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

October 2012 Archives

White Sox' Peavy wins Gold Glove

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On the same day he agreed to terms on a two-year, $29 million contract extension, White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy won his first American League Gold Glove Award.

Peavy, who made one error in 37 chances in 2012, shared the honor with Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson. Peavy held opponents to a 52.9 percent (9-for-17) success rate on stolen bases. He is the third Sox pitcher to win the award, joining left-handers Jim Kaat (1974-75) and Mark Buehrle (2009-11).

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was also nominated for a Gold Glove.

Peavy agrees to 2-year deal, White Sox pick up option on Floyd

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It took Rick Hahn four days on his new job to make a big splash. The White Sox general manager re-signed right-hander Jake Peavy to a two-year, $29 million extension and picked up the $9.5 milllion option on Gavin Floyd, solidifying the right-handed side of his rotation for 2013.

Peavy will receive $14.5 million in each of the next two seasons, with performance incentives that would extend his contract through 2015 for another $15 million. The $4-million buyout for Peavy's $22 million club option for 2013 will be paid out over 2016-19 in equal installments, softening the payroll blow for next season and making the deal possible, Hahn said.

The bigger factor was Peavy's desire to return. He has been saying that all along, and it turns out he meant it.

"Free agency wasn't something I was interested in unless I had to be," Peavy said.

"I'm really excited to come back to Chicago and build on what we did last year. I made no secret of the fact that this is where I want to play. Chicago is a great city with great fans, and I can't think of a better place to try and win a championship. With the guys we have coming back, I think we have a great opportunity to accomplish some special things."

"Jake Peavy showed again last season why he is capable of being one of the top pitchers in the American League," Hahn said in a statement. "Early on in this process, Jake expressed his strong desire to remain with the White Sox, and we're happy to reach a deal that keeps him at the top end of our rotation and his influence in our clubhouse for at least the next two years."

The 31-year-old former Cy Young winner went 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA over 219 innings and 194 strikeouts in 32 starts in 2012. He ranked among American League leaders in complete games (four), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.96), innings, average against (.234.) and ERA.

The Sox declined the 2013 options for right-hander Brett Myers ($10 million) and third baseman Kevin Youkilis ($13 million). Myers gets a $3 million buyout and Youkilis a $1 million buyout. The Sox hold exclusive negotiating rights to them through Friday, and Hahn said they are not out of the Sox picture. They will listen to what's out there.

Floyd, 29, was 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 29 starts last season. He reached double figures in victories for the fifth consecutive season, joining Tampa Bay's James Shields, Detroit's Justin Verlander and Los Angeles' Jered Weaver as the only AL pitchers to do so.

Pierzynski re-enters free agency

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Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, pitchers Francisco Liriano and Brian Bruney, outfielder Dewayne Wise and infielder Jose Lopez are all eligible to become free agents as the free agent filing period starts Monday, the first day after the World Series.
If the Sox don't pick up club options on pitchers Jake Peavy ($22 million), Brett Myers ($10 million) and Gavin Floyd ($9.5) and infielders Kevin Youkilis ($13 million) and Orlando Hudson ($8 million), those players can become free agents as well. Floyd doesn't have a buyout, and letting him go would leave the Sox short on right-handed starters, unless Peavy and Myers are brought back at higher prices.
While the options on Peavy, Youkilis, Myers and Hudson aren't expected to be picked up, Floyd stands a better chance of having his picked up by the Sox.
"We have a bunch of option decisions,'' general manager Rick Hahn said. "We'll announce them right after the World Series. I have a pretty good sense of how [Floyd] fits in. I'd hate to answer on one guy and not the others.''

Hahn now at the controls

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Widely regarded as one of baseball's top assistant general managers for some time now, Rick Hahn will be much more than a No. 2 man as the White Sox new GM.

Hahn was officially promoted to White Sox senior vice president and general manager on Friday. The promotion, which had been reported in September, changes Ken Williams' title from the one Hahn now holds to executive vice president.

While touting Hahn as "one of the most respected young executives in baseball,'' chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement that Williams would "maintain oversight and final approval on major baseball decisions." But make no mistake: This won't be the same management tandem that has operated effectively for 12 years. Williams will be doing other things -- he was vague when asked about specifics -- and Hahn will be making baseball decisions while conferring with Williams and Reinsdorf when necessary.

"That was an important part to me," Hahn said. "There were a lot of factors involved, but one of them was making sure that it wasn't going to be an escalation of titles and sort of 'business as usual.' "

Williams, 48, growing weary at times from the stress of the job, has talked about this move for years. He held the GM job since 2000, the fourth-longest tenure of any GM in baseball.

"You cannot say enough about Ken Williams' value to the Chicago White Sox, his contributions to our success and the passion he brings to the ballpark each and every day," Reinsdorf said. "Kenny raised the idea of promoting Rick several years ago, and we all have agreed that this is the right time to increase the scope and range of Kenny's involvement while he continues to maintain oversight and final approval on major baseball decisions."

The Sox finished .500 or better nine times under Williams. Citing Hahn's "new ideas," Williams said he won't "get in his way" on a job that "has to have a certain amount of autonomy."

"It's not any different than what I had to do with regards to when I had an idea before we made that particular deal, or started down a path to acquire a player via free agency,'' Williams said. "I had to go have that conversation with Jerry. And ultimately, he would weigh in. You generally go to a consensus."

Said Hahn: "If at the end of the day I want to make a move they disagree with, we're going to have to get in a room just like we have the last 12 years and hash it out and come to a decision for our organization.''

Williams, who badly wanted a second title to go with the 2005 World Series championship, has mixed feelings about leaving the GM chair, but one side is there's a lot he won't miss. He has been transferring calls from other GMs to Hahn.

"He has been doing the job for a number of weeks," Williams said.

The promotion of Hahn, 41, a Winnetka native, Michigan graduate and holder of degrees from Harvard Law School and Northwestern's Kellogg graduate school of management, "is very well deserved," Reinsdorf said. His duties will be expanded to include all player personnel matters, coaching staff decisions and player development and scouting operations.

"He is one of the most respected young executives in baseball today and that reputation is well earned given his relationships with other team executives, players, agents, manager Robin Ventura and our coaches, members of the media and White Sox fans. Kenny and Rick together have worked very successfully over the past 12 seasons, and I am excited to see this dynamic grow and expand as Rick assumes more day-to-day authority and responsibility while Kenny is allowed to focus even more on macro issues, talent evaluation and long-term planning for the organization."


Hahn on White Sox free agents: 'You have to prioritize'

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One of Rick Hahn's first duties as new general manager of the White Sox will be addressing free agency - in particular the status of catcher A.J. Pierzynski and right-hander Jake Peavy, and the expensive options on third baseman Kevin Youkilis and right-handers Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd.

"You have to prioritize,'' Hahn said after being introduced as Ken Williams replacement at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday. "You have to look at not only the cost on the option to bring them back but also get a sense of trades or free agent options of what's the marginal cost of replacing this guy. You'd prefer the option was at a reasonable price and it's good value but it's not the case in all of these.''

Peavy has a $22 million option that won't be picked up. Youkilis' is $13 million, Myers' is $10 million and Floyd's $9.5. All but Floyd have buyouts.

Hahn expects the club payroll to be in the neighborhood of where it was at the beginning of 2011 - around $97 million. He expects Peavy to get a big offer elsewhere, which could price him out of the Sox plans.

"Look, there aren't a lot of free agent pitchers out there,'' Hahn said. "There is a fair amount of money perhaps to be spent by other clubs so that one's [Peavy] going to be a challenge.''

Asked if Pierzynski, who turns 36 after his best offensive season, has a good chance of staying, Hahn said he wouldn't get into trying to handicap the odds.

"We've had A.J. here for eight years and he's been a fantastic member of the organization for every minute of it,'' Hahn said. "We've signed him to three multiyear deals and two years ago at this time there was a thick level of pessimism about him coming back. I talked to [Pierzynski agent] Steve Hilliard last week and it was a good dialogue. We'll stay in touch. Until he gets out there and sees what his market is and we explore alternatives and other ways to spend our money it's impossible to handicap.''

Hahn compared the possibility of parting ways with Pierzynski to Mark Buehrle leaving last year.

"It's hard. ... there's a sentimental side.

Hahn said he views backup Tyler Flowers as a viable everyday option to Pierzynski.

"We're meeting next week as an organization and that's one of the topics,'' Hahn said. "Based on the history we've had with him he'll be a quality everyday catcher in the big leagues, yes. It's tough for a young kid to have sporadic playing time and continue that development. But defensively he certainly can handle the position. He can get on base some and he's going to have some power. I think he will be a valuable and viable catcher in the big leagues.''

Flowers suffered a hairline fracture near a knuckle on his left hand in September, preventing him from playing winter ball. Hahn said Flowers will be ready for the start of spring training.

Peavy proved himself to be healthy throughout 2012, which bodes well for his bank book.

"Pitchers get paid a significant amount and Jake given his track record, and him answering questions about his health he is going to be a popular guy, so that one is going to be a challenge. We've had good talks already, honest conversations. Jake's preference is to be back in Chicago but there comes opportunities elsewhere where it doesn't make sense for us to chase.''

Hahn's move to the GM position, with Williams becoming Executive Vice President, has been in serious planning stages since last November. The impending move of Williams getting a new title was reported in September.

While Hahn will sign off with Williams and Reinsdorf on major decisions, he will be making the day-to-day GM decisions. He needed to be clear on that before accepting the promotion

"That was important,'' Hahn said. "One of them was making sure it wasn't just an escalation in titles and business as usual. Kenny made that clear from the start and we had to talk things through and go through different scenarios. It took a few months of going back and forth.''

Reinsdorf says Hahn's promotion "well deserved"

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Rick Hahn, widely regarded as one of baseball's top assistant general managers, will be much more than a No. 2 man as the White Sox new GM.
Hahn was officially promoted to White Sox general manager on Friday. The promotion of Hahn, which had been reported in September, bumps Ken Williams from senior vice president and general manager to executive vice president.
Hahn, 41, a Winnetka native, Michigan graduate and holder of degrees from Harvard Law School and Northwestern's Kellogg graduate school of management, has been groomed for the job for 12 years as the assistant and by most accounts has been ready for bigger and better and things for some time now.
Williams has held the GM job since 2000, the fourth-longest tenure of any GM in baseball. The Sox finished .500 or better nine times in his 12 seasons, including the team's 2005 World Series championship, but Williams fell short of his dream of bringing two titles to Chicago.
"Rick's promotion is very well deserved," Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "He is one of the most respected young executives in baseball today and that reputation is well earned given his relationships with other team executives, players, agents, manager Robin Ventura and our coaches, members of the media and White Sox fans. Kenny and Rick together have worked very successfully over the past 12 seasons, and I am excited to see this dynamic grow and expand as Rick assumes more day-to-day authority and responsibility while Kenny is allowed to focus even more on macro issues, talent evaluation and long-term planning for the organization."
Hahn's duties will be expanded to include all player personnel matters, coaching staff decisions and player development and scouting operations.
"As most people are aware, Rick has been indispensible to me as assistant general manager over the past 12 seasons," Williams, 48, said. "He already plays a prominent role representing the White Sox publicly and within baseball. I am very proud of Rick's growth since he joined our front office, and this promotion rewards his talents, hard work and commitment toward our organization's goal of bringing Chicago another World Series title."
Reinsdorf said Williams will have final approval on major baseball decisions.
"You cannot say enough about Ken Williams' value to the Chicago White Sox, his contributions to our success and the passion he brings to the ballpark each and every day," said Reinsdorf. "Kenny raised the idea of promoting Rick several years ago, and we all have agreed that this is the right time to increase the scope and range of Kenny's involvement while he continues to maintain oversight and final approval on major baseball decisions."

White Sox offer special for SoxFest

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Here is White Sox media relations release on SoxFest info:

White Sox fans have until Thursday, November 1 to take advantage of discounted SoxFest 2013 Weekend Passes - early-bird rates on weekend passes are $60 from now until November 1. SoxFest, presented by Miller Lite, Pepsi and Comcast SportsNet, will be held Friday, January 25, Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27, 2013 at the Palmer House Hilton.

The special SoxFest hotel rate is $278 (plus applicable taxes and fees, which are detailed on whitesox.com) for a two-night stay. Fans who book a two-night stay are eligible to purchase up to four SoxFest weekend passes. SoxFest hotel packages and weekend passes will be available for purchase in the same transaction at whitesox.com. Weekend passes can only be purchased by fans who book the two-night stay. Friday night of SoxFest will be open only to SoxFest hotel guests with weekend passes.

SoxFest offers fans the opportunity to meet their favorite current and former White Sox players, attend question-and-answer sessions, participate in interactive baseball activities and visit the always-popular SoxFest Garage Sale.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura is scheduled to attend SoxFest 2013, along with franchise legend and current first base coach Harold Baines, and former players and Sox greats Joe Crede, Jermaine Dye, Greg Luzinski, Jack McDowell, Aaron Rowand and Frank Thomas.

Players in attendance at SoxFest last year included: Gordon Beckham, Jesse Crain, John Danks, Adam Dunn, Tyler Flowers, Gavin Floyd, Philip Humber, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Chris Sale, Matt Thornton and Dayan Viciedo.

This is the seventh year the historic Palmer House Hilton will host the annual White Sox fan gathering, now in its 21st year.

For more information, fans should visit whitesox.com/SoxFest or contact the SoxFest hotline at (312) 609-1915.

Dunn named AL Comeback Player of Year

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Calling the award "bittersweet" because it conjures up memories of 2011 and because the White Sox failed in their September bid to win the American League Central Division, Adam Dunn was named The Sporting News AL Comeback Player of the Year on Tuesday.

The White Sox' 32-year-old designated hitter and first baseman hit 41 homers and drove in 96 runs while batting .204, a year after his first, disappointing season with the Sox in 2011 when he batted .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBI.

In addition to hitting 18 homers that either tied a game or gave the Sox a lead, Dunn walked a major-league high 105 times and scored 87 runs this season. His 41 homers tied for sixth-most in Sox history, including 15 against lefties after hitting none in 2011.

Dunn struck out 222 times, one short of Mark Reynolds' record. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Dunn said he plans to be more aggressive early in counts next season. That could lead to fewer counts but it would keep him out of two-strike counts and cut down on the strikeouts.

"I know what I need to fix," he said.

Alex Rios and Jake Peavy were also candidates for the award. Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney won MLB.com's Comeback Player award last week. The Sox aren't expected to pick up Peavy's $22 million option but Dunn said he has been in contact with Peavy almost daily, and that Peavy is telling him he'd like to return if a new deal can be worked out.

Dunn is the fifth Sox to win the Sporting News award -- which is regarded as the most prestigious -- since its inception in 1965, joining Jim Thome (2006), Paul Konerko (2004), Frank Thomas (2000) and Bo Jackson (1993). Dunn was named to his second All-Star Team (2002 with Cincinnati). He reached the 400-home run and 1,000 RBI career milestones this season.

"It's an award I hope I never win again," Dunn said. "It's bittersweet. I'm very appreciative, but I wish I never would have won it -- then I wouldn't have had the bad to go with the good."

Said Sox manager Robin Ventura: "We had a number of guys mentioned throughout the season as candidates for this award, which is gratifying for us as a coaching staff. Adam is one of the best clubhouse guys I have been around, and it's nice to see that his hard work paid off. He is deserving of the honor."

White Sox lowering ticket, parking prices for 2013

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The White Sox are lowering a number of ticket prices for 2013, and dropping the cost of parking as well.

Corner seats in the lower deck will be available for $20, and upper deck corner seats for $7 for all home games with the exception of Opening Day and the two games against the Cubs in May. A total of 5,000 seats will be available at those prices.

Parking will be lowered to $20, from $25 and $23.

Despite being in first place in the American League Central Division for 117 days in 2012, the Sox drew 1,965,955 fans, the first time since 2004 they finished under 2 million. Attendance has declined for six straight seasons, the first time that's happened since 1965-70.

Toward the end of the season, the Sox commissioned a research project to examine fan sentiments on prices and factors affecting their decisions to attend games. The study was done by by Rich Luker, creator of The ESPN Sports Poll, author of "Simple Community," and the Up Next trend columnist for Sports Business Journal.

As for season tickets, more than 87 percent will stay the same or drop in price, the Sox said. More than 54 percent of the full season tickets are dropping an average of 26 percent. Bleacher and Outfield Reserved sections are dropping 32 and 30 percent for full season packages. Split season tickets for all 27-game plans are decreasing by an average of more than 25%.

A "small number" of fans will see a ticket price increase due to high demand of their current locations, the Sox said. Those season ticket holders are being personally contacted by the White Sox.

The club will announce more details on seven- and 14-game plans during the offseason.

Olmedo outrighted by White Sox

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The White Sox outrighted 31-year-old utility infielder Ray Olmedo to Class AAA Charlotte on Wednesday, making him a minor-league free agent.

The Sox 40-man roster stands at 39.

Olmedo played in 20 games (nine starts) for the Sox, going 10-for-41 with one RBI and eight runs scored. He batted .273 with 19 RBI in 80 games with Charlotte.

White Sox' Peavy nominated for Hutch Award

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Jake_Peavy_Chicago_White_Sox.jpg

Jake Peavy is a nominee for the 48th Hutch Award, given to a player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of former major league manager and player Fred Hutchinson.

The nominees:

* Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
* Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
* Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds
* Brandon McCarthy, Oakland Athletics
* Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins
* Jake Peavy, White Sox
* Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves
* Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
* Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
* Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants

The recipient is selected through a vote of former awardees. Mickey Mantle won the inaugural award. Other recipients include Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey, Lou Brock, Jamie Moyer, Craig Biggio, Jon Lester, Tim Hudson and Billy Butler.


Hutchinson succumbed to cancer at age 45.

Peavy is also one of 30 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best represents baseball through positive contributions on and off the field.

Konerko has surgery on wrist

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White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko will return home to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday after having surgery at RUSH University Medical Center to remove a loose body from his left wrist on Thursday morning.

Mark Cohen, the Sox' hand and wrist specialist, performed the procedure with assistance from John Fernandez and Charles Bush-Joseph of Midwest Orthopedics at RUSH.

Konerko, 36, will have sutures removed from his wrist in 7-10 days and a follow-up examination by a team specialist in Glendale, Ariz. Konerko, who made the decision in June to have the procedure done after the season, is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of spring training.

Konerko batted .298 with 26 home runs and 76 RBI in 144 games in his 14th season with the Sox.

Johnson, Floyd close out White Sox season on high note

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CLEVELAND -- Dan Johnson became the 15th player in White Sox history to hit three homers in a game, Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko also homered to give the Sox five players with 25 or more homers in a season, and Gavin Floyd (12-11) pitched seven scoreless innings as the Sox finished the year with a 9-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

The Sox finished with an 85-77 record, good for second place in the American League Central after they led the division for 117 days. They were three games in front of the division-winning Tigers on Sept. 18. The Sox were 4-11 down the stretch.

"It was a good night to end on,'' manager Robin Ventura said.

Ventura addressed the team afterward, thanking the players for their effort.

"Effort, and sometimes the game is cruel,'' Ventura said of his talk. "It can be hard and everything else and what they brought every day and what they gave the staff is appreciated.''

Johnson, who played most of the year at AAA Charlotte, hadn't homered for the Sox until Wednesday night. He hit his first two against lefty David Huff (3-1).

Johnson hadn't homered since his pinch-hit for Tampa Bay on the last day of last season. His two-out, two-strike homer in the ninth inning tied the score, and the Rays went on to beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12 innings to make the playoffs.

Indians defeat White Sox in 12 innings

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CLEVELAND -- Jason Donald's RBI single against Nate Jones scored Lonnie Chisenhall from second in the 12th inning, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the White Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night.

The Indians rallied in the ninth inning against Jake Peavy to force extra innings. After Dayan Viciedo broke a ninth-inning tie with a two-run home against Indians closer Chris Perez, Travis Hafner hit a pinch home run with Michael Brantley on first to tie it 3-3.

Peavy, in what could have been his last game as a White Sox, allowed three runs on three hits. He struck out eight and walked one and finished with 219 innings pitched this season. Peavy, who received a no-decision, finished with an 11-12 record and 3.37 ERA.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the fourth to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Orlando Hudson singled in Dewayne Wise in the sixth to tie it 1-1.

Matt Thornton (4-10), who gave up a bloop double down the left-field line to Chisenhall with one out in the 12th, took the loss.

The Sox and Indians close out their seasons on Wednesday night. The Sox were eliminated from contention in the AL Central on Monday night.

No shortage of lefties for 2013 rotation

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CLEVELAND -- With Opening Day starter John Danks returning after surgery for 2013, the White Sox starting rotation next season could have four lefties in the mix with Danks, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago. Barring a trade, that's a lot of lefties.

"Listen, if they are good, they are good pitchers,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I don't look at that as saying we can't do that. They are different guys, different styles, too, a little bit. ... Santiago with his screwball is a different style than the other guys.''

Cooper on the performance of his staff, which utilized rookies Quintana, Santiago, Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Dylan Axelrod and Brian Omogrosso in significant to fairly significant roles while relying on the 23-year-old Sale as the ace in his first season as a starter: "We didn't get where we wanted to go and that's a disappointment, no question. But I'm not so sure we didn't get everything out the guys as best we could out of them.''

White Sox season set strikeout record

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CLEVELAND -- Hector Santiago's 10 strikeouts helped the White Sox establish a franchise record for strikeouts in a season. The Sox had 12 in their 11-0 win against the Indians on Monday night, raising their total to 1,225.

The old record was set last season at 1,220.

Santiago's were a season high, and they came in his fourth start. Santiago (4-1) is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA and a .176 batting average against over his last 17 appearances, including four starts.

Santiago's 10 strikeouts were the most by a Sox rookie since Jason Bere fanned 12 Angels on Sept. 20, 1993.

White Sox win, but Tigers clinch AL Central

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CLEVELAND -- Rookie left-hander Hector Santiago (4-1) allowed one hit and struck out 10 in seven innings, and the White Sox rediscovered the long-lost art of hitting with runners in scoring position in a 11-0 victory against the Indians on Monday night.

Needing to sweep the Indians in their season-ending three-game series and needing the Tigers to lose three in Kansas City to forge a tie after 162 games, the Sox offense showed up too late. The Tigers defeated the Royals 6-3 to clinch the title.

The only hit against Santiago (4-1) was a single by Shin-Soo Choo in the third.

Sunk by a lineup that had scored three runs or less in 10 of the last 13 games and had hit .181 with runners in scoring position over its last 24 games, the Sox erupted with four two-out RBI singles in the sixth inning. Alexei Ramirez added one more in the eighth, and Dayan Viciedo hit his first career grand slam in a six-run ninth.

Adam Dunn, Alex Rios (a line shot off the left-field wall), A.J. Pierzynski and Viciedo came through with two outs in the sixth, Dunn by breaking an 0-for-18 slump and Pierzynski tying his career high with his 77th RBI. In the eighth, Ramirez scored Pierzynski (2-for-4, RBI, run) from second.

Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless eighth for the Sox. Leyson Septimo pitched the ninth.



Parent's tip has Floyd throwing 'free and easy'

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Gavin Floyd is so encouraged about an adjustment in his delivery that he hates to see the season come to an end. Floyd said Monday he wants to take his turn in the season finale Wednesday regardless of whether the Sox are eliminated from first place by then.

Oddly enough, the tip came not from pitching coach Don Cooper but from bench coach Mark Parent, a former catcher. Floyd (11-11, 4.47 ERA) said he's taking the ball out of his glove sooner, which gets his arm out sooner and brings his release point more out in front of his body.

"I've taken some really good strides mechanically,'' Floyd said Monday. "It's exciting because it's something I've probably struggled with for the last five years.

"Everything is out in front rather than fighting and trying to catch up. Everything feels on time, and it's like kinetic energy going to home plate. It's a good feeling.''

Jake Peavy assumed the ball is coming out of Floyd's hand so much better because of the rest Floyd got while on the disabled list. Floyd, who still has soreness in the elbow, said that was a factor but not as much as the adjustment.

"This is something I'm going to stick with. I feel in rhythm, free and easy,'' Floyd said.

Floyd could pitch his last game as a Sox in Wednesday's season finale. He's on the fourth year of a contract extension signed in March, 2009. The Sox have a hefty $9.5 million club option for him next season. Floyd and his wife like Chicago and Floyd said he'd love to stay if the Sox will have him.

"They haven't approached me about that at all,'' Floyd said. "I don't know if they're going to pick it up, extend anything or if they don't see me in their future. They probably have a lot of things to think about.

"I'm content with whatever happens. It's exciting more than anything to find out whether I'll be here or where the Lord is going to take us.''

White Sox' Jones is a winner

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CLEVELAND -- Nate Jones can't lose.
And he sure does win a lot. In fact, he ranks fourth on the team in pitching victories, a number you could have bet against at 1000-1 odds at the start of spring training.
Jones wasn't even considered a strong candidate to make the team then, at least by media and casual observers, having completed one season at the AA level. But he impressed with his good stuff and for the most part, avoided the wildness that would sometimes get the 6-5, hard-throwing Kentuckian in trouble.
"He's got a big arm,'' was manager Robin Ventura's answer every time he was asked, "So what do you like about Nate Jones?"
The day Jones survived the final cut, he made phone calls to his wife and parents.
"There was a lot of hootin' and hollerin' goin' on,'' on the other end of his phone connection.
"To start out in spring training not knowing what would happen ... '' Jones said Sunday, thinking back to that unforgettable day. "That day was awesome.
"After that they put my in right situations, I gained some confidence and it took off from there.''
Jones (8-0) owns a solid 2.40 ERA and leads American League relievers in wins, an achievement that has as much to do with timing and circumstance as good pitching.
His last win was one of the Sox' biggest of the year, the 5-4 decision against the Tigers on Sept. 17 that gave the Sox a three-game lead. His streak of 21 scoreless appearances, which was the longest active run in the majors, came to an end Sunday.
With three games left in the season, starting with Monday night's game against the Indians, Jones leads Sox relievers with 69 innings pitched. He has the ability to get lefthanders out (batting .174 against him) which helps him get through multiple innings, a bonus for Ventura, who has worked him hard in the last couple of weeks.
"It's been a bigger workload with us being in the race,'' Jones said. "But all that kind of went out the window because your adrenaline steps up and takes over. I still feel good, feel strong and ready to see this thing through.''
Jones was a closer at AA Birmingham last year, getting 12 saves while posting a 3.12 ERA. The previous season at Class A Winston-Salem, he started 28 games and pitched 152 innings.
"Pitching is all about your confidence,'' he said. "After the first couple times out I was nervous but I got used to it and could see I could do this.''

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