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

Second chances in the 'Second City?'

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jenks_ark_photo.jpgBALTIMORE - 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.
The verdict?
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.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on August 6, 2010 8:21 PM.

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