CLEVELAND - Mark Kotsay sat in a chair, chewing on a power bar hours before Monday's game with the Cleveland Indians and a day before "Manny being Manny'' becomes an overplayed slogan around the South Side.
If there was one current White Sox player that should have been upset with the news that Manny Ramirez was acquired off the waiver wire by general manager Ken Williams earlier in the day, it should have been Kotsay. After all, his playing time is about to go from sufficient to suffering overnight and at a crucial part of the season.
"You shouldn't have feelings, not in this game,'' Kotsay said. "That's my goal from the get-go ... in Arizona [back in spring training], how do we get to the finish line in first place? I don't worry about playing time, I don't worry about at-bats at this point. You just worry about getting to the postseason.''
Kotsay wasn't alone, either, as the entire organization was sending the same voice.
"Yes, we did try to get him at the deadline,'' Williams said of the entire Ramirez saga. "The thought behind it was very simply for us we not only want to get into the playoffs, but once we get into the playoffs we'd like to have a chance to do something special. The teams that are there have some good pitching and you're going to need to need a hitter that can not only hit good pitching but hit good pitching in the clutch. This guy's been there and done that before and it's just a matter I think of him getting his timing back and he'll be effective.''
Better yet as far as Williams was concerned, he landed Ramirez without giving anything back in return. It ended up being a straight waiver wire move, which put the Sox in the books for approximately $1 million that needs to be paid this year and another $2.8 million that needs to be paid by 2013.
"We had an opportunity to put a player, various players actually, into the deal and cut into some of the money, but we determined that we'd rather be awarded the player on a claim and keep our talent to be able to continue to be able to challenge for a championship every year,'' Williams said. "So that was our decision, at the end of the day, to absorb the dollars. And we feel good about it for the 2010 season and depending on what we do, we'll feel good about it when the rest of his money is due in 2013.
"But if we're all wearing rings around here, or we gave ourselves the best shot, you don't even have to wear the ring. You just have to feel like you gave it your best shot to capitalize on a season that can be great.''
Ramirez is flying to Cleveland before Tuesday's game, and manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't sure if he would have him in the lineup to make his debut or not, but the hope is Ramirez can add a presence to a lineup that in moments this season has vanished for games, even weeks, at a time.
Ramirez, 38, might be the right guy for the job, considering his resume reads like a Hall of Famer, hitting a career .313 with 554 home home runs, 1,828 RBI and 1,538 runs scored over an 18-year career.
Then there's that little matter of what he did in 2008 after the Dodgers acquired him, carrying Los Angeles to the postseason by hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games.
His mission now? Help make up the four games the Sox need to in order to run down the first-place Twins.
"It's about 25 guys, well maybe about 31 because maybe three, four, five guys come up,'' Guillen said. "It's about everyone man. OK, what if we have Manny here and he hits a three-run home run and we're down by seven runs? It doesn't mean anything. Everybody here has work to do. If we do what we're supposed to do then we will make a run. If Manny comes here and is unbelievable, that might help, but that doesn't guarantee any wins. Not because he's here, 'Oh, we're in.' ''
Guillen plans to hit Ramirez fifth, and also to play him primarily as the DH. There could be a few innings spent in left field to give Juan Pierre a breather, but very few.
As far as the Sox extending an offer to Ramirez - a free agent-to-be - beyond 2010, Williams wouldn't rule anything out.
"I go into this with an open mind,'' Williams said. "He is our DH right now. Let's see how it goes; let's see how he fits. Let's see how we all end up and what we have to work with dollar wise next year. But that's 2011. Let's worry about 2010 now is my message to everyone.''
August 2010 Archives
CLEVELAND - Mark Kotsay sat in a chair, chewing on a power bar hours before Monday's game with the Cleveland Indians and a day before "Manny being Manny'' becomes an overplayed slogan around the South Side.
Ken Williams is well-versed in the bobbing and weaving that has to go on this time of year.
Whether it's to avoid a tampering fine by Major League Baseball or Williams simply not wanting to show his hand, the White Sox general manager was again careful in how he discussed the latest rumors swirling around the South Side.
On whether or not they had put a claim in for reliever Trevor Hoffman that was blocked?
"I have no comment on it,'' Williams said. "Because if I answer that question, I'm going to give you an answer that I'm going to give you, and the next time you ask a question, and I don't give the answer in the same form, then it will tell you what I'm doing. It establishes a pattern, and you can figure me out.''
Williams also couldn't comment on slugger Manny Ramirez, but was asked about having a few more tricks up his sleeve other than the obvious.
"It's possible,'' Williams replied. "It's always possible. Sometimes the most obvious things are the most unrealistic things to accomplish, so you always got to be looking for what you actually can accomplish. And sometimes small marginal growth is sometimes just as effective as the more obvious bigger thing that you're not going to get.''
Manager Ozzie Guillen offered up even less when asked about adding to the roster.
"You guys make me get in trouble because if I say something about Manny Ramirez, that's tampering or whatever you guys call it,'' Guillen said. "No. I just talked to Kenny a couple minutes ago and nothing out there. I think they've got to go through waivers and I don't know how long the waiver is. Seeing the rules a lot of people are on waivers. Can Manny Ramirez be our savior or whoever come out, I don't know? I don't have any comment about Manny because I can't.''
If Guillen is in fact leaving the South Side after this season, that would be news for his realtor. The manager admitted on Thursday that he was looking to buy a house in Chicago.
"I have a beautiful house back in Miami and in Caracas, but that's the place I live the most,'' Guillen said of staying put. "I like competition and I like to compete. I like people to ask me questions and to second-guess me. I like people to hate me. I like that. Why not? I'm not a perfect guy. Some people love me, some people hate me. I like that.''
Williams was also asked about September call-ups and if the Sox had moved forward in that department as far as narrowing down the names.
"No, we've had to deal with some other things recently and haven't gotten to that point yet,'' Williams said. "But I've talked about it with my staff and minor league people.''
Ken Williams had to choose his words carefully on Tuesday, as the general manager was bombarded with questions surrounding the rumors that the White Sox will try and claim Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez if, and when, he is put on waivers and clears to the South Side.
"Well if I spoke on that ... it's a violation of tampering rules and it's very clear and prohibited for me to speak on another player on another team, so you have to speak in generalities all the time,'' Williams said. "You guys know me, I prefer to sit back and when we do something we'll make an announcement, otherwise there's just no sense talking about anything.''
While Williams played it cool for the media, a source told the Sun-Times that not only is Williams feeling good about the prospect of Mannywood on the South Side, but the GM, "is pushing all his chips on getting Manny Ramirez.''
Not only to help give the offense a presence, but Williams likes the message that it sends to his team this time of year - "that the race isn't over until he says it's over,'' the source said of Williams' thought process.
But there are still some breaks that have to fall the right way for the Sox. If the Dodgers do put Ramirez on waivers, the Sox would owe him $1.1 million for the rest of the season and another $3.3 million in deferred money.
Ramirez can still veto the move to another team because of his full-no trade clause, forcing the Dodgers to pull him back.
That's why Williams wasn't blowing up "Manny being Manny'' balloons just yet.
"Well that's a Jerry Reinsdorf question that we will probably revisit if and when someone goes on the waiver wire that may get to us,'' Williams did say of taking on the extra salary. "I think the assumption is for everyone out there that just because something moves across the scroll of your television that that is the truth. I'm not going to confirm or deny it, but I will say a lot of times names are being put out there that have gone through waivers or are going through waivers, and they have not in fact been put on waivers. I guess it's just the nature of the beast, and I will answer any question you guys have on it, but I won't answer them directly.''
That's never a problem for his manager, however.
Ozzie Guillen was asked flat out if he would want Ramirez added to the mix, and didn't hold back.
"I don't know,'' Guillen responded. "Manny hasn't played in the big leagues in a little while. If Kenny asked me if you need Manny or do you want Manny here, I'm going to say yes because you know why? He's going to bring him anyway. Then why not?''
As far as if Guillen could handle the free-spirited Ramirez?
"I can handle anyone,'' Guillen responded. "I don't have to handle the players. The players handle themselves. I've had players who have come to the ball club with a reputation that they're bad for the ballclub and with me they were very good.
"Bringing players aboard is not my department. My department is write the lineup and make the guys play the best they can. If Manny comes here, he's more than welcome. I don't have any phone calls from Kenny, I don't have any phone calls from Rick [Hahn] or Jerry. To me, it's rumors. Kenny also does stuff very quiet, not with me, with the media and people. If he comes here then we have to wait to see when he comes here to see what happens.''
As Guillen point out, another sticking point could be Ramirez's famous dreadlocks. Reinsdorf has a strict policy about hair, even coming down on Joe Crede and A.J. Pierzynski early in the 2006 when they went grunge post-World Series.
"I want to see how Jerry Reinsdorf is going to confront the hair,'' Guillen said with a laugh. "It ain't going to be my f------ department.''
Guillen did make it clear that if Ramirez did join the mix the slugger would follow his rules or "he won't play.''
But "Manny being Manny'' was the least of Williams' concerns.
"Listen, I'm a byproduct of someone giving me a second chance,'' Williams said. "So is the manager and a lot of these players. And we've had success by bringing them in and putting our arms around them and telling them, 'Who amongst us doesn't make mistakes here and there? Who amongst us doesn't have a period of time we wish we couldn't take back.' These guys are just doing it on a public stage.''
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chris Sale better be really good.
Because the 21-year-old left-hander, who was pitching for Florida Gulf Coast University just three months ago, might be the reason the White Sox' pennant hopes sink or swim over the next week.
Matt Thornton told the Sun-Times on Sunday morning that the soreness in his pitching forearm that was managed earlier in the season has now turned into something worse. How much worse? Enough for the laid-back left-handed veteran to now have some concerns.
"I'm not concerned with my overall health,'' Thornton said. "I'm concerned about missing some time is what I'm concerned about. Hopefully it's something I bounce back from quickly with this little time off. I've blown my elbow out before and done that kind of stuff, and it doesn't feel like that. It's in the muscles, it's in the belly of muscles, so in that way I'm not scared of it. But at the same time it's something you've got to be careful with for sure.''
The unknown is what really seems to be bothering Thornton.
Considering what he means to the fortunes of the Sox, especially in the backend of their bullpen, that unknown should be keeping certain members of the Sox organization up a little at night right about now.
The plan is to get Thornton back to the South Side tonight, see how it feels tomorrow and then map out a more specific plan.
"Right now sore is all we know, yeah,'' Thornton said. "Don't know what's going on or what's next. It's one of those things where you just have to wait and see. Hopefully it's something minor.''
The red flag is that when he had the forearm soreness earlier in the season, Thornton was able to pitch through it. Now, some everyday activities are casing pain, while throwing is out of the question.
With a 2.66 ERA, five saves and a team-high 50 appearances this year, Thornton's value is without equal to that Sox bullpen. Add the fact that he also has the most strikeouts by a lefty reliever in all of baseball since 2008, as well as the fact that left-handed hitters were hitting .169 against him this season, as well as fanning 37 times, well, the first-place Twins will find life a little easier if the injury is deemed serious.
Thornton was hoping to be back by mid-week.
"Throwing? It's not good,'' Thornton described. "Kind of something I've been battling - not battling - but normal soreness that I can usually fight through, pitch through, get through and warm-up through. Usually I could warm-up and I would be fine. Now warming up has turned into some pretty good soreness. I've got to take a step back, and the hope is that at the start of this next home series [beginning on Tuesday], I'll be ready to go by that series or the weekend. I don't know. Kind of got to wait and see.''
With Thornton on the shelf for the time being, that means Sale is all they have from the left side out of the bullpen.
The Sox better hope that's enough for now.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite the fact that the White Sox left the Twin Cities late Thursday night, they still can't escape the specter that is the Minnesota Twins.
During Friday's rain delay, the game of choice on the huge scoreboard of Kauffman Stadium? Twins-Angels. Hours before Saturday's grueling doubleheader with Kansas City, the game on one of the clubhouse TVs? Twins-Angels.
Forget just scoreboard watching. The Sox are scoreboard staring, and Ozzie Guillen doesn't expect that to change over the final six weeks of the season. Or at least until someone tells the manager that the division race between the two is over with.
"I do look at the scoreboard, I do,'' Guillen admitted. "First of all, I can say 'Come on please. Beat them.' [But] we had our chance and didn't. Why do I have to be somebody else to do the stuff we have to do?
"Of course. Every time you look up there I say 'Man, I hope they ...' I was watching the game [Friday] during the rain delay and they were up 7-1. I was like, 'Come on, please.' If you really feel for this you're concerned. Not that you pull against them but you can't control that, you can't. I always say to worry about one thing and that's your team. Because if you worry about another team, that's two problems.''
Because the Sox lost two-of-three to the Twins this week, they do have two problems. That series left the Sox four games back with three games left head-to-head. So they do need some help, as well as taking care of their own business.
One lingering cloud that was cleared up on Saturday was the idea that bullpen coach Juan Nieves somehow riled up the Twins players before the series started by what he said during an appearance on WSCR's "Coaches at the Cork'' last weekend.
The Twins and Sox have played their share of dodgeball this season, with pitchers from each team taking target practice on batters. It's a game the Twins were winning, considering Sox players had been hit with a lot more frequency.
Nieves was asked about that on the show and said, "I've even thought of telling guys, 'Hey [Matt] Thornton, smoke [Joe] Mauer, see if you can start a fight.' We're not afraid of anybody.''
That was made into a big deal before the Sox arrived into town, and was still being discussed up there. Before the doubleheader with the Royals, Nieves told his side of the story.
"A guy calls in and says, 'You guys are afraid of the Minnesota Twins.' I said, 'What are you saying? We're not afraid of anybody.' I told him if we have to retaliate, I'm sure Ozzie and Coop would take care of it. If we have to hit someone to protect our players, I'm sure I will. If Thornton has to hit Mauer ... and then they took it to the next level. That's all. I was just reacting to a caller.''
Nieves wasn't surprised by the reaction, and said that the fan bases of both team will be on high alert for anything that could be deemed controversial until the race is decided.
"Of course fans are sensitive right now,'' Nieves added. "You've got two good teams, so that happens. Like Coop says, and I'm a firm believer in, the only way you beat a team is by pitching better and playing better defense and hitting more than them. I just don't see [we're afraid of them].
"But I was just reacting to a question from a caller, and letting him know we will protect our players.''
As for Guillen, now managing a team that is the hunter after spending 33 days in first place and being the hunted, he admitted to having a new morning routine for the time being.
"I always wake up and say Minnesota is going to win today,'' Guillen said. "Every morning I say Minnesota will win today. Why? Because they do. My mind is ready for that. Minnesota might win today but it's more important that the White Sox win today. That's more important. It doesn't matter if they win or lose. If we don't win, we don't get anywhere. But of course. When you're in the pennant race you watch.
"We have to. In the meanwhile, what is the difference if they lose and we lose? We have to win. We're the chasers. We have to win every game we can and keep it close when we face them again. That's all we have to think about.''
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Umpire Joe West has already cost the White Sox fines this season, but on Friday night the feeling was that West - who was the crew chief for the start of the series with the Royals - may have cost them even more this time around.
Despite bad weather in the Kansas City area projected throughout the evening, it was West's decision to start the game between the Sox and Royals. A game that lasted a total of five hitters before it was first delayed, and then eventually postponed.
That left the Sox angry, as well as scrambling with how to handle Saturday's traditional double-header, which will start at 6:10 p.m. Because of the exclusive TV rights FOX has a day-night doubleheader was ruled out.
How it affected the Sox specifically?
Well, Edwin Jackson, who was arguably the hottest starting pitcher the Sox had going, threw seven pitches, on top of the usual pre-game warm-up, so that basically took him out of the equation for coming back Saturday and pitching.
The Sox announced that Freddy Garcia would start Game 1, but they were scrambling to find a Game 2 starter. It will either be a roster move or a bullpen game, with Tony Pena the likely candidate to start. Either way, it makes Jackson a non-factor for almost a week and a half from when he pitched last until when he takes the mound again, and will put a strain on a bullpen that already has question marks with how much overtime they've put in as of late.
The real kicker?
After starting Game 1 at 6:10 and then Game 2 30 minutes after Game 1 ends, the Sox have to comeback on Sunday morning for a 1:10 p.m. first-pitch against Zack Greinke.
Thanks to the Minnesota Twins winning a laugher over an Angels team that looks like its ready for the offseason, the Sox will play the three-game marathon starting the evening 4 ½ games back.
"I'm sure it's cheated everyone before,'' Jackson replied, when asked if he felt cheated by the weather. "Unless you really just started playing baseball, I'm sure you've been cheated by the weather before.''
Then he was asked the million dollar question - or at least the question that could have led to a nice fine depending on how he answered it - did he feel like West's lack of judgment cheated him?
"That's his decision,'' Jackson said. "No reason to get mad over something you can't control. Not to make a decision on if we start a game or not, that's his decision, that's his call. Ask him how he feels about it.''
Jackson did say that there was a brief discussion made on his part to try and start one of the games Saturday, but he was quickly vetoed by the coaching staff and manager Ozzie Guillen.
"When you're in a situation like that, you're pretty much fighting a losing battle,'' Jackson said. "I don't think there are too many managers in the league that will let a pitcher warm up, start a game and then come back and finish it [the next day]. I don't think it's an option.''
Either way, Friday's decision making was poor at best. For conspiracy theorists it could go even a step further. It was West that was responsible for the Mark Buehrle "balk game'' back on May 26 in Cleveland, when Buehrle was called for a balk by West, it was argued by Guillen, who was then tossed. An inning later, West called Buehrle for a second balk, leading to Buehrle's ejection.
Both Guillen and Buehrle made it very clear how they felt about West afterward on that day.
"Because he's a f---ing a--hole, that's what he is,'' Guillen said of West. "I just went out to ask him ... I wasn't asking about the balk because you're not allowed, anytime you go out there to ask about balk or whatever. The thing I went out to ask him about was why he was embarrassing Buehrle. I'm not going out to argue about the balk because the rule, but I went out to ask him why he's embarrassing Buehrle and he give me one of this [dismissing him with his hands]. When you're a professional and you have to respect the managers, the way we're supposed to respect the umpires, they are supposed to respect back. ... sometimes he thinks f---ing people pay to watch him f---ing umpire. He's the type of guy that wants to control the game, it's good for the game, and to me one of the best umpires in the game, no doubt. But in the meanwhile, those years are on his shoulders and kind of heavy and showing people who he is.''
Buehrle fired off this gem: "I did the same move the toss right before that and [West] didn't call a balk on it. I think he's too worried about promoting his [Country Music] CD and I think he likes seeing his name in the papers a little bit too much instead of worrying about the rules.''
Both Buehrle and Guillen were fined, as was West.
No wonder Friday was a head-scratcher.
MINNEAPOLIS - Late May seems like a long time ago for Omar Vizquel.
He had been 43 years old for just over a month, and his time with the White Sox up to that point was mostly sitting on the bench watching the season go down the drain.
It was on a road trip in Cleveland on May 25 that Vizquel admitted, "It's hard to play in the role that I am when you're used to playing every day. It's hard preparation, sometimes you feel disappointed, sometimes you're sad. Your mental process is different. You take different ways to prepare and I don't know if I can do it another year. I could probably do it because physically I feel pretty good, but mentally it takes a toll on your body. It makes you doubt sometimes. I don't think I want to go through that process again.''
As far as Vizquel was concerned, only a strong finish to 2010 could change his mind.
Guess who admitted on Thursday that his mind was now changed?
"Yes I do,'' Vizquel responded, when asked if he now sees himself playing one more season. "I think it would be sad that if at the end of the season I look back, look at my year, and say, 'Man, I don't think I can do this anymore.' Taking a look at the numbers and the things that I have done this year, it will give me a good possibility to come back next year and try and see if a team is interested in wanting me again.''
In many ways, Vizquel saved the Sox season.
When then-starting third baseman Mark Teahen went down with a broken right middle finger a week after Vizquel was contemplating 2010 being his swan song in Cleveland, manager Ozzie Guillen made Vizquel a regular at third base.
That was when the Sox fortunes turned around - coincidentally or not - as the South Siders became a player in the Central Division race. Not only was Vizquel's defense at third base contagious to the likes of Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham, but he hit .301 in the 57 games since Teahen went on the DL.
With Teahen back, but now in a platoon role, Vizquel is seeing one more year. Heck, why not play a 22nd season?
"I'm not surprised,'' Vizquel replied, when asked if he was shocked he's still producing. "Everybody knows the things I'm capable of doing. I think I prepare every year to do this, to stay healthy, stay in shape, try and keep my body up for the challenge.
"I feel pretty good and I like the way things are going right now.''
MINNEAPOLIS - The best of Ozzie Guillen - Episode #47
Here is the Ozzie pre-game in full - enjoy.
Any bad blood?
"Not from my part. If the player wants to do something about it, that's their job. My job is if I see anybody hit somebody on purpose, then I take over. I have to protect my player. But if their teammates believes it was a cheap shot, it's up to them to get it done or forget about it and play the game. If somebody was hurt, it's a little different. Like I say I played this game long enough. If I'm going to do something on my part, I'm going to put the players' jeopardy of getting hurt. And if I was a player, if I feel that way, then it's different because I'll have a shot and I will have a chance to take a shot and they can't take a shot at me. But if I do that just because I'm pissed, or just because I don't like the play and some of my players get hurt, or somebody out there gets hurt, that's not my way.
"Like I say, it's a lot different when players take care of themselves and make the manager be there because the manager isn't going to get hurt. And I'm always against that. Maybe people don't believe that, but every time I get something done, I let you guys know who did it. And I got a lot of money paid to major league baseball because cleared up I say 'yes, I did' because that's the way I grew up and played the game. But in the meanwhile, when you're managing, you got to stay away from somebody getting hurt. And I'm not going to do it. If my players feel a different way, I'm behind them 100 percent. We'll see what happens. But I don't expect anything to happen. But if something happens, I'll be behind them. But it's not my call.''
Thome and the decision made not to bring him back?
"First of all, let me make this clear. All right, when the White Sox made Jim Thome, Jim Thome made the decision to leave to the Dodgers. He made that decision to himself, all right. If people are going to blame me not have Jim thome here, I take full responsibility because I expressed to Jim my love for him, my respect to him and his family, and one thing about my life - I'm not a hypocrite. I told him my situation, what we want, not what Ozzie wants. OK. Jim Thome, besides that home run, he got two base hits. I'm not pitching. And I thought we was in a different direction to have that ballclub around. And I think in that particular day or right now, we don't need him. He played good for them. I love it. I love it. I wish I hate that guy. I love him. I love him, and he knows.''
"Is he playing good for them? I love it. I love it. I wish I hated that guy. I love that man and he knows it. But in the meanwhile, all those people in Chicago and all those people around the world that want to blame somebody for not bringing Jim Thome to this ballclub, I'll take the blame. But in the meanwhile, I tell those people that Jim Thome had to say yes to the trade when we traded him. I'm not going to hide from people when we made that decision. I say we because I'm the only one who faces it. I talked to him before I made that decision, I told him why I don't see him fitting here. And believe me, I love Jim having a season like that because I look up there and he's very close to 600 home runs. I'm not going to say I'm happy Morneau got hurt; now he's got playing time. For all those people there saying it was my fault about Jim Thome, yes it's my fault. If those people don't like that, f--- them.''
Why is the blame falling only on you?
"Because I have balls and I have face. I'm not afraid. I can care less what people think. We're in second place. When Jim Thome was here, we finished third three times out of fours years. We went to one playoff because he hit a home run to go to the playoffs. We finished third, almost fourth, three times. Listen, I don't make that decision, we made that decision. It was hard for me to do this. A lot of people in Chicago talk about Jim Thome. How about JD? I think Jermaine Dye did more stuff for the Chicago White Sox than Jim Thome did, with all my respect to Jimbo. What's going on here? I don't get it. Why do people forget about JD? People don't even talk about JD at all. If Thome was a better player than JD for the White Sox, that's the answer."
Well JD's not playing for the Twins
"JD can play for anybody. But a lot of people in Chicago don't talk about JD. Jim Thome didn't win that game yesterday, all right? You know who won the game? The play Kubel made in the outfield, the home run the left fielder hit, Konerko grounding into the double play. That's it. If Punto hit that home run, I might still be crying. Or Span. Or Ron Gardenhire. Jim Thome's hit almost 600 home runs, good for him.''
Have PK and Quentin benefited from no Thome?
"I think a lot of people have a year because we need to rest people. It's a little different with Jim Thome wearing a Minnesota Twins uniform and a Chicago uniform. Every time I'm going to play Jim Thome, I get asked why is he not playing? Jim Thome has a lot of at-bats because Morneau got hurt. OK? That's it. And is he helping this ballclub win? Yes. Are the Minnesota Twins going to go to the playoffs because of Jim Thome and Ozzie doesn't want him? I'll take that blame. Why not? Believe me Jim Thome isn't here because I don't want to. It's because I don't see him fit in this ballclub in spring training with what we wanted to do. If they want to put it this way that it's what I want to do, I will take that. I will take that.
"How many games did we win against the National League? 15? Every time we had Jim Thome here, we couldn't play him against the National League. Why won't anybody give me credit for that one? We won 15 games. And Jimbo had one, two at-bats every time we played those guys. And we made this run because we played good against the National League. We got hot then. But I hope he hits another f----- one today. He had all three hits against lefties. Is it my fault we can't pitch against his ass? No. Well ... I feel proud of him, to be honest with you. When I see him hit that s--- out there all the way to the building out there at 98, I don't see that for the last three years with us. Good for him. A lot of people talk about the home run from Jim Thome. How about the eight or nine runs before that? But that's OK. I'll wear it. I'll take it. I'll take the heat.
"You want to have Jim Thome here? F--- it. They're a fan, a radio announcer or a newspaper. We don't want him because we don't need him. Right now we don't. Is he playing good for them? Good for him. Anybody else anything about Jim Thome? All those f------ people in Chicago say something Jim Thome? No. Why? Good, I hope he enjoys the next couple of days. All of a sudden people are going to say, 'Oh, Ozzie's going crazy.' No, Jesus. Because I'm the one sitting here taking the beating. I'm ready to take the beating. I'm ready. I'm all for that. If anyone here thought Jim Thome was going to hit a 200,000-foot home run against Thornton? No. But he did that, and [Thornton's] not the only one he's done it to. He's got like 590-some people in the book. They score four runs in the first inning ... [then Ozzie loses memory of the score] ... how about Capps, the reliever, he f----- it up, he gave up that home run. And then the other kid, Rauch, he gave up the base hit. Those guys don't give those up, Jim Thome doesn't beat us. Thank you. That's Gardenhire's fault for bringing those guys into pitch. He should have left that guy in that started the game and then we're still playing. I'm not running away from anybody. I don't run from anybody because I sleep very well last night, I played golf this morning. I didn't change anything. I rode my bike, go to sleep and as soon as I'm done with [this game] I'm going to go back to sleep. Same stuff. Because I know my mind, my heart and my soul, they're very clean. I have my head on my shoulders, and I think we did the right thing with what we did in spring training. If people don't like it, good. They don't like it, they don't have to watch the f------ White Sox. Oh and I got one more year on my contract, just make sure to tell Jerry [Reinsdorf], get it ready, this crazy f----- Mexican, it's fine with me. They going to blame me about one home run, I'll take the blame.''
MINNEAPOLIS - The comeback from the two-month coma the White Sox suffered through to start the season was a valiant one. As a matter of fact, almost historic as far as the franchise was concerned.
Unless they finish the job by winning the Central, however, it becomes meaningless.
That's where the bar is set in the eyes of general manager Ken Williams, filtering all the way down to the coaching staff.
"I think we have a bunch of pros here,'' Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said of what lies in front of the team the final six-plus weeks. "I like the way this team has fought all year. It's a good team. It's a talented team, it's a fun bunch to be around. I hope they finish it off. We're going to sit back and watch. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't be here. I think they probably haven't gotten enough credit for what they have done this year, but you want to finish it off.''
Because Walker knows the consequences of not finishing it off.
"Yeah, [the turnaround] definitely loses its luster,'' Walker explained. "They say the numbers don't lie, I mean you can't get rid of them. They've done what they've done this year, but I'm proud to have watched them come back. Now we just sit back and watch them compete, that's all you can do. We're not going to reinvent swings right now, now just everyone go out and play. No secrets. I'm not real worried about anyone.''
While that may be true, Walker also knows that of his big three - Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin - it might be Quentin who will have the most say in this race.
Konerko and Rios have been the offensive rocks throughout most of this season, but Quentin is the wildcard - up one week, slumping the next. As far as Walker was concerned, when Quentin is hot, he is as dynamic a hitter as the American League has.
That's the guy the Sox need during this final run.
"We're trying to get him going to when he was hot,'' Walker said. "Q is definitely mechanical oriented, but he's always looking for a feel. When he gets that right feel he can hit good pitching, he can hit anything. He turns into one of the elite players when he's on that roll. Sometimes searching for that can bring out bad approaches, not so much bad approaches, but swinging at bad pitches. He's big on seeing the ball well. If he's seeing the ball well, usually his changes he makes are so he could see the ball better, make better decisions. When he's not seeing the ball well, he's not making good decisions. That usually determines what pitches he's swinging at.
"We just continue to support him and if he wants input we give it to him, but he knows a lot about his swing, he knows what he wants to accomplish. This time of the year? He knows his own routine and we just leave him alone.''
The White Sox pitching staffs from 1998-2000 were a lot of things, but timid about throwing at hitters wasn't one of them.
Over that three year period alone, Jim Parque hit 27 batters, caused one bench-clearing brawl against Detroit, and even hit Omar Vizquel when he was with the Cleveland Indians, and then charged the shortstop.
James Baldwin? He hit 25 batters in that three-year span. Even Jaime Navarro hit 18 from 1998-99, but that might have been from a lack of control.
So of course the question was posed to manager Ozzie Guillen on Thursday about it seemingly being target practice on Sox hitters in recent years, without retribution. After Carlos Quentin was plunked on the foot Thursday night, that put the Sox at 56 this season, while Sox pitchers have hit 24.
"Send that to major-league baseball,'' Guillen said of that stat. "How many guys have we hit? Every time we hit somebody they blame me, like I'm hitting people. There's one thing I always worry about and I say it every year. I always worry about telling people to hit somebody because I put one of my players in a situation where he might get hit. That's why I don't like that. I don't like when people say, 'You've got to do this.' You know why? Because I'm not playing. When I was playing, I told the guys, 'You better hit that guy.' Why? Because I'm in the same situation and I have an opportunity to get hit. As a manager, it's tough for me to make calls like that because I'm not going to get hurt. I have to protect my players, but I have to protect them in a different way. That's not fair, if the manager's upset, all of the sudden one of my players might get hurt.''
Quentin [hit 17 times] and Juan Pierre [15 times] both crowd the plate, so them walking away with bruises now and again is to be expected. But it was obvious to Guillen that Twins pitcher Glen Perkins threw at Quentin in Wednesday's Sox win, and yet no one on the Minnesota roster has paid for it.
"No. I will protect my hitters myself,'' Guillen said. "If I see somebody throw at somebody and I think it was on purpose, they will get hit. I guarantee it. Then, I'll take my responsibility with fines and whatever they want to do. But we lead the league in that. Carlos is on top of the plate. Over the years, he's been hit a lot. Juan Pierre's on top of the plate.''
Guillen was again asked about Perkins, and the pitch he put into the left leg of Quentin with first base open and Quentin already homering off of him earlier in the game, and it was vintage Guillen.
"Everybody knows when you're hit on purpose,'' he said. "To me, in my opinion, did this kid throw at the guy [Wednesday]? I don't know, but in that situation it was so obvious and everybody thinks about it that way. He's the only one who knows. But being in this game so long, first base open, a lefty behind him, he got his ass kicked, go hit the guy.
"I told my players, if you have any problems about somebody hitting you and you don't like it, go get it and we're behind you. I'll be the first one behind you and I will protect you. I said in the [spring training team] meeting, 'Don't hit any players because you stink. Because one of the players might get hit, Get people out. But if you see somebody and you want to take care of yourself, that's up to the players.' ''
The problem is, when's the last time a Sox player has charged the mound?
Guillen has obviously left it on the players to stand up for themselves, so until they do let the target practice continue.
"I protect my players,'' Guillen added. "But hey man, I'm not playing. Take care of yourself. People out there think I'm a headhunter, but I'm not. I played this game and I don't to put any of my players or their players out there to get hurt.''
Surely lasting only 2 1/3 innings and allowing six runs in what was one of the bigger regular-season games of the year so far, must have had a lasting effect on Freddy Garcia?
"I don't care,'' the veteran White Sox pitcher responded, when asked on Wednesday if he was concerned that his Tuesday outing opened the door for the doubters. "I blame myself. If people don't believe in me, that's their problem. My problem is believing in myself and I always prove people wrong. I'll keep doing it. If I pitch like that [Tuesday], what can I do?
"I'm not going to pitch every start six, seven innings. I have to forget it and prepare for my next start. Like I said, I prove a lot of people wrong all the time. In my next start, I'll try to pitch the best I can.''
Garcia then made a point to show what he's done this season - big picture.
"First inning I give up one, I was like, OK, that's not bad,'' Garcia explained. "The second inning, home run and after that, 'I don't have [bleep] today.' I couldn't make an adjustment and that was it. I couldn't put the ball down. Everything was up. If I don't throw the ball down, I get hit all the time. It's part of the game, I guess.
"How many times have I been in that situation and pitched like that? I think that's the first time in many years. What can I say? I said [Tuesday] night, if I threw the rosin bag they'd hit it. It was one of those games. How many starts have I has this year? (21). How many bad game have I had? So it's not that bad.''
BALTIMORE - This is not the time for a history lesson.
Actually, it's probably the worst time possible.
That's why Paul Konerko liked the fact that the White Sox clubhouse is made up of 24 other players that for the most part are completely naïve to the last decade of Sox-Twins.
They don't know what happened in 2002-04, and how the Twins spent three straight seasons breaking the hearts of a Sox team that felt like they were better on paper. They weren't around to watch Torii Hunter go out of his way to take out catcher Jamie Burke at home plate, shifting the momentum of that '04 pennant chase completely to the Twin Cities.
The fact that Minnesota has won the Central five of the last eight years? Just a meaningless statistic for most of the roster.
"You go into the season wanting to win the division, but you know there's going to be resistance from somewhere, whether it's Minnesota, Detroit or Cleveland,'' Konerko explained on Monday. "It's never easy. Even in 2005, we had such a huge lead and faced a ton of resistance at the end and barely won. So even in a year like that when the whole year was smooth, it got tough at the end.
"Obviously, I've been here awhile, so Minnesota has been that team a lot. But for a majority of the people in here, I don't think it's a big factor because they haven't been here for most of that. I don't think what happened seven years ago, eight years ago, plays into it because this team has changed so much.''
And Konerko isn't about to let them in on it.
As far as the team captain was concerned, it's up to this group to write the next chapter on their own.
"Hopefully it's just good baseball and will get settled on the field,'' he said of the three-game series with the Twins, which starts Tuesday. "There will be an answer, and hopefully it takes awhile. There's still a lot to be determined out there.''
Then there's right-handed veteran Freddy Garcia, who lives for center stage games like this one. You earn the nickname "Big Game'' for a reason, so of course Garcia was glad he gets the first crack at Minnesota.
"Yeah, I like that,'' Garcia said. "Those games are a lot of fun, pitch in games like that, two teams are close. You got to go out and perform, man, perform good.''
One of four remaining players from the 2005 World Series run by the Sox, Garcia was well-versed in what the Twins bring to the table year after year.
"I don't know how they play good, but they do,'' Garcia said. "They play that small [ball]. You never see them lose three or four games in a row, especially late.
"Last 10 years, that's how they been. I don't worry about them because you got to go out there and do your job, but hopefully it's different this year, hopefully they f--- up.''
This three-game series at The Cell will be three of nine more matchups the two teams have this season, with each squad coming in with their problems. Minnesota's starting staff has had some issues, and Justin Morneau's been on the 15-day DL with a concussion since July 16, while the Sox bats have suddenly cooled down. Advantage?
"You can bend it either way,'' Sox reliever J.J. Putz said. "I don't think there's one team that anyone can say, 'That's the team.' I mean we both are playing very well. Yeah, they're without Morneau, but we lost [Jake] Peavy, who was pitching as good as anybody in baseball at the time. Fortunately, we've found Edwin [Jackson] and he's sliding in there right now.
"Offensively, we've picked it up but I think there are some guys that still feel they have their best baseball ahead of them. It's going to be a dogfight. I mean this is going to be fun. For me, this is the first time I've been involved in anything like this, coming down the stretch neck and neck like this. It's something we're all looking forward to.''
Which in the Sox' case, that's better than looking back.
BALTIMORE - Ken Williams sat down with the media on Sunday morning, discussing a number of topics surrounding a White Sox team that will sink or swim over the next eight weeks.
First and foremost on the general manager's agenda was winning.
Yes, the second-place Twins come to the South Side for a three-game series this week - three of nine games they have left with Minnesota - but in Williams' world while the opposing uniforms will change each series, the goal is the same this time of year.
"[Games with the Twins are] going to make a difference, but it's more or likely we're going to be within one or two games of each other by time that ends unless someone gets really hot,'' Williams said. "So it's every game. It's the Baltimore Orioles, it's the Tigers, it's Kansas City. It's every game. We lose today, they win and it's that much closer. We win, they lose, it's that much distance. It's why [Friday night], there are nights where you say it's a winnable game and you lose that game, you don't want to look back and say, 'what if, what if?' They all count.
"The head-up ones count even more, but you're playing them enough times where they're going to beat us, we're going to beat them. I would like for it to be a complete sweep and make things easier, but they're a pretty good opponent.''
Williams also commented on the fact that he was unable to add another bat into the mix over the last 10 days, and the idea that it was just fine with the likes of Paul Konerko and Mark Kotsay, who feel like the current offensive lineup should be allowed to finish what they started.
Not only did Williams admit that was taken into consideration, but so was the idea that the clubhouse had grown into a tight-knit group with all that they had been through this year.
"I knew that going into it,'' Williams said. "And that's why I felt unless it was an impact type guy and a guy who fit with them, we weren't going to do something just to do something. It had to be an impact-type guy. And I doubt very seriously if any one of them would have been complaining if that impact guy would have been walking through the clubhouse.
"They have to do what they have to do, and I have to do what I see as best as well. And sometimes they're in conflict with one another, and sometimes they're not. But generally, when I've had someone walk through that door that I know will be received well, it's been received well.''
According to manager Ozzie Guillen, Williams, the coaching staff and assistant GM Rick Hahn will sit down when they return to Chicago on Tuesday, discussing the roster and what changes will be coming to it.
Atop that to-do list was what happens to Mark Teahen when he's done rehabbing his fractured right middle finger?
The Sox have been playing him at third base, as well as right field down in Class AAA Charlotte, and will get him some work at first base, setting the stage for him to be a platoon player when he is deemed ready.
"We don't want to skip a beat whenever he comes back, whether it's offensively or defensively, so ... And he was out quite a while,'' Williams said of Teahen. "So it's not going to hurt him to have more time at the plate and at the various positions.''
Guillen made things a bit simpler, sending a message to not only Teahen, but anyone associated with the Sox from here on out in what is now crunch time.
"Every day you come here you have to prove yourself,'' Guillen said. "As a manager, as a coach, as a media member. If I'm going to read your stuff I don't want to read the same stuff every day. Everybody. Players, coaches, trainers. Everybody that has a job has to prove themselves every day and show everybody how good they are. That's it.
"No matter who you are you have to come here every day and prove yourself. That's how good players think. 'I have to be better than yesterday.' ''
BALTIMORE - Just in case there were still any glimmers of hope left that help was coming to the South Side anytime soon, that all but continued to fade on Saturday with the news that Carlos Delgado had signed a minor-league deal with Boston.
Add to the fact that rumors had Adam Dunn claimed off waivers long before he slipped down to where the White Sox were sitting, besides September call-ups, don't expect many changes to the roster from here on out.
Frankly, that was just fine with team captain Paul Konerko.
"We're in the position right now where we knew going into the season that our lineup wasn't going to look like some of the lineups we were used to in past years,'' Konerko explained. "That doesn't mean we didn't think we wouldn't be good. I mean one to nine, we're deep all the way through. Everyone in there is a tough at-bat. It's playing out just like we thought it would. There are no guarantees, but I think everyone expected to be in first or around first come the first week of August and that's exactly where we're at.
"There's no need to panic. I think we have enough in here to get the job done. And then if you go to the playoffs, if you're lucky enough, a lot of times it just comes down to who gets hot and cold hitting-wise. That can happen with any hitters. If you can be in first place in August in your division, then you can win your division. That doesn't mean you're going to, but if you've gotten that far into the season, then obviously we have enough in this room to finish it.''
It was Konerko who also insisted just over three weeks ago that he was in the opinion that the 25 guys on the roster that dug themselves into a hole out of the gate and then clawed their way out should be allowed to finish it out.
As the trade deadline drew closer a few weeks ago, it seemed like that wouldn't happen, with Dunn the rumor of the day, every day. Even on July 31, with the deadline winding down, general manager Ken Williams made an attempt to nab Lance Berkman and then Manny Ramirez.
Williams did add to the starting pitching staff by sending Daniel Hudson to Arizona for Edwin Jackson, but no help for the offense.
Then just before the start of the series in Baltimore, the Sox were reportedly interested in Delgado. Another dead end was hit with the news that Boston inked the veteran slugger.
"I never wanted Delgado,'' manager Ozzie Guillen stated before the second game of the Orioles series. "We don't need Delgado. You know why, and nothing against him, if we need help, we need help quick. We aren't going to wait for the guy, it seems like whoever signs Delgado, they have their own program. We can't.
"We wouldn't have Delgado until September? That's hard to do. This kid hasn't played for a little while. The Boston Red Sox they have a plan. Maybe Kenny or [assistant GM] Rick [Hahn] or someone else have a different plan. That's the reason why [Jim] Thome isn't here. To sign Delgado here, I would rather have Jim Thome. We know what Jim Thome can do. Delgado can only DH and play a little bit of first base. We have two good first basemen.''
As far as addition through the waiver wire, Guillen pointed out that the chances of that are small, but there are two additions that can be made.
"The trade we are going to make?'' Guillen said. "Better results from [Mark] Kotsay and Andruw Jones. We need them to get more production. That's the trade we are going to make. Those two guys for the next two months bring what they are supposed to bring, I don't see why we won't have a good hitting team.''
Konerko agreed, pointing out that the first four months of the season should have been the ultimate judge in that.
"I mean we're four months in now,'' Konerko said. "Four months is usually a pretty good test of a team to show you're capable or not capable.''
BALTIMORE - It's only fitting that the "Second City'' includes second chances.
That was the message from Ozzie Guillen on Friday, as the White Sox manager had a night to sleep on the Jekyll and Hyde outings displayed by Bobby Jenks, as well as decide if the barrel-chested right-hander was in or out as far as the ninth inning was concerned.
All Guillen had to do was listen to the ghosts of Jon Garland, Aaron Rowand, Jose Contreras and Joe Crede to remember how many chances had been handed out under his tenure.
Asked if he was prepared to give up on Jenks, Guillen responded, "Not yet.''
""He will give up on himself. I don't give up on players, they give up on themselves. The players will dictate to me or us how we're going to use them. It's easy when you don't have success to blame somebody else, as a pitcher, a catcher, whatever it is. That's why when a manager or coach makes a move, it just because the player dictated to you to make that move. Not because we want it, not because we're crazy, not because what we're not thinking.
"It's because, well, you didn't do your job and we have to bring in someone else. It's not about friendship or whether I like you or not, it's about winning. I'm going to give him the opportunity to come back and do it again. But in the meanwhile, if he can't do his job then we're going to find someone else to do it. It's not because I want to punish him. It's because if he can't see what I see, well, then he better open his eyes.''
Jenks suffered his third blown save of the season Thursday in Detroit, squandering a three-run lead in the ninth.
From May 11 until July 15, Jenks had been as dominant as the Sox had seen him in quite some time, converting 15 straight in that time. But in a what have you done for me lately league, the second-place Twins are stuck to the hull of the S.S. South Sider like a barnacle. Jenks is 0-2 with a 10.56 ERA since the All-Star Break, giving away big leads in Minnesota, Seattle and now Detroit.
At least the Sox were able to regroup and beat the Tigers in Thursday's meltdown, but afterward, Guillen seemed fed up.
"That's why when you asked me [Thursday if Jenks was still the closer], I said, 'Ask him what he wants from us,' '' Guillen continued. "Because we work for the players and we're going to put the players in the best chance to win games. Do we need him? Yes, we do. In the meanwhile, I'm too young to be suffering every game, 'Oh my God, I hope this kid comes right, hope he does it right.' We have 24 guys working, and I'm not saying that Bobby's not doing that. When you're a closer, and I keep saying that, it's a hard job, but in the meanwhile, when you give up three runs, three runs, two runs, you put me against the wall. He will tell me what we got to do with him - whether he's the closer or not. He will dictate to me, 'OK, am I the man or not?' He will make that decision for himself.''
Not that there aren't options if the Sox do make a permanent change.
J.J. Putz would likely get the majority of the work there over Matt Thornton simply because Thornton is so dominant against lefties (.158 with 35 strikeouts) that it is more useful to the Sox to have him available for the seventh and eighth innings, depending on the situation.
The emergence of Sergio Santos is also an added bonus, especially after the rookie threw a career-high two innings in Thursday's win over Detroit, recording his first ever win.
"All of this is still a learning experience for me,'' Santos said. "It's still just a year and a half of pitching, but I like the late innings. I like the fact the team kind of busts their butt the whole game, and then it's kind of up to me to get those final outs. I like the challenge of that. I like being thrown in that mix. I'm the type of person that wants the ball. So far so good, and hopefully it gets even better.''
For now, however, Guillen is sticking with the horse that brung 'em.
"We never make a decision here too quick,'' Guillen added. "Maybe too late. I remember when we had Crede, and other people wanted Crede out of there, Garland. Rowand. So many guys out there. Hey, they're not going to be perfect, they're not going to ... We give them the opportunity, they grab it and turn around, have great careers. I not pull the trigger or unplug people right away because I think people deserve opportunities to get better.''
DETROIT - Ken Williams is obviously full of surprises.
The reaction White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had to the latest rumor surrounding the team on Thursday morning was further evidence of that.
Guillen was informed that there was report out there that had Williams inquiring about former major-leaguer Carlos Delgado. The same Carlos Delgado that turned down the Sox' pursuit of him back in 2004, and had been out of baseball since May of 2009, having several hip surgeries along the way.
"Carlos Delgado?'' Guillen responded curiously. "Ok. I thought this guy was building houses in Puerto Rico. [Williams] hasn't talked to me about it. If they did it, he has to go to the minor leagues first. Thank you for the surprise. [Delgado] hasn't played in a couple of years. He has to prove people he still can play and is healthy. Maybe he can help. I don't expect anything to help me right now.''
What has been obvious most of the season, however, has been the idea that the general manager hasn't exactly embraced Guillen's idea of DH-by-committee.
Exhibit A was the fact that Williams was still carrying a list of possible DH candidates in his pocket back in SoxFest. Exhibits B, C and D were more recent, as the Sox went in pursuit of big bats like Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez and Lance Berkman.
Watching a DH role that has hit .236 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI entering Thursday, only adds to Williams' eagerness to make a change.
Guillen? Well, he's from a different school. He feels like Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones are equipped to fill that role, but just need to start producing.
"Every time we talk about a hitter, we get to the point, we know, I think our production from Kotsay and Andruw is not the one - it has to be better,'' Guillen said. "Those two guys have to start getting better on production. I don't think we will play another 50 or 60 games with that production we got from them.
"I'm not going to put pressure on them but every time we don't have production from them, this conversation is going to come up how we need another bat, we need another bat. Well, we [don't] need another bat. We need those guys to start producing and do what we think they can do. If those guys produce the way we think, then we won't be talking about any hitter. We need them to start producing, at least to make my life easier, not for you guys, but from Kenny asking me questions about it.
"I think everyone here feels the same way. We don't need a bat. We need them to start producing.''
Kotsay, specifically, has been put under the microscope for just six homers and an average that reached a season high of .236 on July 17. He was in the starting lineup again on Thursday, but as the first baseman.
The one stat in Kotsay's favor - win and losses. With Kotsay in the starting DH role, the Sox were 24-13.
That doesn't seem enough for Williams, who will likely explore the waiver wire and see if he can add another bat that way. Although, considering where the Sox are in the standings, that might be a lot more difficult, with other teams willing to block a possible move such as that.
One scenario that was asked about was 21-year-old rookie Dayan Viciedo in that role.
Viciedo was expected to start at third base in the Tigers finale, but Guillen opted to start him several games in Baltimore. His numbers as of late, however, have been eye-opening, sporting a .378 batting average with six doubles, three home runs, six RBI and 11 runs scored in his last 14 games.
But lost in those numbers is the fact that Guillen and his coaching staff have kept a tight leash on Viciedo, starting him against pitchers they feel he is capable of handling. So those numbers might not reflect his readiness to be an everyday player just yet, as much as good guessing on when to use him.
"Viciedo will play in Baltimore,'' Guillen said. "I think this kid has good enough stuff and we have to take Viciedo step by step. The way we are doing it right now is a good thing.
"My job is to find the best match-up [for him] with a pitcher, especially when you are a kid.''
DETROIT - The one person maybe more excited about the Chris Sale promotion from Class AAA Charlotte to the White Sox on Wednesday?
With the fresh-faced Sale now in the bullpen, no longer is Santos responsible for packing the light blue Little Mermaid backpack with sunflower seeds and candy, and then hauling it out to the bullpen for the veterans to rummage through during the game. No, that now belongs to the club's first-round pick from the June draft.
Manager Ozzie Guillen, however, has some bigger plans in store for the 21-year-old left-hander, who appeared in just 11 minor-league games before getting the call.
"Big role,'' Guillen insisted of what he has planned for Sale. "Obviously, we know and we are aware this kid come from college. He has a lot of innings on him so far. The first time I see this guy on tape, I asked [general manager] Kenny [Williams] why we don't have him here tomorrow. I'm very ignorant about the situation because he hadn't pitched for a month. We sent him to the minors to get his stuff back together.
"I like what I see on tape. He's got a lot of guts. If this kid throws strikes, he should be fine. We are excited to have him. Like I told you guys in the past, I'm not afraid to manage kids. I have a great staff to work with him. We believe in what we do here. Hopefully this kid is a good one.''
The 6-foot-6, 175-pounder posted a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in seven games with the Knights, and before that had a 2.25 ERA with four strikeouts in four Class A games. He was selected with the 13th overall pick out of Florida Gulf Coast University, and is the first player from the 2010 draft to reach the majors, as well as the first Sox player since Alex Fernandez in 1990 to reach the majors in the season in which he was drafted.
"It's just like anything else it takes some getting used to,'' Sale said of his quick climb. "The main thing that people have told me is that it's the same game. You still have to go out there and pitch. They still have to hit the ball and field the ball. It's the same game everywhere you go, just better competition.''
Sale also had a sense of what was at stake for the Sox down the stretch here.
"Now these are important outings,'' Sale added. "It's not like we're 10 games out or 10 ahead. We're a blowout, one way or another so my innings wouldn't matter. So when I get into a game, it's the real deal. I'll have to perform well and help this team win.''
DETROIT - Ozzie Guillen had no problem being judged on Tuesday.
As a matter of fact, that included a strong statement from his own organization in the wake of his comments about the treatment of Latino players in baseball.
But what the White Sox manager was asking for before the doubleheader with Detroit was his comments to be taken in full, from start of his Sunday rant to finish. Guillen felt that wasn't the case, and his message was somewhat lost in translation.
"But in the meanwhile, I wish all the context out there, all the people would get it from the beginning,'' Guillen said. "Don't put it out there - pick one thing here and one thing there - and what that the people want to hear and put it on TV and hear what they have to say. I respect that, too. But you pick the context from the beginning of the conversation, and it's the total opposite of what I say.''
Guillen said the topic was brought up initially when he was praising the obstacles Dayan Viciedo has made defecting over from Cuba at then-19 years old.
"Maybe some people with the Chicago White Sox don't think I was right,'' Guillen said. "That's fine with me. But please take everything. Don't take a little piece, a little piece, a little piece. Take all the stuff and put it together.''
That was the exact explanation Guillen said he gave both general manager Ken Williams and board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
"I talked to Kenny, I talked to Jerry,'' Guillen said. "I said exactly what I say.''
Guillen then pointed out that the Sox public relations department tapes his interviews for the media website, so if anyone in the organization had a question of what he said, it was there.''
"White Sox tape me for last two years,'' Guillen said. "I told Kenny everything that happened and he was fine.''
As far as his players, well, it was almost like, "yawn, what else is new?''
"We always talked about that,'' pitcher Freddy Garcia said. "Not just this year. When you play in the minor leagues or in the big leagues, the Japanese player always has a translator. The Latin guys or those that don't come from Japan or Korea or wherever, I never see anybody have a translator. We all find somebody to speak English.
"I don't care. I'm a guy that doesn't talk too much. If you asked me what happened in the game, you have to see what happened or 'I'm feeling good.' I don't talk that much so I don't really need a translator to say 'I was feeling bad' or 'I got my ass kicked.' It's not a big deal for me.''