Big Hurt Speaks Candidly on Dye, Steroids, Sosa

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Big Hurt Speaks Candidly on Dye, Steroids, Sosa

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
4:42 PM

On the day that Frank Thomas announced his retirement from baseball, he almost overshadowed himself by disclosing the stunning news of another former White Sox player who might retire right behind him.

Jermaine Dye.

Thomas spent time with Dye last week in Las Vegas, and during our interview following his retirement press conference, Thomas revealed to Comcast SportsNet that Dye is pretty sad about still being unsigned, and said Jermaine is prepared to retire if the right opportunity doesnt present itself.

Thats what he told me and I told him he was crazy, Thomas said. Hes 36 years-old, but hes at peace. If he has to retire, hes going to retire, because he cant see himself going somewhere where he wont be happy and not get what he deserves.

Dye, who made 11.5 million with the White Sox in 2009, reportedly turned down a 3.3 million offer from the Cubs last month to be their fourth outfielder. His name has been attached to the Braves, Indians, and Tigers. But his age, terrible second half in 09 (.179 batting average), plus the perception that his skills have diminished in the outfield are proving to be quite an obstacle.

Before making his own decision to retire, Thomas told CSN on Friday that the only team I really wanted to play for (in 2010) was the White Sox again. That was it. And now that Thomas has officially closed that door, hed like to see the Sox open it for Dye.

To be honest, I wish the White Sox would bring him back because I still think hed be a great asset to the team. Hes such a lovable guy. Hopefully, hell be back in this organization before he has to go someplace where he really doesnt want to go.

Big Franks frank comments werent limited to Dye. He also opened up on a more controversial topic:

Steroids.

When I asked if it made him angry watching guys like McGwire and Bonds shatter the record books with their bloated bodies during the height of the steroid era, Thomas chose a different word.

Im not going to call it anger. It was more like Aha! Im killing myself in the weight room and these guys are hitting the ball further than me. Now I know. Im not going to hold it against anyone, but man I did a hell of a job keeping up with those guys. Thats the way I look at it. What would Frank Thomas have been like if he was on that stuff? Its one of those things that Im damn proud of. I did it the right way and I dont have to worry about cameras or the media looking for me, asking me questions because Im here to answer them all.

One player who hasnt been as forthcoming is Thomas former White Sox teammate Sammy Sosa, whose career happened to explode at the same time that his body did while playing for the Cubs.

Do you think Sosa is doing an injustice by not coming forward?

Im going to leave that up to Sammy, Thomas said. Ive got respect for him. He was a teammate of mine for three-and-a-half years, but we all know something wasnt right. Hes a hell of a guy, and I hope one day that we all get the truth.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."