice. I think you earned it,' '' Guillen said. "He pitched very, very well and that's the reason he's here.''
Now, it's Santos' goal to stay.
"The sky is definitely the limit,'' Santos said. "I will try to be the best I can. I set really high goals for myself.''
And as far as getting a hold of the old dance crew and letting them in on the good news? They may have to wait.
"I haven't been able to get a hold of any of them,'' he said laughing. "Maybe I'll come up with some routines. I'm sure they are doing back-flips.''
March 2010 Archives
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The old dance crew would have been proud.
GLENDALE, Ariz. - NBC meteorologist Ginger Zee was nominated for Woman of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is in the middle of a 10-week fund-raising campaign to see if she and her team can raise the most money.
Why do I care? Well, not only because I am a survivor of Stage IV Follicular Lymphoma, but one of the members on her team is The Score's Chris Rongey, who I also call a friend. Help them out people. Here is the website where people can donate and get more info: http://teamgz.com/
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Welcome to Tuesday - officially the worst day in White Sox camp for Ozzie Guillen this spring.
The manager said on Monday evening that tomorrow would be the day that final players battling for a spot on the 25-man roster would be informed on who made it and who didn't.
Since taking this gig before the 2004 season, Guillen has never enjoyed this part of the process, but he would rather it be done Tuesday than drag on to Charlotte and Atlanta later in the week.
"In my mind, I have the ballclub but I need to hear from other people,'' Guillen said. "I think everyone has a little idea of what's going on, but in the meanwhile we need to listen to each other to see that we are on the same page. Discuss about players. Our plans if something happens, what happens. All those little things we're getting together.
"That's very important and that's the reason we didn't do it [before the Monday night game].''
Basically, the final decision seems to be do the Sox take 13 pitchers, meaning Greg Aquino makes the team, or does it go to a reserve - either Jayson Nix or Alejandro De Aza? Considering Nix is out of options and Guillen doesn't want to make veteran Omar Vizquel - the only other reserve middle infielder on the roster - have to worry about mop-up duties, Nix seems to be the logical choice.
It was Guillen that said on Sunday that reliever Sergio Santos was on his team, as far as the skipper was concerned, so he seems to be a safe bet.
Place your bets
Guillen said the Opening Day lineup is still being discussed, but with Cleveland scheduled to start right-hander Jake Westbrook, that might mean Mark Kotsay gets the starting nod in the DH spot over Andruw Jones.
"One thing I'm going to ask my players in the [pre-Opening Day] meeting is to be patient,'' Guillen said. "I know everyone wants to be in the lineup, especially Opening Day. Be patient. Don't feel left out.
"I'm the type of guy who likes to play guys a lot, especially the bench. I've done that the past few years. They're going to get their at-bats. This is not about one or two players. It's about the ballclub.''
SURPRISE, Ariz. - As far as manager Ozzie Guillen was concerned, reliever Sergio Santos was on his 25-man roster when the club breaks camp in mid-week.
Then again, the White Sox pride themselves on making decisions through a democracy, not a dictatorship, so Guillen could only speak for himself.
"On my team, yes,'' Guillen said of the reliever. "He throws the ball very well. I think it's something I like, [pitching coach Don Cooper] likes and [general manager] Kenny [Williams] likes. We got to sit together and see what's best for the club. Or see what we're going to do next.''
That decision could come as early as Monday, as Guillen would like to see all the players left in camp know their immediate future. The club is expected to have more meetings before the Monday evening Cactus League game with the Angels.
"We like to do it as quick as we can,'' Guillen said. "I think it's fair for everyone to say what guys are going to be up and what guys are going to be sent down.''
As far as the talk that Santos, who has a fastball that hits in the high 90s, was being groomed to be the closer of the future, Guillen wasn't about to go out on that limb just yet.
"Not yet, nope,'' Guillen said of Santos being looked at as a possible closer.
Asked if it was because of makeup or stuff, Guillen replied, "The stuff is there. But if you're a closer, you got to throw strikes. You got to be around [the plate]. But when you throw 90-plus, that helps. But the mentality, I don't know. He didn't start pitching until last year. But the arm, yes. Everything else, we have to wait.''
The Sox have been kicking around the idea that 13 pitchers might be a better mix for their roster, but that seems to be more smokescreen than reality.
"Some people like 13, some like 12,'' Guillen said. "It depends what we want, what we need. We're going to make it for the ballclub. Try to get the best guys out there. I think right now, I think Bobby [Jenks] made the difference, because if Bobby was not on the team, we would worry about who was going to cover up his space. But having Bobby [healthy], it's a different scenario.''
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - The results were not exactly what Jake Peavy was hoping for, but as far as the right-hander was concerned on Saturday, get back to him once "they turn the lights on.''
Pitching in a minor-league game against the Reds, Peavy allowed seven runs on 12 hits in seven innings of work in what was his heavy-lifting day, as Peavy put in a spring-high 112 pitches.
It was the 112 pitches that stood out for him.
"I mean I'm ready to go into a season,'' Peavy said. "Obviously, still things to work on, but the biggest thing about spring training is getting to where you can get up and down seven times. I'm ready to go eight, nine, whatever it may be.''
Peavy said that his biggest problem was locating against right-handed hitters, but not a big enough concern to lose sleep over. If it's a problem on April 7 - his 2010 scheduled debut - then it's something to talk about.
"Spring training games in general are tough, but this [pitching in a minor-league game] is extremely tough,'' Peavy said. "You know me, I'm a very passionate and kind of just going full boar, and I couldn't be that person [Saturday]. I'm not sure how that would come off in something like this. I don't want to upset anybody and they would probably commit me to a hospital.
"Tune in on about April 7 and you'll get a little better idea [of my real emotion].''
Peavy was looking forward to April 7 for other reasons, as well.
"I'm excited to start this chapter in my career,'' Peavy added. "Last year was just getting our feet wet and I feel like I owed it to the organization, to the fans, to my teammates to get out there, but this is a fresh start. I'm a part of something that we hope is going to be special and I believe in the group we have assembled. We feel like we can accomplish some cool things and that starts with winning the Central, and we feel like we have the group that can make that happen.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Pitcher Jake Peavy was scheduled to travel with the club to Tucson, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen opted to leave him back so that he can pitch in a minor-league game against Cincinnati. He had his reasons.
"I changed Peavy's schedule because I don't want Peavy to get any at-bats because he might take extra batting practice or try to beat out a ground ball and that's not what we're looking for,'' Guillen said.
Peavy hurt his ankle last year running the bases, and missed a chunk of time with San Diego and the Sox.
Gordon Beckham was a late scratch before Friday's Cactus League game with Arizona, and not a single person was disappointed.
Because the big picture for the White Sox is that while there have been a few dings this spring, there have been no serious dents.
"One thing about getting here [in camp], you want everybody to be healthy and everyone works hard enough to keep everyone in good shape,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think the way we handled the players in spring training is very reasonable about how everyone goes about their business - little by little. They play a couple times. We take care of the players pretty well about that particular thing. But that's the key to everything on every team. You stay healthy, we got a better chance to win games.''
According to Beckham, he was on the field before the game with the Diamondbacks and "was moving around a little bit and my side got tight on me. The good thing is I don't think it's an oblique. I did that last year and it's lower. Hopefully, it's just a strain.''
The second baseman was hitting .300 with a homer and six RBI in 13 games this spring, and was replaced with Jayson Nix.
As far as the health of the team, besides Bobby Jenks and his sore right calf, there had been very few setbacks.
GLENDALE, Ariz. - A second consecutive scoreless outing from Bobby Jenks continued to ease some minds, but all that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cared about afterward was how his closer felt.
Jenks had been slowed with a sore right calf last week, and there were suddenly concerns on if he would be ready for Opening Day, despite Jenks insisting he would answer the bell.
On Wednesday, he took further steps in proving that, throwing an inning against Arizona, allowing a hit, while walking one and fanning two.
"I don't worry about him being scoreless,'' Guillen said. "The one thing about it is how are you going to feel after the fact of coming back from an injury? He talked to me and said he feels fine, the calf is where it needs to be. Obviously he's going to continue to have treatment, but the ball is coming out of his hand better. I just worry about Bobby's calf, his arm is in perfect shape.
"The way he's walking around, throwing the ball, it's a great sign.''
The person that has seemed to be the least worried throughout all this has been Jenks. He missed the last few weeks of the season with the calf, but said this was a different feel.
"Feeling good,'' Jenks said. "Like I said, once I felt fine it wouldn't take long for me to get going.
"I'm obviously the only one who knows how I feel, and where I was at physically, I knew it wasn't a setback. I know what it felt like last year and it was nothing like that this year. It was more on the safer side of what we did earlier [in spring].''
Call it brotherly peer pressure, but the youngest of the three Guillen boys, Ozney, has now followed suit, opening up a Twitter account on Tuesday night.
Now, before the Sox get all worried and give VP of Communications Scott Reifert another target to "monitor,'' the high school senior has made his account private. In other words, he will only allow followers that he selects to see what he tweets.
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The White Sox still don't want to show their hand, even with a clubhouse that has fewer bodies in it after Tuesday's latest roster moves.
They still want Brent Lillibridge and Jayson Nix to think there's a competition for the final infielder utility spot, as well as the battle still going on for a final bullpen spot.
Fact is, Nix is on the team. Manager Ozzie Guillen made that obvious after the 6-1 loss to San Francisco, somewhat slipping up in talking about how many pitchers they would carry.
"We don't know yet,'' Guillen said. "Everything is ... it's tough because if we go more than 12 [pitchers], we need one more guy, utility guy would be [Omar] Vizquel and Nix. Everyone else would be rotating in the outfield and DH spot with [Mark] Kotsay.''
In other words, the real debate left is do they go 12 pitchers and go with Sergio Santos, who is out of options? Or do they take 11 and the lefty bat of Alejandro De Aza?
From the sound of it, Guillen would like the extra pitcher because of the uncertainty with Bobby Jenks and the fact that J.J. Putz is coming of a shortened 2009 season in which he needed surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
"He's coming from an injury,'' Guillen said of Putz. "We've got to be careful with how we throw him. He's thrown good. I'm talking about protection. He's come from injury and he's bounced back very well, but I'm talking about protecting him. The only way to protect him, I think [Scott] Linebrink has thrown the ball well. The way [Linebrink's] throwing the ball right now it makes it easy for everyone.''
Whatever the club decides, expect it to go all the way until the end of camp.
SURPRISE, Ariz. - The core group of White Sox players?
Some members of the Sox front office? Not so much, evident by the on-going saga between Oney Guillen and the organization Ozzie Guillen's middle son used to work for.
"As a rule of thumb, twice a month something is going to come up,'' team captain Paul Konerko said Monday, when asked about possible distractions that have come in the wake of "TwitterGate.'' "Sometimes it's back-to-back in a week, sometimes every other week, but if you're a White Sox player you just kind of prepare that it's not boring around here and things kind of pop up. That's just the way it is. There's always some controversies that pop up here that are a little different than most teams, but that's the way we roll here.''
It was Friday that Oney Guillen was asked to resign by his father, Ozzie, after the club had confronted the manager on what they felt was criticism coming from his son's Twitter account. On Monday morning, Oney first appeared on The Score's Mully and Hanley show to talk about the controversy, and again, didn't pull his punches.
"This has been boiling over for the last couple years now with tensions from certain people, and I think what happened is my dad let me know that he didn't want me to be there because it would make it uncomfortable for him because of what they were asking from me,'' Oney told the station. "I was going to be under a microscope and be held to different standards, and my dad felt for us as a family, and for me, I just walk away. I agree with him 100 percent.''
Later, he was asked who exactly in the organization was first upset this spring that Ozzie Guillen had started to Twitter, and replied, "[GM] Kenny [Williams], [VP of Communications] Scott [Reifert], I'm sure [assistant GM] Rick Hahn will say he didn't have nothing to do with anything because he's always involved but when you ask him I guess he just goes behind peoples' back and says whatever.''
Not only was Ozzie Guillen upset that Oney went on the radio after he told him not to talk about it anymore, but was even more ticked that Hahn had the bus driven over him.
"I do mind,'' Ozzie Guillen replied when asked if he minded Oney going on the air. "I talked to him over the phone, but I have to respect his opinion. I'm the last person that can tell people what to say. In the meanwhile, he put some people on the spot. I know for a fact that this will be the last time he talks about this because I still have a little power over my kids.
"In the meanwhile, he said what he had to say, maybe people don't like what he said, it can go either way. I just told him it's over with, you expressed yourself, you took this thing off your chest.''
Guillen went onto say, "He's 24-years-old, he's a grown man, he doesn't work for the organization anymore, but for now he has to respect where his daddy works, and to me this is a temple and this temple has to be respected.''
Guillen again brought up the fact that the last thing he wanted was this to be a distraction to his players, but he need not worry about that.
"Obviously we know what happened, I don't know all the details, but I don't think it affects us on the field at all one way or the other,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "I'm sure Ozzie is upset, I'm sure Oney is upset, I'm sure Kenny and Jerry [Reinsdorf] are upset that it got put out publicly, but it doesn't mean anything to the team as far as I'm concerned. It's always one thing or another around here and the guys that have been around are used to it. We deal with it and move on.''
Pierzynski also said that Oney wouldn't be viewed any differently by the players, even ones he criticized in the past.
"I'm friendly with Oney,'' the catcher said. "I hope he can still wrangle up the money to go to Wrestlemania with me now that he's out of a job.
"You never want to see stuff like that made public and become a pissing match in the newspaper, which is what it has become.''
For the last time as far as Ozzie Guillen was concerned.
"He feels betrayed by some people in the White Sox, and that's his own opinion,'' Guillen added. "White Sox didn't fire my kid, I did. If they want to give him a second chance, third chance, fourth chance, I don't believe in that. I did it to set an example. We have to respect our bosses. When you are paid by one club, you have to respect that.''
So what's next?
"You let it pass,'' Konerko added. "Something will happen in the next week or two that will move us on from it - print it.''
MARYVALE, Ariz. - Hitting coach Greg Walker has been working on Mark Teahen's ailing swing. As far as where Teahen is mentally, well manager Ozzie Guillen said that might be a work in progress.
Teahen, who was acquired from Kansas City in the offseason and then given a three-year, $14 million extension, enters the weeks hitting .120 in Cactus League play.
The Sox have seen players come in and try to do too much, only to mentally spiral downward as the season has gone on before, with Nick Swisher and Alex Rios great examples of that. There was no Act II for Swisher, who was sent packing, but Rios looks to be a different person on and off the field this spring.
Guillen's hope is Teahen takes note of what Rios did.
"I'm going to give him every opportunity and time to get back to where he is,'' Guillen said of Teahen. "I talked to Walk [Sunday] morning about the way Rios is right now, he's laughing, smiling. Last year, Rios didn't even say high to anyone. It's a little different when you know the players.
"I talked to Teahen early in camp and said, 'Just go out and play the game. Let the 0-for-4 and the other stuff stay on the field. I'll handle that. I handle it with the media, I'll handle it with the fans. Go out there and do your stuff, have fun.' Because when you come over and hear all the expectations, how the team is going to do, it might get you and you get caught up in that stuff. Just go out and play third base. Was I concerned? I was concerned a couple of days ago because his swing was not - even in batting practice I didn't like his swing. His swing now is working a little more with Greg and I see stuff come along.''
Teahen played in a minor-league "B'' Game on Sunday, getting at-bats every inning to work through his struggles. He may also do that Monday morning.
Big man speaks
Bobby Jenks is scheduled to test the injured right calf Monday against Kansas City, and was still feeling that April 5 is doable for him to be ready.
"That's part of the other good news,'' Jenks said, "it's a few days of rest. I'll be ready for opening day. No doubt about it.''
The Sox have also been tinkering with Jenks throwing out of a full wind-up to get his mechanics cleaned up, and Jenks was optimistic with that, as well.
"It's like riding a bike,'' the closer added. "It takes a few times and just find that rhythm and balance.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The White Sox might not lead the league in wins over the last decade, but no team in baseball has more "Gates'' as the traveling circus from the South Side.
Who could forget "Shoulder-gate'' back in 2001? Then there was the ruckus that "Blow-up Doll-Gate'' caused in 2008.
A little damage control here, an apology there, they all seem to disappear. It became evident on Saturday that "Twitter-Gate'' would as well.
"I feel free now,'' Oney Guillen insisted before the Cactus League game with San Diego.
His father, manager Ozzie Guillen, also felt his son was free after the elder Guillen instructed his son to resign from his position in the Sox video department on Friday morning in the wake of the organization coming down on the 24-year-old Oney about critical remarks he had made on his Twitter account.
Guillen did not want to meet with the media when he left the facility following Friday's loss to the Cubs, but with time to cool and think it over, he was not at a loss for words Saturday morning.
"I told him to resign myself,'' Ozzie Guillen said. "They didn't fire him. That came from me. From his father to say, 'Listen, I think it's time to move on and walk away.' I want to just think about my ballclub and put everything behind and worry about to win games and lose games. I think I owe 20-30 guys out there respect. To my players, the whole organization, they deserve some respect and don't have to deal with a bunch of crap behind this thing.''
The obvious issue that Guillen had to address was where he stands with general manager Ken Williams. The relationship between the two had been described as brotherly in the past, but that was before this offseason. An offseason in which the two have not agreed on player personnel, an Ozzie Guillen website and now tweets from Guillen's middle son.
"I hope our relationship stays the same and I think it will be,'' Guillen said. "Kenny and I are grown men. I expect you guys to just leave Kenny alone. It's going to be a White Sox soap opera and I don't want that [bleep]. Just let Kenny worry about taking care of this ballclub and bring me good players, that's it. Let's go move on and win. The only thing that's going to make this thing better is winning and I think we have a great opportunity to win this thing.
"Kenny's my boss, he's always going to be and I respect that. I don't think [Yanks GM Brian] Cashman and [former New York manager] Joe Torre got along that well and they won six [bleeping] championships.''
At the same time, Guillen was acting every bit the father.
Asked about Oney's tweets, Guillen said, "I thought they were funny.''
And the one about the food being awful at Market - a restaurant that Williams has a stake in?
"My wife told Kenny right in his face how terrible the food was,'' Guillen said. "The thing that bothers me is a couple of things [Oney] said, about [bench coach] Joey [Cora], it was funny but people take it the wrong way. We made a couple of errors and he made fun of Joey.''
The Guillen boys are like family to Cora, but people on the outside might not have known that.
As far as Oney is concerned, his biggest complaint was the way the organization had "spies'' monitoring his account, but no one said anything to him face-to-face before Friday.
"They talk about family atmosphere and being up front, where was it?'' Oney said. "No one ever came and talked to me about it face-to-face. No one approached me like a man, after they supposedly preach that here.''
Good news for the Guillens, Oney could have a bigger role at The Score-670 AM now, already scheduled to host a Sunday night show with older brother, Ozzie Jr. That could be bad news for the Sox front office, who at least can sleep a bit easier knowing the entire show is in Spanish.
"Of my three kids, I think Oney is like me,'' Guillen said. "He says [bleep]. He says what he feels.''
Williams spoke to reporters on Saturday, but made the decision not to speak to the Sun-Times.
So for now, the latest drama seems to be over. Well, at least until "Book-Gate.''
"I don't write my book until I'm done with baseball,'' Guillen added. "If I write my book now, a lot of people are going to hate me.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Forget smoke, now there's fire.
Since Ozzie Guillen started talking at the age of two, he is yet to walk away from an awaiting media.
But there was the manager on Friday, walking through the facility of Camelback Ranch, shades covering his eyes, looking past the collection of cameras and tape recorders gathered outside of the doors of his office.
The manager's face was dead stoic.
He was walking out a dad.
There have been signs the past two months that Guillen and general manager Ken Williams haven't been on the same page at times, starting with Williams admitting he was "uncomfortable'' with Guillen's DH-by-committee plan all the way to a Guillen website - approved by MLB - hitting a wall in the front office and being scrapped.
Now, the two don't even appear to be in the same phone book.
It started Friday morning with Oney Guillen, the middle son of the three and an employee of the Sox in the scouting and video end of things, being called into the principal's office for his Twitter account. According to an Oney Tweet on Wednesday, the Sox had been monitoring what he says, and weren't exactly pleased with it.
Oney wrote, "I love it how people are monitoring my tweets like I'm someone important. Everyone is entitled to there[sic] own opinion.''
According to a source, Williams wanted Oney to stop twittering or at least tone it down. Rather than get into a back and forth, Oney then made the decision to simply resign. The source did say that things were heated, however.
Obvious, by what was later tweeted by Oney throughout the day:
"Remember this day march 19 2010. Mark my words'' and then "I hope the dorks aren't running the organization or else were f-----. 3 geeks who never played baseball a day in there life telling experts what to do''
After the loss to the Cubs, the drama continued, as Williams had a lengthy conversation with Guillen's wife, Ibis, outside the facility. Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen sent a tweet out that read: "Hey kid we are behind you. No matter what''
Guillen also tweeted later on that he wanted to apologize to the Chicago media for the blow-off, and
"Hope this doesn't affect our relationship.''
Williams was asked to comment on all that went on, and simply texted "No need for comment.''
That was a far cry from last week, when he was asked about the website roadblock and responded, "Don't ask me another question about Twitter, websites, blog, radio shows, non [sic] of that [bleep]. All I care about is players playing, coaches coaching and managers managing. If they do that and do it well, we got no problems, but if they don't ... ''
So with all the social media dueling going on, where exactly does this leave the Guillen-Williams relationship? After all, the two have had their battles before and overcome them.
But this is different now, this is family.
Anyone that knows the Guillens also knows that they are as tight-knit a family as there is. You pick on one of the three Guillen boys - right or wrong - and you can bet daddy lion will do everything he can to protect the cubs.
The Sox have earned the reputation as an organization that put the fun in dysfunction. That was before Friday.
You can go ahead and flip the switch to DEFCON 1, because if things go poorly on the field this year, the brotherly relationship that Williams and Guillen once shared could reach explosive proportions.
That's the shame in all of this, that it reached this level.
The Sox have a chance to do something special this season, but yet they have members of the organization more concerned with controlling the message and monitoring the tweets of a 24-year-old.
Did Oney Guillen cross the line with his tweets before Friday? Not really, when you take them in the context from which they came.
"Why do people give a s--- about me. I'm not famous at all. Its not important or relevant'' Oney tweeted late Friday afternoon.
Obviously, members of the Sox organization felt otherwise. A dangerous decision, considering they are now messing with the face of the organization.
The Sox weren't World Series winners until Ozzie came aboard. They knew what they were getting with him, and that means the entire package, family and all.
Friday evening, Ozzie sent out another tweet, this one is Spanish. Translated it read: "They touched me where it hurts me the most, but I have to be ready for what comes like I've always done.''
He sounded just like a dad.
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Both Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz threw simulated games on Wednesday, but with just over two weeks left before camp breaks, only one had a sense of humor about it.
Jenks, who has been under a microscope throughout the offseason, was asked if members of the staff had been watching his velocity, as well as his location in the session, and fired back a "Next.''
"I'm done with the velocity thing,'' Jenks insisted. "That's every year. Next.''
What Jenks would talk about was the fact that come Opening Day against the Indians on April 5, he would be ready to close games out.
"As long as I'm healthy and mechanically fine, I'll be good to go,'' Jenks said.
As far as Putz, he put his "where are you preperation-wise'' percentage at 89.4, and said that he had accomplished his goal during the simulate game. Asked what that goal was the righty said, "Get through it.''
"It was probably a good time in the spring for it, get your mechanics ironed out and have [pitching coach Don Cooper] Coop stand right there and say, 'Give me a couple of these and let's try and go off of this with this.' '' Putz said. "I thought it went well.''
Like Jenks, Putz didn't see any reason why he wouldn't be ready when the games start counting.
"By the end of spring I think I'll be where I'll need to be,'' Putz said.
Guillen on Washington
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was sad to hear the news about Texas skipper Ron Washington failing a drug test for cocaine, but said he needed to be supported.
"We're not invisible,'' Guillen said. "It's one of those things that makes you shake your head and say, 'It can happen to anyone.' One thing about it, it ain't going to happen to me, I guarantee you that. I grew up in some bad stuff, I know how that stuff is so bad. I support him. He made a mistake. I'm not saying he did the right thing, but in the meanwhile, we can't turn our back against him.''
As far as the message it sends to fans, Guillen said, "They know Major League Baseball isn't playing around. They're serious about it. As long as they don't check for Vodka and Corona I'll be fine.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Here is the scorecard for the two position battles that the Sox do have in camp. The contenders are ranked from strongest to worst.
The 25th man/utility spot
1. Jayson Nix
2. Brent Lillibridge
3. Jordan Danks
4. Alejandro De Aza
5. C.J. Retherford
The 12th pitcher/middle reliever
1. RHP Sergio Santos
2. RHP Greg Aquino
3. LHP Erik Threets
4. RHP Daniel Hudson
5. RHP Carlos Torres
6. RHP Freddy Dolsi
7. RHP Daniel Cabrera
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - The battle between Jayson Nix and Brent Lillibridge for that final reserve spot is still a dead heat.
Unfortunately, both players fall under the category of "disappointing,'' so manager Ozzie Guillen is hoping that it could only get better.
"Very, very disappointed the last three days,'' Guillen replied, when asked about the Lillibridge-Nix duel.
He was then asked if that disappointment was in both, and again pulled no punches.
"Yeah,'' he replied. "I think Nix was swinging the bat very good, he just had a bad three days.
"I think they're still playing the same game - little guys, big games. If those guys do what they're supposed to do it makes it easier on me because I think it makes it easier for one of them, or both, to do what they're supposed to do.''
Guillen was critical of both players last season, especially with the fact that he felt they focused to much on being power hitters rather than hitting the ball on the ground and using their legs.
With Nix and Lillibridge scuffling that has also opened the door for rookies Jordan Danks and C.J. Retherford. Guillen has been gushing over the younger Danks brother since the start of camp, but Retherford has played his way into Guillen's sights.
"I love him,'' Guillen said. "So far what we ask him to do in spring training he does - move the guy over, get big hits for us, he does. He's a sleeper, but he has started waking people up.''
No holding him back
Guillen said that he had a talk with struggling closer Bobby Jenks on Sunday morning, and liked what he heard from the right-hander.
"I can only go on what the trainers say and the players feel, and then we go from there,'' Guillen said. "If the players feel that they feel better, we count on that. I always say to them just be honest with yourself because I would rather prevent soreness from getting to an injury. He said everything felt fine.''
There had been concern with Jenks and his right calf in camp, as well as the fact that he allowed seven earned runs in his first two appearances.
"I think Bobby is going to step it up a notch because I don't think Bobby is the type of guy that likes to be embarrassed,'' Guillen said. "I don't think we're going to hold him back because he says he feels good.''
TEMPE, Ariz. - Just in case Jake Peavy hadn't already endeared himself to the South Side since arriving last July, Friday might have sealed the deal.
The White Sox ace took a comebacker off the left shoulder in the first inning of his three-shutout innings of work against the Angels, and was asked about the treatment he received for the bruise.
"Ice? I'm not a big believer in ice unless I'm hurt,'' Peavy said, sounding like some nameless cowboy out of a Clint Eastwood movie. "I didn't even ice it to be honest with you.''
OK, so he doesn't believe in ice.
But he does believe in his organization, and he made that very evident after his spring debut in the 10-7 win over Los Angeles.
"I'll tell you this, we can be the favorite to win it or we can finish last, but I promise you this, the 25 guys we break camp with believe that we are the favorites,'' Peavy said. "We never take the field feeling like an underdog. Whether that's right or wrong, I don't know, but I believe it.
"When [teammate] John Danks pitches, he believes he's going to win, whether he's facing C.C. Sabathia or a call-up. That's the way you have to take the mound and that's what I love about this team, the attitude of this team, and it starts from [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] to [general manager] Kenny [Williams] to our manager [Ozzie Guillen]. That's fun to be a part of and I've never been a part of anything like this.''
As a matter of fact, Peavy went out of his way to praise his owner, and the more he spends time with Reinsdorf this spring, the better he's feeling about champagne showers in October.
"We spoke very briefly a couple times last year and then sat down a couple time this spring, but Jerry seems to be a great owner - hands on,'' Peavy said. "It's great to see your owner in the clubhouse, it's great to see your owner have lunch with the players. I think that's fun for the players, when the players see the boss, and see how passionate he is for the game, it makes you want to win for him.
"When you hear Jerry Reinsdorf talk, he talks about winning the championship. When you hear your owner speak like that it trickles down and makes everyone else have the same tunnel vision.''
A far cry from what Peavy was feeling as a member of the Padres.
"It's nice being part of an organization that if we're winning, we're making money and people are showing up, we can definitely make another move, I don't think that's ever been the mindset of the team I've been on,'' he continued. "That's in no way knocking San Diego because I love that place and love my time there, but just didn't have the resources that we have here and just didn't have the personnel on the field most of the time that we have here. That's fun as a player.''
As far as what Peavy accomplished in his debut, surviving the first-inning comebacker that missed his head by about six inches, hitting his left shoulder, was the most important. Three scoreless to go along with two hits and three strikeouts was just icing on the cake.
Anyway, Peavy has bigger goals in mind than Cactus League play.
"I'm as excited as I have ever been about any season I've been a part of,'' Peavy added. "Honestly, I believe this team can win the World Series. If we're healthy, I'll take our chances. Will we be the favorites? Probably not. But can we win 11 games in the postseason and hoist a World Series Championship trophy? Absolutely we can.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Ken Williams is fond of telling the media to "stay out of White Sox business,'' and now the organization is making sure that to a certain extent that edict also includes manager Ozzie Guillen.
At least as far as plans Guillen had to launch his own website this spring.
Guillen confirmed on Thursday that while his Twitter account and Facebook page were allowed to stay up and running - although only after a talk with his general manager about the subject matter - the idea of Guillen having his own website has been shot down by members of the front office.
"It's a lot of reasons they have,'' Guillen explained. "I wanted to do it, I thought it was a great idea, but in the meanwhile I have to go by their rules. The White Sox rules are they want me to stay away from a lot of things and I respect that.''
Considering the organization has approved an MLB Network reality show to film a behind-the-scenes show that will begin airing in July, as well as allowing Guillen to tweet 'til his heart's content - as long as it's not White Sox business - it would seem strange that they drew the line in the sand with an Ozzie Guillen website.
"It was an MLB-type thing, it would have involved the team,'' Guillen said. "But when you're going to involve the team, you're going to involve a lot of people. You're talking from [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] to Kenny, to the baseball players, to the [public relations] department, a lot of people. A few guys from the front office didn't like the idea, they said it wasn't a good idea right now. I respect that and that's why I shut it down.''
Vice-President of Communications Scott Reifert said it had nothing to do with any concerns coming from his office.
So when Guillen said "front office,'' the logical assumption is it came from higher up.
"Don't ask me another question about Twitter, websites, blog, radio shows, non of that [bleep],'' Williams said in a text. "All I care about is players playing, coaches coaching and managers managing. If they do that and do it well, we got no problems, but if they don't ... ''
Guillen's hope with the website was to not only reach out to the Sox fans on the South Side, but his fans in Venezuela, and do so in a way that everyone would understand how and why baseball decisions off the field are made.
"The way baseball is going right now fans know about it,'' Guillen explained. "Fans know so much about the game because the way the media and so many ways to cover a team. Before it was just the newspapers, and now it's computers and Facebook, so many things. I think the more fans know about the game, know about what we're doing here, I think they could love the game more.
"Fans know a lot about what happens on the field, but they don't know what happens off the field. Sometimes they criticize people because they don't know how we make the team, why this guy is here, why this guy is not here. The more fans know about the game, they would appreciate that.''
Guillen might not agree with the Sox' logic on this one, but said there were no hard feelings or sleepless nights because of it.
"I have a job I have to take care of here,'' the skipper said. "If people think it would come between the job and what I'm doing off the field, well I would rather take my job [as manager] and take the job the way it should be.''
Still, Guillen couldn't help but wonder if another manager wanted to have a website would it fall under the same scrutiny? A big deal was made of his Twitter account at the start of spring, enough so that Guillen then insisted, "I guess I can't have fun, I guess. I flunked in school five times, and I never had as much trouble as I'm having right now. Why do I have to explain to people why I'm doing this?''
Asked on Thursday about the latest roadblock thrown in his information superhighway, Guillen could only shrug.
"Maybe because I'm so outspoken and all that stuff, but in the meanwhile I don't need a website, I don't need Twitter, I don't need Facebook to let the fans know how I feel about my ballclub,'' Guillen said. "I'm very open with the fans, I'm very open with the players, and I'm very open and honest with the media. That's why I don't need any of those tools to get to the fans.''
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The idea of facing Jon Rauch in the ninth inning and the game on the line, rather than the brick wall that had been Twins closer Joe Nathan, well, put it this way, Ozzie Guillen wasn't exactly shedding tears for Minnesota.
"If Rauch is the closer I will take my chance,'' Guillen insisted before the Cactus League game against the Giants. "I was talking to [bench coach] Joey [Cora] on the way here and said, 'I will take that chance.' It's nothing against Rauch, but Nathan is so good against us ... I don't remember in the six or seven years with this ballclub that we had a good day against him except once, that's it.''
With the news out of Florida on Tuesday morning that Nathan has a tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and is likely headed for Tommy John Surgery, the balance of power in the Central Division instantly switched.
That doesn't mean the Sox were scurrying to start printing up the playoff tickets, but there was no denying that without the Twins having the best closer in all of baseball the last five years at their disposal an organization has been weakened.
If only Paul Konerko was buying it.
The Sox team captain would like to think that the Sox now have a clearer path to the postseason, but he sounded more like a guy that had seen his share of ghosts wearing the Twins uniform. Minnesota was supposed to be weakened when they lost A.J. Pierzynski. It didn't happen. Then when they lost Torii Hunter. Didn't happen. Then Johan Santana. Didn't happen.
"My feeling on this is it's something about the Twins and the way I feel about the Twins, it always seems like when someone goes down or leaves - and this might be a little different wrinkle for them because I don't think they have had somebody like this go down - but when you look at a [Joe] Mauer or [Justin] Morneau or a starting pitcher that's gone down, it always seems like they've had someone waiting there that you've never heard of that comes in and has a career year,'' Konerko said. "It always seems like they have an ace up their sleeves.
"For us looking at it, you just have to assume that someone will step up. We have to just go about our business and feel like when we play the Twins it's going to be as tough as it always is. If it isn't then hopefully that will be good for us. But they have so much character on that team, I don't see them falling to pieces because they lost a guy - he maybe the guy - but they didn't fall apart when they lost Morneau late last year. In fact, they got better. I respect the Twins more than any other team in the big leagues.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - It may have only been a "B'' Game on Monday morning, but Dayan Viciedo got the regular-season wrath from not only general manager Ken Williams, but manager Ozzie Guillen.
The young Cuban didn't run a ball out against the Dodgers, leading to Williams yelling at him from the stands.
Guillen spoke to Viciedo on the matter, and said the message was received.
"I was [upset], too,'' Guillen said. "I was more upset than Kenny was. We don't put up with that stuff here. And we don't like players playing like that. Especially like a kid who just played Double-A last year. Especially the way the minor league kids are playing right now, the way they're playing well and hustling.
"I talked to him in the dugout before Kenny came down. I talked to him in the dugout after Kenny came down and he promised me it won't happen again. It's something that I make very clear in spring training. I don't care if we play a D game or if we play against the coaches. We play for a reason. And the reason is to play good, no matter who you play. He made a mistake. Hopefully he learns from that mistake and I don't expect that to happen again and you move on.
"He knows he did a wrong thing. And it will be a better thing for him next time.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - All the signs have been put in, the drills have been done and the meetings of what's expected for the 2010 season have been held.
As far as manager Ozzie Guillen was concerned on Wednesday, now it's time to see how this will play out with the start of Cactus League play Thursday afternoon.
"Even the players, when you do every routine day in and day out, it's kind of ... hopefully when the games start, [Thursday] the season starts for us,'' Guillen said. "I mean spring training for some people is to get ready, for some people to make ballclubs, but to me it's how to prepare the ballclub to play our way, to play the way we want to play.''
It also means that Guillen will begin to show the versatility his DH-by-committee plan really gives him. With Alex Rios nursing a sore throwing shoulder, Guillen will sit him out of the opener and then start Rios as the DH for a few games, while Andruw Jones plays in the outfield.
When Rios is ready it will be Jones and Mark Kotsay working out of the DH spot until Paul Konerko or Carlos Quentin need a day off from the field. The days of making sure he gets Jim Thome or a Frank Thomas as many starts as possible in the DH spot to get their at-bats are over.
"We'll see if those guys swing the bat better, then they stay in the lineup,'' Guillen said. "If Andruw's swinging the bat good against lefties, I'm not going to bench him because he's a righty. It's the same way with Kotsay. That position's going to be whoever swings the bat the best or whoever needs a day off.''
But what if the DH-by-committee doesn't look to be working in the spring, would general manager Ken Williams - no big fan of it - step in with a trade?
"That's Kenny's job,'' Guillen said. "But I think when the guy struggles as designated hitter, I have more people to cover that role. I can bench the guy for a little while, then continue to play everybody else. It's easier. We didn't start yet. I'm very excited with this ballclub. I think everything is going to work out pretty good.''
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Last time manager Ozzie Guillen looked in his clubhouse on Tuesday, Gordon Beckham was still in a White Sox uniform and Paul Konerko was still his first baseman.
So matter how much the rumor mill wants to churn up the Adrian Gonzalez to the Sox for a package headlined by Beckham, this just in - "Right now, the expectation about this guy and that guy, I like the team we have,'' Guillen reiterated. "We have a general manager [in Ken Williams] who keeps things quiet, thank God. And when he makes deals, it's for a reason. But we plan to have Gordon for a long time. I don't see why people are still talking about it.''
There has never been a question that the Sox have interest in acquiring Gonzalez from San Diego, even before Jake Peavy went public with his discussion about Gonzalez with Williams. But Williams also wants Roy Halladay, Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer. That's what happens when the GM starts with looking to acquire the world and works backwards from there.
"That's all a TV thing,'' Guillen said of the Beckham-Gonzalez trade talk. "Every trade the White Sox want to make, people think they're going to make with the White Sox is Gordon, [Gavin] Floyd and [John] Danks. Those names are going to come up. And we have to deal with that every time they talk about White Sox trying to make a deal. We got to stay on our toes.
"Believe me, right now it's not in our plans. Maybe two weeks from now, that's a different thing but it's not in the White Sox plans right now.''
Guillen was asked if Beckham was untouchable, however, and did reply "no one was untouchable except one.''
That one? The guy that signs the checks - board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
GLENDALE, Ariz. - It is no coincidence that the White Sox are having Omar Vizquel team up with Alexei Ramirez in as many drill stations and hitting groups as they can.
It's about teaching the younger Ramirez how a pro goes about his business.
Even in a reaction drill on Monday, players were punished with pushups for mess-ups. Vizquel mistakes went unseen, but he still volunteered to do pushups afterward, policing himself.
"I expect a lot of things from him,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said of Ramirez.
What better way to help Ramirez reach that point than have him shadow Vizquel.
"[Ramirez] should just listen to what Omar is saying,'' Guillen said. "He should pick Omar's mind. Know what position to play [on certain hitters]. When the coaches repeat, repeat, repeat, that's like going over [your head]. When your teammate can tell you stuff, you grab that a little bit better.''
Guillen reiterated that Ramirez is the starting shortstop even with Vizquel and his 11 Gold Gloves sitting on the bench behind him, but the club won't have a ton of patience with another slow April from Ramirez. Through his first two major-league seasons, Ramirez is a .184 hitter with one home run in April.
All eyes on him
Daniel Cabrera will get his first serious look this afternoon, when the Sox play the Dodgers in a "B'' Game. It will also let them know if pitching coach Don Cooper has been able to get through to the one-time promising Orioles right-hander.
"Cabrera is not a pitcher, Cabrera is a thrower,'' Guillen said. "We're going to use him out of the bullpen and give him a very, very good opportunity to make this ballclub. Hopefully he knows that and hopefully he comes out and does what he can do. The biggest thing for him is throwing strikes. It's a big difference between being a starter and a reliever and I think for him, being a reliever gives him a better shot to make the ballclub.''
Cabrera is scheduled to throw two innings.