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

November 2012 Archives

White Sox non-tender Johnson, Carter; Astros claim Humber

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The White Sox declined to tender contracts to infielder Dan Johnson and right-hander Anthony Carter on Friday while also parting ways with right-hander Philip Humber, who was claimed on waivers by the Houston Astros.

The Sox 40-man roster now stands at 37, allowing room for potential additions via trades or free agency.

Humber pitched a perfect game in Seattle on April 21 but struggled in the following months. He pitched like an All-Star Game candidate in the first half of 2011, his first season with the Sox, before finishing with a 9-9 record and 3.75 ERA. He was 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA while dealing with an elbow flexor problem in 2012 and did not win a game over his last 15 starts at home.

Carter went 4-6 with a 4.60 ERA and two saves over 39 appearances for AAA Charlotte last season. He had 32 saves over seven seasons in the Sox organization.

Johnson played in 14 games with the Sox last season, hitting .364 and three homers -- all in the final game of the season against the Indians in Cleveland. He hit 28 homers for Charlotte in 2012.

Humber is a native of Nagodoches, Texas, and a former first-round draft pick out of Rice University.

White Sox face deadline decisions on Humber, Johnson

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The White Sox are expected to tender contracts to second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza before the Friday night deadline. There's a good chance they'll pass on doing so for Philip Humber and Dan Johnson, who had two of the greatest individual one-game performances of 2012.

Humber pitched a perfect game against the Mariners in Seattle on April 21. Johnson hit three homers against the Indians in the season finale at Cleveland. Humber (5-5, 6.14) didn't come close to matching the perfecto, however, and Johnson's flair for the dramatic simmered for most of the season at AAA Charlotte.

Having depth in the starting rotation and at first base, the Sox should be content to let Humber, 31, and Johnson, 33, become free agents rather than pay them the $1 million or so they'd command through the arbitration process. Taking them off the full-to-capacity 40-man roster also would afford general manager Rick Hahn wiggle room for trades or free agents before the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

"I prefer not to announce any tender decisions until we've had those conversations with individual players,'' Hahn said Thursday. "We've talked to agents this week what we're thinking and where these things are likely headed, so it's not going to come as a shock should we decide not to tender anybody.''

With 10 players under contract for $90 million next year, and Beckham, De Aza and left fielder Dayan Viciedo - who are under Sox control -- probably set to earn another $8 million combined, the Sox are close to the $100 million best-guess figure for their payroll.

Humber and Johnson become free agents if the Sox do not offer them contracts.


New role for Baines as White Sox shuffle staff

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The White Sox shuffled their coaching staff on Tuesday, promoting Daryl Boston from their minor league system to first base coach and naming former Sox closer Bobby Thigpen as bullpen coach.

Thigpen replaces Juan Nieves, who left to become the Boston Red Sox' pitching coach.

Harold Baines, the team's first base coach the last seven years, moves to a newly created position of assistant hitting coach.

"It's more his passion of what he enjoys doing,'' manager Robin Ventura said.

Boston, 49, spent the last 12 seasons as Sox minor-league outfield coordinator and has served as a hitting coach with three teams in the minor league system. A Sox first-round draft pick in 1981, he played outfield for 11 major-league seasons with the Sox and three other teams from 1984-94. Boston, who was with the big-league club during September of last season, will oversee the outfield defense and see what he can do about getting the Sox to take bigger leads at first base.

"Sitting in the dugout [in September] I noticed we definitely need to improve our leads at first,'' Boston said. "With the exception of maybe [Paul] Konerko, everybody should be able to go from first to third, or break up a double play to give us an extra at-bat. [Third-base coach] Joe [McEwing] handled the baserunning, but those are things we'll emphasize in spring training.''

Thigpen, 49, the franchise leader with 201 saves, saved 57 games in 1990 -- the second-highest total in major-league history. He spent the last four seasons as a pitching coach for the Sox' AA Birmingham (2012) and Class A Winston-Salem (2009-11) teams. Thigpen also managed at Bristol from 2007-08.

"I've known Thiggy my entire career,'' Ventura said. "The work he's done throughout the minors and with the players we have, and being a bullpen guy, he's a natural fit and one I'm very comfortable with.''

"Working with Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] is going to be great,'' Thigpen said. "He's obviously one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. He and Juan were very close. I hope to be some enforcement for him. A lot of the [current pitchers] I had in the minors, so that will make the transition easier for me because I'm familiar with some of them.''


Baines, who ranks among all-time Sox leaders in homers, RBI and several other categories, spent the last nine seasons on the Sox coaching staff, including a two-year stint as Ozzie Guillen's bench coach from 2004-05. He'll work in step with hitting coach Jeff Manto. Staff coach Mike Gellinger, whose duties included assisting former hitting coach Greg Walker before Manto last season, will stay with the Sox put likely in a new capacity that involves less travel, Ventura said.

Manto, Cooper, third base coach McEwing, bench coach Mark Parent and bullpen catcher Mark Salas return to complete Ventura's staff for 2013.

Boston, Thigpen join White Sox coaching staff

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The White Sox shuffled their coaching staff on Tuesday, promoting Daryl Boston from their minor league system to first base coach and naming former Sox closer Bobby Thigpen as bullpen coach.

Thigpen replaces Juan Nieves, who left to become the Boston Red Sox' pitching coach.

Harold Baines, the team's first base coach the last seven years, moves to a newly created position of assistant hitting coach.

Boston, 49, spent the last 12 seasons as Sox minor-league outfield coordinator and has served as a hitting coach with three teams in the minor league system. A Sox first-round draft pick in 1981, he played 11 major-league seasons with the Sox and three other teams from 1984-94. Boston was with the big-league club during September of last season.

Thigpen, 49, the franchise leader with 201 saves, saved 57 games in 1990 -- the second-highest total in major-league history. He spent the last four seasons as a pitching coach for the Sox' AA Birmingham (2012) and Class A Winston-Salem (2009-11) teams. Thigpen also managed at Bristol from 2007-08.

Baines, who ranks among all-time Sox leaders in homers, RBI and several other categories, spent the last nine seasons on the Sox coaching staff, including a two-year stint as Ozzie Guillen's bench coach from 2004-05. He'll work alongside hitting coach Jeff Manto.

Manto, pitching coach Don Cooper, third base coach Joe McEwing, bench coach Mark Parent and bullpen catcher Mark Salas return to complete manager Robin Ventura's staff for 2013.

White Sox agree to terms with OF Dewayne Wise

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Backup outfielder Dewayne Wise and the White Sox agreed to terms on a one-year, $700,000 contract, the Sox announced Wednesday.

The left-handed hitting Wise, 34, rejoined the Sox as a free agent on Aug. 3 after being let go by the Yankees and batted .258 with five homers, 22 RBI, 20 runs scored and 12 steals in 45 games. He subbed for Alejandro De Aza when De Aza was injured, making 28 starts in center field, eight in left and two in right. Manager Robin Ventura used Wise mostly in the leadoff spot but also batted him third. When De Aza returned to the lineup, Wise started in center with De Aza moving to left.

The White Sox 40-man roster is at 40. Wise gives the Sox at least three potential left-handed hitting backup outfielders, including Jordan Danks and Blake Tekotte -- who was acquired this month from the Padres for reliever Brandon Kloess.

Wise is a career .228 hitter with 30 home runs and 112 RBI in 546 games over parts of 10 seasons with Toronto, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Florida, the Yankees and the Sox.

Wise kept Mark Buehrle's perfect game intact during the ninth inning on July 23, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay with an over-the-wall catch to deny Gabe Kapler of a home run.


White Sox add five to 40-man roster

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The White Sox added catcher Josh Phegley, outfielder Jared Mitchell, right-handers Andre Rienzo and Charles Shirek and left-hander Santos Rodriguez to the 40-man roster Tuesday, protecting those prospects from being taken by other teams in the Rule 5 draft next month.

The Rule 5 draft, held Dec. 6 on the last day of the winter meetings in Nashville, allows teams to draft unprotected players for $50,000. Those drafted players must stay on the 25-man major league roster all season.

The Sox 40-man roster stands at 39.

Phegley, 24, is known for his defense -- he threw out 30 of 65 base stealers at AAA Charlotte in 2012 and won the MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award for catchers while batting .266 with 49 RBI -- and will have a chance to make the 25-man if A.J. Pierzynski is lost in free agency and another catcher is not acquired.

Mitchell, 24, split last season between AA Birmingham and Charlotte, hitting .237 with 13 triples, 11 home runs, 67 RBI, 69 runs scored and 21 stolen bases over 130 combined games.

Rienzo, 24, split 2012 between Class A Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte, going 7-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 113 strikeouts over 18 starts. Rienzois a member of Team Brazil, which qualified for the first round of the World Baseball Classic by upsetting Panama Monday.

Rodriguez, 24, was 2-4 with a 2.90 ERA over 71 1/3 innings, eight saves and 69 strikeouts between Birmingham and Charlotte.

Shirek, 27, was 11-5 with a 3.65 ERA and 117 strikeouts over an International League high 170 1/3 innings. While the other four were expected ahead of tonight's deadline, Shirek was something of a surprise.

White Sox 2013 spring training schedule

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Day Date Opponent Site Time

Saturday February 23 LA Dodgers Glendale 1:05 p.m.

Sunday February 24 LA DODGERS GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Monday February 25 San Francisco Scottsdale 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday February 26 Texas Surprise 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday February 27 TEXAS GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Thursday February 28 Milwaukee Maryvale 1:05 p.m.

Friday March 1 Cleveland Goodyear 1:05 p.m.

Saturday March 2 CINCINNATI GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Sunday March 3 San Diego Peoria 1:05 p.m.

Monday March 4 SAN FRANCISCO GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday March 5 TEAM USA GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday March 6 OFF DAY

Thursday March 7 Cubs Mesa 1:05 p.m.

Friday March 8 SAN DIEGO GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Saturday March 9 Arizona Salt River Fields 1:05 p.m.

Sunday March 10 CINCINNATI (ss) GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Seattle (ss) Peoria 1:05 p.m.

Monday March 11 COLORADO GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday March 12 OFF DAY

Wednesday March 13 CLEVELAND GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Thursday March 14 LA Angels Tempe 1:05 p.m.

Friday March 15 CUBS GLENDALE 12:05 p.m.

Saturday March 16 OAKLAND GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Sunday March 17 Kansas City Surprise 1:05 p.m.

Monday March 18 OFF DAY

Tuesday March 19 Cincinnati Goodyear 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday March 20 ARIZONA GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Thursday March 21 MILWAUKEE GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Friday March 22 Oakland Phoenix 7:05 p.m.

Saturday March 23 LA Dodgers Glendale 7:05 p.m.

Sunday March 24 KANSAS CITY GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Monday March 25 LA ANGELS GLENDALE 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday March 26 Texas Surprise 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday March 27 CLEVELAND GLENDALE 12:05 p.m.

Thursday March 28 OFF DAY

Friday March 29 Milwaukee Miller Park 7:05 p.m.*

Saturday March 30 Milwaukee Miller Park 1:05 p.m.*

All games are Local Time (AZT). Dates and times subject to change.

* - Central Daylight Time

HOME DATES IN BOLD.

(ss) - Split Squad

Twelve from White Sox ACE program sign letters of intent

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In their ongoing effort to promote advanced baseball opportunities for high school players in the inner-city community, the White Sox honored 12 members of their Amateur City Elite (ACE) program at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday.

With general manager Rick Hahn, Frank Thomas and Hector Santiago addressing the group with other members of the Sox front office and scouting departments in attendance, 12 student-athletes signed letters of intent at Division I baseball programs.

Eighty high school players have advanced to the college level since the start of the program. Six have been drafted. This year's group of 12 who signed letters of intent was seven more than last year:


· Matthew Cole (Rich Central High School, committing to Alcorn State University)

· Ronell Coleman (Simeon Career Academy, committing to Vanderbilt University)

· Elbert Dunnigan (Simeon Career Academy, committing to Alcorn State University)

· Robert Fletcher (Simeon Career Academy, committing to Alcorn State University)

· Jerry Houston (Mount Carmel High School, committing to the University of Oregon)

· Sanford Hunt (Kenwood Academy, committing to Chicago State University)

· Regynold Johnson (Marian Catholic High School, committing to the University of Missouri)

· Tyler Johnson (Harlan Career Academy, committing to Texas Southern University)

· Corey Ray (Simeon Career Academy, committing to the University of Louisville)

· Marcellus Sneed (Morgan Park High School, committing to Alcorn State University)

· Terrell Stewart (Harlan Career Academy, committing to Chicago State University)

· Marshawn Taylor (Simeon Career Academy, committing to Eastern Illinois University)

Through the ACE program, the Sox offer inner-city players the opportunity to play against tough competition on a traveling team. ACE teams, 13-18 years of age, participate through an elite practice and competition schedule while receiving academic direction to prepare them for success on and off the field.

Viciedo unlikely choice at 3B if Youkilis goes elsewhere

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With the number of teams showing interest in free agent Kevin Youkilis probably nearing a half dozen, the chances of the third baseman returning to the White Sox seemingly get smaller. That hasn't prompted the Sox to consider moving left fielder Dayan Viciedo back to third base just yet.

"I don't want to rule out anything because it's a week before Thanksgiving so it's foolish to close off any options,'' Hahn said Thursday. "We're exploring a lot of options that we rank ahead of moving Viciedo from the outfield. He's fully capable. He's athletic enough to handle it but at the same time we've moved this kid around a lot. We've asked a lot of him in terms of the role he plays in our offense going forward. But at this time I don't think it's in his best interest. We're not going to rule it out but there are a lot of other options ahead of that.''

Hahn did rule out the long-shot possibility of trying left-handed hitting Dan Johnson, who hit three homers on the last day of the season but has minimal experience there, on that corner. Meanwhile, the interest in Youkilis, whose $13 million option was declined by the Sox after his productive half season in Chicago, is said to have heard from the Indians, Phillies, Dodgers and Mariners - as well as the Sox, of course.

Hahn said he won't rule anything out after A.J. Pierzynski's unexpected re-signing two years ago.

"We knew once the free agency period hit it would be more challenging to sign our own guys,'' said Hahn, who moved quickly to bring back Jake Peavy for two years and an option year before Peavy could test the market. "It's a rather thin free agent market in spots -- starting pitching among them for Jake and third base for Kevin.

"It's not a shock that he's heard from a bunch of teams, that he's popular or that it will be a challenge to bring him back. But we continue to have dialog with him, and other options, and it's still early so we'll see where it goes.''

Hahn said his talks after last week's general managers meetings have been about equal between agents of free agents and GMs for trades.

"We've had some real good conversations, some followups,'' Hahn said. "We saw the big trade the other day (Marlins, Blue Jays) and teams are starting to zero in on converting some of their options right now. It may well be not until clubs get to the (winter meetings in) Nashville (Dec. 3-6) that you begin to see the bulk of the activity as you usually do but things are starting to happen. Conversations are getting more substantive, offers are flying back and forth, so something could happen at any time.''

Why I voted for Miguel Cabrera

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Angels center fielder Mike Trout's blend of power and speed and offensive numbers those tools produced -- and his defense at a key position and value as a leadoff man are extraordinary stuff.

Trout played for a team that won one more game than third baseman Miguel Cabrera's Tigers, but in the end his team failed to make the postseason when 10 teams did. And when that playoff push heated up in August and September, Trout's production lost steam. He batted .284 in August and .289 in September, his worst months, and during the crunch time of September, Trout drove in nine runs, stole seven bases and struck out 35 times, all season highs.

Meanwhile, Cabrera was hitting .333 with 11 homers and 30 RBI and slugging .675 in September, leading a Tigers charge past the White Sox into first place in the AL Central after he had batted .357 with eight homers and 24 RBI in August.

It's somewhat curious that Cabrera's Triple Crown feat - he led the AL in average, homers and RBI -- is viewed as less significant even though Cabrera became the first player to do it in 45 years. (Cabrera's feat is more impressive considering he faced about 100 more pitchers that season than Carl Yastrzemski did during his 1967 Triple Crown season, and he had tougher, deeper bullpens to contend with. And don't forget that Cabrera is a right-handed hitter Yaz, a lefty, had the advantage of facing more opposite-throwing arms. But that's another debate.) And those who maintain that .330 isn't an impressive figure for a batting title, does the fact Cabrera had only seven infield hits say anything? To me it's one of many things that points to what a great, pure hitter Cabrera is.

And that is something that seems to have been overlooked in all of the Cabrera/Trout arguments and statistical analysis. Cabrera is a better hitter, a tougher out than Trout. Ask any AL pitcher which poison they'd choose with the game on the line and they will say they'd rather face Trout than Cabrera.

The numbers support that, too: In the seventh through ninth innings, Cabrera had an OPS of 1.060 with 16 homers with 41 RBI. In late and close games, Cabrera batted .337 with a 1.040 OPS. His overall average with runners in scoring position? .356. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Cabrera was a .420 hitter with a 1.211 OPS.
I want to say there is some value in that.

Trout, meanwhile, had an Alfonso Soriano-like advantage of leading off games, facing starters searching for a rhythm with no need to tiptoe around the strike zone. In late and close games, Trout batted .277 with three homers and two doubles. He batted .260 with nine stolen bases, eight homers, 18 RBI and 28 runs scored in the seventh through ninth innings.

Because I had a vote for the AL MVP, late in the season I asked a couple of executives, scouts and numerous White Sox players who they would vote for and they all said Cabrera. There was no hesitation in any of the responses. Here's what every pitcher I talked to said: When they pitched against the Tigers, no matter where they were in the order they ALWAYS knew where Cabrera was looming - four hitters away, two, whatever. Not that Trout was a guy they wanted to face, but believe me, they were more worried about Albert Pujols coming in the Angels order than Mike Trout.

Trout is a five-tool wonder who had a sensational season, statistically and otherwise. What a talent he is, what a joy to watch, and only a rookie. I hope he treats us to more great things next season and beyond. I hope the loud and strong case for Trout as MVP is about him and not about a metrics debate.

Cabrera, in my view, is the Most Valuable Player in the American League. His peers believe he is, he won a Triple Crown and led the league in OPS and he led his team to a World Series. And he was at his best under pressure when it counted most.

White Sox create 'Family Sunday' fan experience

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From White Sox Media Relations

"Family Sundays" - a special fan experience at U.S. Cellular Field - will be one of the new Chicago White Sox ballpark experiences for families in 2013.

The new promotion, which will cover all 13 Sunday home games, will feature seats in Bleacher, Outfield Reserved, Lower Corner and Premium Upper Box sections for $15, Upper Box and Upper Reserved Seats will be available for $10, and Upper Corner tickets will be priced at only $5. Additionally, parking at U.S. Cellular Field parking lots on Family Sundays will be available for $10. Ticket prices are for fans of all ages.

The White Sox ballpark experience for kids on Sundays in 2013 also will feature special autograph sessions with current and former White Sox players, as well as White Sox broadcasters (weather permitting), and the opportunity to run the bases after games.

The Family Sunday offer comes as the next step by the White Sox in the club's response to feedback from its fans. So far this offseason, the Sox have moved aggressively to reduce the cost of attending baseball games in 2013 by lowering or holding prices for more than 87 percent of all full season tickets.

"For many years, we have worked hard to create one of the very best family environments in all of baseball," said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. "As we continue to closely listen to fans regarding the cost of the ballpark experience, the Family Sunday promotion is our next move in creating affordable seating options in both the lower and upper levels of the park. Welcoming fans of all ages on a day that is traditionally dedicated to family time, we hope Family Sundays become a popular way for fans to share a baseball experience together."

Family Sundays activities and tickets offers are a new White Sox initiative for the 2013 season. Similar to promotions from past seasons, such as "Kids Days" and "Value Mondays," Family Sundays will focus on providing kids and families an affordable and memorable baseball experience.

White Sox sign RHP Troncoso

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The White Sox have signed right-hander Ramon Troncoso to a minor-league deal.

Tronosco, 29, spent all of 2012 pitching for the Dodgers' AAA club at Alburquerque and struggled, posting a 6.67 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.

His performances have digressed since 2009, when he was 5-4 with a 2.72 ERA over 73 relief appearances for the Dodgers.

The signing was reported by Baseball America.

White Sox ticket sale dates info

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Here is the White Sox' press release on ticket sale dates:

The White Sox announced "Pick 14" ticket plans for the 2013 season will go on sale to the public Wednesday, November 28 at 11 a.m. on whitesox.com or by calling 312-674-1000.

Fans who purchased "Pick 7" or "Pick 14" plans in 2012 will have the opportunity to purchase the ticket packages earlier - on Monday, November 26 at 11 a.m. Pick 7 ticket plans will be available for purchase in mid December with details to follow.

The Pick 14 plan features tickets to two or more games per month, including Opening Day and one game during the Crosstown Cup Series vs. the Cubs. The 14-game plan offers savings off 2013 individual game ticket prices and reflects a reduction of up to 41 percent off 2012 Pick 14 plan prices, with 2013 plans starting as low as $119.

Individual-game tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale the week of SoxFest, starting with a special online presale for full and split season-ticket holders, as well as those who purchase 14-game ticket plans, on Monday, January 21. Sox Pride Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets during a presale on Tuesday, January 22, while members of the whitesox.com "Black List" will have access on January 23. Individual game tickets will be available for purchase by the public on whitesox.com at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 24. Fans can join the Black List and take advantage of one of the special presales by visiting whitesox.com.

The U.S. Cellular Field Ticket Office will begin selling individual game tickets for the 2013 season on Saturday, January 26 at 10 a.m.

SoxFest 2013, the annual White Sox fan gathering at the Palmer House Hilton, kicks off on Friday, January 25.

White Sox add utility IF-OF Tolleson

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The White Sox have agreed to terms with utility infielder Steve Tolleson on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Tolleson, 29, who played second base, shortstop, third base and left field for the Orioles last season, batted .183 with a game-tying three-run homer against the Phillies' Cliff Lee on June 10. He played in 29 games over four stints with the O's last season. Tolleson played for Oakland in 2010, batting .286 over 53 plate appearances.

Tolleson was said to be a favorite of Orioles manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles reportedly tried to re-sign Tolleson, who was out of options, but he probably liked his chances of sticking with the Sox, who relied on Ray Olmedo as the backup shortstop and utility infielder after Eduardo Escobar was traded for Francisco Liriano in late July.

Tolleson is the son of Wayne Tolleson, who played for the Sox in 1986.


Melvin named AL Manager of Year; Ventura 3rd in voting

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Robin Ventura finished third in voting by baseball writers for American League Manager of the Year, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Tuesday.

Oakland's Bob Melvin won the award after leading the A's to a 94-68 record and the AL West title with the AL's lowest payroll, $55 million.

Baltimore's Buck Showalter was a close second for the award after leading the Orioles to 93 wins and a playoff appearance a year after they lost 93 games.

Ventura managed the White Sox to an 85-77 record and a second-place finish in the AL Central after leading the division for 117 days in his first season.

The former Sox star third baseman, with no managing or coaching experience, was a surprise choice to replace Ozzie Guillen last November, and would have been considered a long shot to be a finalist for the award. Players responded to his calm demeanor, and stars such as Comeback Player of the Year Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy all bounced back from subpar seasons in 2011 with better production in 2012.

Melvin and Showalter were first or second on all 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. Melvin received 16 first-place votes, while Showalter received 12. Ventura received 12 third-place votes.

"I want to congratulate Bob Melvin on winning the award,'' Ventura said in a statement. "Bob and Buck did great jobs this season and both really were deserving. For me to be considered for this award, especially in my first season, is a great honor but really it's more of a reflection on the players and coaches. They put in the hard work from day one of spring training until the last out of the season and made my job easier."

Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals won the NL Manager of the Year award.

Bell blends right in with cohesive White Sox braintrust

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Buddy Bell has been promoted to vice president/assistant general manager for the White Sox on Friday, GM Rick Hahn announced.

Bell, 61, will assist with major-league roster and staffing decisions and undertake amateur and special assignment scouting assignments. He'll keep his current responsibility of overseeing the player development system.

Bell has been with the Sox for nine seasons. He just completed his first as vice president of player development and special assignments. He said he has no aspirations to be a GM.

"I get to help in just about every area of our organization, which I like,'' Bell said. "I'm very lucky.''

A five-time All-Star as a player and a manager with three teams before he came to the Sox organization, Bell's expertise is on the baseball side of management. He said he'll lean on Senior Director of Baseball Operations Dan Fabian to help with the technical end of the job.

"They have all these rules, about waivers for example, but I'm not equipped to do that job the way most assistant GMs are,'' Bell said. "I'm on the baseball end of things.

"I get to help in just about every area of our organization which I like I'm very lucky.''

The Sox chain of command will be different with Hahn in charge but it figures to be cohesive. Hahn, Bell and Robin Ventura are compatible and respectful of each other. In other words, expect fewer skirmishes than what had become the expected norm when Ken Williams was GM and Ozzie Guillen the manager with Hahn in the middle.

"It's been really good,'' Bell said of his relationship with Hahn, who was named GM last Friday. "It's been really easy for a lot of reasons. Rick is very intelligent and a great listener. That helps when you're talking across table to somebody and you're running ideas by him. I've had a great relationship with Rick from the beginning.''

 Before joining the Sox, Bell spent 13 seasons on major-league staffs. He managed the Tigers from 1996-98, the Rockies from 2000-02 and the the Royals from 2005-07. Bell praised the work of first-year manager Robin Ventura and said Ventura's success doesn't suggest anybody without experience going into managing can handle the job.

The Sox had a three-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central in September but finished in second place, three games behind.

"We had a good team and for whatever reason, we never had any real easy games,'' Bell said. "We never had a blowout, so every game was a pressure cooker and mentally that can wear on you with younger guys who've never been there. It was a great experience for our younger guys and that can only make us better. There are some areas hopefully we can shore up.''

The Sox organization meetings begin Saturday in Arizona. The general manager meetings are next week in Palm Springs, Calif.

Among the topics of discussion at the meetings will be the catching and third base positions, with A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis in free agency.

Asked if Brent Morel, the 2012 Opening Day third baseman, will be healthy enough to be considered as an option, Bell said, "We hope he is. When you have a back issue it's hard on you, especially at third base because you're up and down and there are quick moves. And hitting. Hopefully he can get this straightened out.

"Obviously he developed some bad habits because of it. Is he going to break those bad habits he got into mechanically last year.

"Certainly, we're still counting on him to be able to do something for us.''

Buddy Bell named White Sox' assistant GM

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Buddy Bell has been promoted to vice president/assistant general manager for the White Sox on Friday, GM Rick Hahn announced.

Bell, 61, will assist with major-league roster and staffing decisions and undertake amateur and special assignment scouting assignments. He'll keep his current responsibility of overseeing the player development system.

Bell has been with the Sox for nine seasons. He just completed his first as vice president of player development and special assignments. He said he has no aspirations to be a GM.

"I get to help in just about every area of our organization, which I like,'' Bell said. "I'm very lucky.''

A five-time All-Star as a player and a manager with three teams before he came to the Sox organization, Bell's expertise is on the baseball side of management. He said he'll lean on Senior Director of Baseball Operations Dan Fabian to help with some technical aspects of the job.

"They have all these rules, about waivers for example, but I'm not equipped to do that job the way most assistant GMs are,'' Bell said. "I'm on the baseball end of things.

"I get to help in just about every area of our organization which I like I'm very lucky.''

 Before joining the Sox, Bell spent 13 seasons on major-league staffs. He managed the Tigers from 1996-98, the Rockies from 2000-02 and the the Royals from 2005-07. Bell praised the work of first-year manager Robin Ventura and said Ventura's success doesn't suggest anybody without experience going into managing can handle the job.

The Sox had a three-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central in September but finished in second place, three games behind.

"We had a good team and for whatever reason, we never had any real easy games,'' Bell said. "We never had a blowout, so every game was a pressure cooker and mentalyl that can wear on you with younger guys who've never been there. It was a great experience for our younger guys and that can only make us better. There are some areas hopefully we can shore up.''

The Sox organization meetings begin Saturday in Arizona. The general manager meetings are next week in Palm Springs, Calif.

Among the topics of discussion at the meetings will be the catching and third base positions, with A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis in free agency.

Asked if Brent Morel, the 2012 Opening Day third baseman, will be healthy enough to be considered as an option, Bell said, "We hope he is. When you have a back issue it's hard on you, especially at third base because you're up and down and there are quick moves. And hitting. Hopefully he can get this straightened out.

"Obviously he developed some bad habits because of it. Is he going to break those bad habits he got into mechanically last year.

"Certainly, we're still counting on him to be able to do something for us.''

White Sox trade Ken Williams Jr.

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The White Sox traded Kenny Williams Jr. to the Colorado Rockies for first baseman - designated hitter Mark Tracy.

Tracy is the son of former Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who resigned after the season.

Williams Jr. batted .250 with four homers and 30 RBI for AA Birmingham in 2012. Tracy batted .264 with six homers and 24 RBI for Class A Modesto.

Ken Williams' tenure as White Sox general manager came to an end on Friday when he became the team's executive vice president. Rick Hahn moved up from assistant GM to the GM chair.

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