Ozzie-Kenny 2011: Summer of Love starts now

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Ozzie-Kenny 2011: Summer of Love starts now

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
8:06 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

In direct contrast to the stormy 2010 season that both men now admittedly regret, Fridays State of the Sox session from Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams could be described as nothing short of a lovefest.

The frank and honest session opened to a rousing ovation, after Williams announced that just minutes earlier he had told Guillen that the club was picking up the managers option for 2012, keeping the White Soxs third-winningest manager (career record: 600-535) in town for at least two more years.

Hopefully I manage here for the rest of my career, Guillen said, recounting that when he called his wife, Ibis, with the news, she started crying. Its what Ive always wanted.

Williams, after cracking a joke about whether Ibis was crying tears of joy or sadness, tossed out a tantalizing bon mot.

Providing we can get back to basics and focus, Williams said, I hope to extend Ozzie for the rest of his and my career.

After the seminar, Williams expounded on Guillens future in Chicago.

We have to sit down and we all have to talk about it, he said. What wed like to ultimately do is make sure were all on the same page, traveling down the same course and some of the other, peripheral things are no longer factors. Ive got confidence in every one of these coaches, but this was the first order of business. Now we have to take care of the next set of business winning.

Williams insisted that while he feels his tombstone will read, just one more move to make, and that his roster is never set, for the time being hes content with the 2011 White Sox.

I kind of like where we are, he said. I don't want to subtract from the team. Any deal will have to come from our depth in the minors.

The closest the seminar came to teeth-grinding came after a fan asked about the Twins, specifically the cowering the White Sox do at the hands of Minnesota. As Williams bit his tongue the triumphs of the Twins are more vexing than any to him Guillen responded with characteristic frankness.

While sympathetic to the fan, he said the Jim Thome game-winning home run off Matt Thornton and the Sunday, fall-from-ahead, getaway loss to end that first series after the All-Star break were the two toughest losses of the season, Guillen said his job was harder, because he had to fly to Kansas City after that game with his team.

The plane was silent, Guillen said, noting that the postgame celebration from Minnesota really irritated him and stuck with him all season long. Those two games crushed the ballclub.

As the session wore on, the rapport between Guillen and Williams got more and more relaxed as well. Near its end, Guillen recounted one of his two crazy moves in 2010, and Williams interrupted you made more than two crazy moves.

Other highlights from the State of the Sox seminar:

Jarred by the sight of a half-empty room, someone in the crowd said that it was because fans instead chose to attend Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko autograph sessions. Guillen: I dont blame them."When the first fan question involved the White Sox offense and involved calling ex-White Sox player Nick Swisher a tool, Guillen leaned over to get explanation of the term from Williams, then broke into a smile.Both men stood steadfastly behind mercurial outfielder Carlos Quentin. Guillen repeated his comments to Spanish media on Thursday, that Quentin is the key to the White Sox. Williams called Quentin a Sportscenter guy, explaining that he didnt want to trade Quentin and then have to be haunted by nightly highlights of him playing well for another team.Guillen offered a bizarre explanation of why hes always changing his cell phone number, to which Williams retorted, Como se dice too much information? Soon thereafter, the GM led a rousing serenade of Happy Birthday in honor of Guillens 47th birthday, celebrated on Thursday.Guillen on shortstop Alexei Ramirezs slow starts: When youre from Cuba, 60 degrees is like negative-2. The jefe added that he felt Ramirez was the best shortstop in the American League, and that Ramirez and second baseman Gordon Beckham will be the best double-play combination in baseball.Andruw Jones was on Williams radar, but the team (finally) ran out of money.Williams was excited to recount a mammoth home run hit in Atlanta by Adam Dunn, but Guillen earned some laughs by telling his boss, I dont care how far he hits oneI want Dunn to hit 50 short homers. Also from Ozzie: One thing people overlook about Dunn is he hits to the opposite field hes going to be fun to watch."When a fan started a question with Manny Ramirez, Williams immediately blurted, sorry! to great laughter and applause. Fan: apology accepted.Before giving him a chance to answer a question about the 2011 AL Central competition, Williams put the hammer down: Dont say anything that could go national.Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Miguel Gonzalez can't stop two-out rallies as White Sox fall to Oakland

Miguel Gonzalez can't stop two-out rallies as White Sox fall to Oakland

GLENDALE, Ariz. — His split-fingered fastball could use a little work, but Miguel Gonzalez is ready for the regular season.

The White Sox pitcher allowed four earned runs, all with two outs, in his penultimate Cactus League start on Wednesday. Gonzalez also gave up nine hits as the White Sox lost to the Oakland A’s 5-3 at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm pretty excited for (the regular season)," Gonzalez said. "We all know that spring can be a little long sometimes. But we are here, we are here to work and keep doing what we are doing. We are going to be OK."

Gonzalez allowed two runs each in the first and second innings. Both rallies came with two outs and were a bit of a surprise to the right-hander, who left after 4 1/3 innings. Gonzalez wonders if his split-fingered fastball might not be as sharp as normal because of the dry desert air in Arizona that affects many pitchers.

"It wasn't there today," Gonzalez said. "Not quite as good as I thought it would be. Bullpen I felt really good. Falling behind hitters first two innings. That doesn't really help you, especially a team like this that's very aggressive.

"I'm working on (the splitter). It's fine. I mean it's a little different then it is in Florida. It's not as humid. But you can't think that way. You have to go out there and keep working."

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Melky Cabrera went 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the White Sox. Yolmer Sanchez tripled and homered in the loss. Former White Sox farmhand Frankie Montas struck out four over two scoreless innings to earn the save for Oakland.

The White Sox sent four more players to minor league camp before the game, including reliever Tommy Kahnle. The team sent five players to the minors on Tuesday, including pitcher Carson Fulmer. While Fulmer would love to start the season in the majors, he said it won't hinder him from taking advantage of his time at Triple-A Charlotte.

"Obviously last year getting a taste, it's that dream you've had since you were a kid," Fulmer said. "You want more of it. It's not an addiction in a way. But once you get a taste of it you want more of it. All of us young guys are trying to get back to where we've been. I think time will tell, but I think we'll get a chance here soon and get a chance to create something special."

Team USA captures first World Baseball Classic championship

Team USA captures first World Baseball Classic championship

For the first time in the history of the World Baseball Classic, the United States of America walked away champions.

Team USA bested Puerto Rico in blowout fashion on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, winning the championship game by an 8-0 score at Dodger Stadium.

White Sox relief pitchers David Robertson and Nate Jones were part of the championship-winning American roster. Robertson pitched in Wednesday's game, closing things out with a scoreless ninth inning.

Cubs infielder Javy Baez came up short as a member of the Puerto Rican team. Baez went 0-for-3 with a strikeout on Wednesday.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman dominated the Puerto Rican lineup, pitching six no-hit innings before surrendering the first hit in the seventh inning.

The Americans crossed home plate eight times on the night, getting a two-run home run from Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler and two-run hits from Christian Yelich and Brandon Crawford. Andrew McCutchen also drove in two, and Kinsler and Nolan Arenado scored two runs apiece.

The Puerto Ricans mustered just three hits.

This was the first time the United States even advanced to the championship game in the four times the event has been staged. It's just the second top-four finish for the Americans. They finished fourth in 2009.