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

Target practice - Oz speaks out about protecting his players

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carlos-quentin-hbp.jpgThe 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.''

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The Missile makes a mental error; Gavin throws a wild pitch and has a bad night; and Paulie and The Q are taking swings like little leaguers. It all adds up to a bad loss to a very good team like the Twinkies! Go Sox!!!

I think our pitchers in general just have to nut up and be great if we're going to win this game. Our offense is average when its going good and awful when it isn't, so it's going to have to be the pitchers that win it for us. I keep hearing how we have an advantage over the Twins in the starting rotation, well, not this series we didn't, I know Floyd pitched gallantly but sorry 6 runs in 6 innings just isn't good enough.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on August 12, 2010 8:51 PM.

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