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

Is Kotsay's time as the DH winding down?

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610x-32.jpgDETROIT - 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.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on August 5, 2010 12:53 PM.

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