No secret about it: White Sox want to lock up Youkilis

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No secret about it: White Sox want to lock up Youkilis

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rick Hahn reiterated Friday morning he wants free agent third baseman Kevin Youkilis to return to the White Sox.

The White Sox general manager noted his preference for Youkilis and discussed several other topics before he departed the GM meetings on his way home to Chicago after a busy week in the Southwest.

While he acknowledged the team has internal options -- though a team source indicated Dayan Viciedo returning to third base from the outfield is less than ideal -- Hahn signaled he has also explored several external solutions.

Hahn plans to continue discussions with Youkilis agent, Joe Bick, as well as further explore potential trades.

Youkilis, who had 15 homers and 46 RBIs after he came over in a June 24 trade from the Boston Red Sox, is the top third baseman available on the free agent market and could command a deal out of the clubs price range.

Theres obviously external options in the free agent market, such as Youkilis, who weve made no secret about and continue to have interest in, Hahn said. Well continue to have dialogue with and theres a handful of trade ideas that were bandying about here.

Hahns comments arrived one day after four other MLB executives said they believe the club is open to dealing Viciedo, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza and Gavin Floyd in order to fill its needs.

Hahn believes he and his front office successfully laid the groundwork for several avenues the past few days and plans to take time to evaluate them. Just which direction the White Sox will go to fill the vacancy is up in the air with Hahn suggesting Thursday the South Siders could be involved in a potential three-way trade or none at all.

Those revelations arrived at the end of a week that began in Glendale, Ariz. as Hahn, executive vice president of baseball operations Kenny Williams, owner Jerry Reinsdorf and others held organizational meetings from Saturday through Monday.

Though he felt his 12 years alongside Williams has him prepared for his new title, Hahn, who was named GM on Oct. 26, admits there are still some aspects which have required an adjustment.

The last two weeks has been a little bit of a blur, Hahn said. Kenny had said over the years You never really know what its like until youre sitting there and youre the one that has to make the final decision on a trade and how that feels. And obviously Ive had friends from other clubs who have moved up to the GM role and heard from them about how the transition is difficult to describe until youre actually sitting there and actually doing it. Im not shocked by it, but I get what theyre saying now.

So how long might it be before Hahn pulls the trigger on a deal with significant impact on the 25-man roster? Perhaps one isnt too far down the road, though Hahn said hes still not certain he wants to break up what could be a strong 2013 starting rotation by trading away Floyd or another starter.

Theres no magic timing, but certainly its conceivable something happens in the coming weeks, Hahn said. Although we have pitching depth, and that makes us somewhat popular within the game as a potential trade partner, were only going to use that if we feel like we arent compromising our ability to compete in 13.

CSNChicago.coms Patrick Mooney contributed to this story.

Rick Renteria's morning meetings a hit with White Sox players

Rick Renteria's morning meetings a hit with White Sox players

MESA, Ariz. -- Zack Collins talked about fishing to a roomful of teammates in Monday's morning meeting in what has become a staple of many spring training clubhouses.

The White Sox catching prospect and several others young players addressed a room full of players, coaches and staff to discuss what they believe to be the best fishing lures and reels. The presentation is part of a series of team-building exercises newly incorporated by manager Rick Renteria that has ties to methods long used by Los Angeles Angels skipper Mike Scioscia that have been passed down over the years.

The goal is simple: bring together a room full of unfamiliar players through a series of off-beat productions to break up the monotony of the daily meetings.

"They're good," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "They're upbeat. It's bringing the team closer together. Just some fun stuff going on and Rick knows what he's doing. There's a method to his madness. You're getting all these young guys to step out of their comfort zone and it makes for a fun morning.

"It makes for a good morning right before we go out and stretch and get after it. Kind of breaks everything down and makes everything better."

Renteria is the latest manager to employ the technique in a tree with branches attached to Scioscia. Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black has featured sessions ranging from basketball skills contests to fly fishing competitions from the outset of his tenure as manager of the San Diego Padres in 2007. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, a member of Scioscia's staff from 2000-05, started his own variation in Tampa Bay that now includes magic shows and petting zoos, among others.

Renteria worked with Black in San Diego for six seasons and has added his own wrinkle.

This spring's adaptations from White Sox camp have included Collins' fishing lesson, acting from pitcher Lucas Giolito (whose family includes Hollywood actors and directors) and a WWE impersonation by reliever Tommy Kahnle, who walked into the clubhouse dressed as The Ultimate Warrior.

"They are getting to connect in different ways," Renteria said. "But that's what anybody does. You just try to help your club bond, get to know each other as quickly as possible and then they go out there and play.

"The more comfortable you feel within the environment and with your working, obviously when you go out into the field, it makes it a little easier. A lot of the things we talk about in there are just relaxing, staying focused, playing the game and having fun, preparing, knowing that their preparation is going to be useful in their ability to go out and do their job on any given day. They have been a lot of fun."

They've also been helpful for the younger players and a clubhouse full of new faces. Of the 61 players in White Sox camp, 27 weren't in camp last spring, including seven of the club's eight top prospects. Giolito said the uncomfortable nature of performing for teammates makes it easier for players to communicate with each other afterward.

"One of the best things about it is it puts you out of your comfort zone," Giolito said. "You're making new friends, you're working with new guys and you're doing something that you're not really comfortable doing, which our presentation was acting, trying to be funny, obnoxious. Other guys might have to do research projects. They might have to interview other players about their life. It kind of gets everyone closer and involved. Coming out of your comfort zone is huge because it opens you up to new experiences and kind of makes you a better person in a way, not just a better player."

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

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Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI.