Love is in the air: Ozzie endorses Kenny

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Love is in the air: Ozzie endorses Kenny

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 10:15 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
KANSAS CITY When Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says he and GM Ken Williams are fine and dandy, two peas in a pod, no one really believes him.

Well, on Thursday in Kansas City, Guillen put his money where his mouth is and directly endorsed the job the longtime White Sox executive has done with the teameven in this, a crushingly disappointing season of All-In teasing. In his most direct comments all year, Guillen said Williams should absolutely return as the teams GM.

I dont see why nothe did a good job, Guillen said. One thing about it, all the people in Chicago are going to blame Kenny for a disappointing 2011. But I remember when we made this club, everybody was excited. Dont turn your back on the man now. Dont do that Dont turn on Kenny people in Chicago, dont do that. I remember in spring training, people were very excited about this ballclub. Why are we going to turn on a guy now, when he did what hes supposed to do?

Back in August, Williams took the heat for a poorly executing, big-budget roster and cleared Guillen of any lineup anxiety by telling his manager to field the most deserving players, without regard to salary or experiencetacit endorsement of benching Alex Rios and Adam Dunn. Now, it was Guillens turn to return the favor.

I took the blame yesterday, Guillen mused. They gave me a good club to manage. We havent played well, and we have to blame who? Pitchers, catchers, hitters. Blame the team, but Im the one running this club.

Guillen went so far as to advise angry fans to reconsider, and reverse course.

Dont turn on Kenny and Jerry Reinsdorf, Guillen advised. People should at least say thank you to Kenny and Jerry. They put the money out there and brought the players. I dont think people should talk badly about Kenny Williams and this club. Talk about me? Yes. Talk about the team? Yes.

Kenny did everything he could to field a good club, and I know how hard it was to put this club together, convincing the big guy Reinsdorf. Dont blame Kenny. Kenny is doing a good job. Since I worked here, I dont say hes a bad general manager. Hes deserved and earned it a return, but thats Jerrys call.
"Kenny did everything he could to field a good club.-- Ozzie Guillen.
Its tempting to say that an endorsement of Williams is self-serving on Guillens part, as after all the GM hired Guillen, and this late-season praise could even be seen as sucking up to the boss. But White Sox fans know their manager well enough to realize that such is not the caseGuillen truly does see his job as being in Reinsdorfs hands, that he is in a unique position of being below Williams on the organizational chart put even with him in the eyes of the owner.

Not that Ozzie is looking to be a GM any time soon.

I always say Ive done a lot of things in this game, but I could never be a GM (or an owner, because I dont have the money and people arent going to trust me and loan money to me), Guillen smiled. But thats why its not an easy gig. Williams put the people there, they didnt perform, and you have to take the heat The reason Im still here because Kenny and Jerry have given me good clubs to compete with.

"If I finished last every year, then I would have been out of here a long time ago. The reason Im here is because theyve given me a good ballclubs to compete with.

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

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.