Garcia hopes to remain a Good Guy in Black

Garcia hopes to remain a Good Guy in Black

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
11:50 PM

By Brett Ballantini

Uncertain were the first words out of Chicago starter Freddy Garcias mouth after what might have been his final start with the White Sox:

Hopefully this is not my last month with the Black and White, Garcia said. But Im really happy with the way I pitched tonight. I dont know. We got second place, at least.

Garcia indeed ensured Chicago of second place with one of his strongest starts of the season in his supposed swan song, running perfectly through a first run of the Boston Red Sox order and surrendering just four hits and two earned runs on the night. The win raised Garcias comeback season record to 12-6, with an additional four wins withered by the White Sox bullpen. The veterans ERA finishes at a healthy 4.64 but he logged the second-best quality starts percentage among Chisox starters, at 64 percent.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is close to Garcia and has buoyed him with praise all season long. Postgame Wednesday was no different.

I owe my family a few dollars: I was betting hed be out and wed have to give Garcia a little rest, and he proved me wrong, Guillen said. He should feel proud: Hes worked so hard over the last couple of years and given himself an opportunity to compete. The way he competed, he can go home and have a great winter, because he worked hard.

Garcia returned the affection.

I like it here, he said. Ozzie is a great man, a good friend. Were like family. But whatever happens, happens. Its baseball business. You got to go with the flow.

Garcia acknowledged his hard work as well, after logging his 28th start of the season, fourth on the staff but just four behind starts leader Mark Buehrle.

This year was big for me, Garcia said. The last two years, I wasnt pitching. I got surgery and came back this year to almost throw 160 innings 157 Hopefully everything works out for us.

Garcias comeback struck particularly close to home with Guillen, given his return from a career-threatening knee injury in 1993.

In this game, as soon as you get hurt once, they tag you, no matter how many years youve been playing, Guillen said. I use myself as an example: Everything was so easy for me, like Freddy, and suddenly so many people have doubts about how much time youre going to put in to come back. When I got hurt, I played full seasons after that, and I always had to hear it would be my last year in baseball. You have to prove people wrong, day-in and day-out. To have worked so hard and gotten what he did, thats amazinga great accomplishment.

Guillen has made no bones about wanting Garcia to return to the White Sox, along with all his longtime veterans (including Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski). But Garcia knows that the White Sox project at least six-deep in the starting rotation for 2011, not including him.

I have no idea about a return, well see after the season, Garcia said. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully, I come back. Id like to come back here. I love it here. Its a great city, a great team.

Guillen recalled Garcias shaky start in spring training, which might well have been the key to his strong 2010 regular season.

When we started spring training, Garcias first outing they scored like 13 runs and the second they scored 20, and we had a meeting, Guillen said. GM Kenny Williams said, I dont worry about Freddy. I know what were going to get. Next. When the general manager says that, its a vote of confidence. Most of the time what we say in that meeting room stays in that room, but this time I told Freddy how much confidence Kenny had in him, and he came back to be one of the more consistent pitchers we had.

A lot of people talk about John Danks and Gavin Floyd, but the best pitcher we had every five days was Freddy.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success


White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success

In our next installment of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien is joined by Chris Kamka and Slavko Bekovic to discuss how White Sox fans are dealing with success on the North Side.

Later, White Sox fan and CSN producer Ryan McGuffey talks about his experience producing Cubs content. Finally, Cubs fan Nate Poppen shares his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky wearing a Steve Bartman jersey to the United Center before a Bulls-Hornets preseason game.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here:

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

Statistical analysis will weigh more heavily on the White Sox coaching staff’s daily decisions after Joe McEwing was elevated to Rick Renteria’s bench coach on Friday.

McEwing -- whose influence led to a 957 percent increase in defensive shifts utilized from 2013-16 -- replaces Renteria, who was named the team’s new manager on Oct. 3 after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return.

Former player development director Nick Capra replaces McEwing as third-base coach while Curt Hasler was promoted from minor-league pitching coordinator to replace bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen.

McEwing’s promotion is another sign the franchise will stress the use of statistical analysis when constructing its lineup, etc., a move Ventura suggested was in progress when he said the White Sox needed a new voice. Renteria likes how he worked with McEwing last season and suggested analysis would have a big impact on their day-to-day operations.

“All the information that is provided to us plays an important part in how we move forward,” Renteria said. “We look at outcomes, which are the statistical analysis aspects. But then we are also trying to stay ahead of the curve. We do a lot of video work, trying to see if guys are changing their approaches. In terms of the shifts, we did incorporate shifts, but we also did some modifications as was to be expected when you see guys changing approaches with two strikes and things of that nature or runners in scoring position -- all those different aspects that come into play.”

Similar to many organizations, the White Sox have drastically modified how they align themselves defensively over the past four seasons under McEwing and general manager Rick Hahn. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox went from being ranked 27th in shifts implemented in 2013 to ninth by 2014 with an increase from 102 to 588. The White Sox shifted 1,079 times last season and McEwing has been instrumental in that transformation, several team sources said. It’s reasonable to expect analysis will be used more often in lineup construction and game strategy under Renteria, too. He didn’t shy away from the use of statistical analysis when he managed on the other side of town in 2014, Cubs third-base coach Gary Jones said last week.

“It’s part of our daily preparation,” Jones said. “Rick is good with it as we are right now. It was definitely a part of the equation, no doubt.”

[RELATED: White Sox announce coaching staff changes] 

Renteria cited familiarity when asked why he didn’t go outside of the organization for coaching staff hires. McEwing has long been held in high regard within the franchise and interviewed for managerial openings in Houston and Texas in 2014. Renteria suggested McEwing’s work ethic -- and how he works -- had a big impact on his promotion.

“Having sat side by side (with McEwing) going over a lot of game reviews and studying the opposition and setting up defense, I got to know him quite well,” Renteria said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s in there early looking for anything that will give us an edge. His managing experience and coaching experience also allows him an opportunity to be able to serve me well.

“It’s a good fit. We both are kind of high energy. Joey might be a little higher energy than me and I didn’t think that was possible. He brings a lot to the table.”

The White Sox announced the rest of its staff -- first-base coach Daryl Boston, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks and bullpen catcher Mark Salas -- would return in 2017.