Axelrod takes the mound vs. Blue Jays on CSN

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Axelrod takes the mound vs. Blue Jays on CSN

Monday, Sept 26, 2011
Posted: 10:29 a.m.

Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays will be without their manager and the majors' home run leader when they open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

Toronto can finish with a winning record for the fifth time in six years with two wins this week, however, the Blue Jays (80-79) expect to be without Jose Bautista, who suffered a knee bruise in Sunday's 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

Bautista, who leads the majors with 43 homers and is hitting .305, was chasing a fly ball in the first inning when his knee made contact with a corner of the padded doorway. He fell to the ground and was down for several minutes, but stayed in before leaving in the sixth.

"We feel like we dodged a bullet," manager John Farrell said. "It could have been something much more severe."

Farrell will also miss Monday's game for personal reasons while Colby Rasmus, who was a late scratch with flulike symptoms Sunday, is uncertain.

The team could have Adam Lind back after he missed the last three games following the birth of his child.

Also playing out the schedule is Chicago (77-82), which lost two of three to Kansas City over the weekend and is assured of its third losing season in five years.

The disappointing season has cast doubt over manager Ozzie Guillen's future with the club. He has publicly asked for an extension of his contract, but the team has been silent.

"I'm not here for stats, I'm here to win divisions," Guillen said. "As soon as they put the 'X' next to me, I'm done. That was my goal and I couldn't capture my goal."

Chicago had six hits in Sunday's 2-1 loss, but stranded seven. Adam Dunn went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .161 with 172 strikeouts.

Dunn needs 13 plate appearances in the final three games to finish with the worst qualifying batting average in big league history, surpassing Rob Deer's .179 mark in 1991. Dunn went 1 for 14 with eight strikeouts in a series against Toronto in May.

The Blue Jays won the final three games of that four-game set, and have won 21 of 27 against the White Sox overall.

Toronto sends Dustin McGowan (0-1, 6.35 ERA) to the mound for his fourth start of the season.

McGowan gave up two runs and struck out eight in five innings of a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

"It was good," said McGowan, who is coming back from two shoulder surgeries. "It seems to get better every time. Just pounded the zone. Avoided the walk which kind of killed me in other starts."

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA against the White Sox, last facing them in 2008.

Chicago will counter with Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 4.26), who is making his third major league start and fourth appearance.

Axelrod allowed four runs, four walks and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win at Cleveland on Tuesday.

He limited Detroit to two runs and six hits over six innings on Sept. 14 in his only start at U.S. Cellular Field.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”