Ozzie wishes Jenks good luck, wants new ring

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Ozzie wishes Jenks good luck, wants new ring

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
Posted 5:11 p.m. Updated 5:52 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO For his 47th birthday, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen got just what he always wanted a half-hour session with local beat writers on top of another half-hour devoted only to Spanish media.

But the Chisox jefe cant be too glum, because he got his birthday presents a couple of months early, in the form of additional provisions for 2011: Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Jesse Crain and Will Ohman.

Im very excited, Guillen said of piloting a team built for October. I was surprised at how aggressive the front office was. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf gave GM Kenny Williams the go-ahead and built a good ballclub. Theyre showing people, especially the fans, how much we want to win.

Guillen isnt merely pleased to have brought back fan favorites Konerko and Pierzynski I thought we were going to lose those guys but in the two major, multiyear additions beyond them.

We got Crain and Dunn, and they are very tough players, he said. I feel very, very good about this club. I love my team. Officially, it doesnt matter what I think about the team, but I love it.

Guillen left his managers office last October after what he admitted was, both professionally and privately, the toughest year of his life expecting a very different look to his 2011 club.

I thought we were going to go with kids, Guillen said. That way my personal thought.

As for whether postseason expectations make for a tougher job for him, Guillen brushed the notion off.

Its always on me, no matter how good we are expected to be, he said. The heat? Every day you manage you will take the heat every day, youre managing in the hot seat, no matter who youre managing or what youre managing. I like challenges, when people put it on my back. Thats exciting.

Guillen mentioned that he had just seen 2011 SoxFest attendees Konerko and Gordon Beckham at U.S. Cellular Field and that both players were very excited to get the season rolling.

WATCH: Beckham enjoys Camp Cora

My job is to try to get those players to do the best they can every day. Thats the easy part, and I dont have any problem with that. But the players are going to dictate how good or bad you are. I will make the same moves and be the same guy, so I dont feel any pressure at all. I manage this club and expect to win every year. Every year your team isnt in the playoffs, its a failure.

Ozzie's State of the Sox

As much as the 2011 White Soxs roster is already locked in, with few positional or pitching staff battles in the offing, in January theres always at least a fair bit of speculating to do over the state of the team.

Closer

Looming biggest on Guillens plate is how to replace departed closer Bobby Jenks. Without a veteran closer imported via trade or signing, the role will fall to one of Chris Sale, Matt Thornton, Crain or Sergio Santos.

WATCH: Thornton wants closer job

Each choice comes with benefits and risks. Primarily, none of the live-armed hurlers has met with consistent success as a closer at the major-league level. Crain has yet to see true success as a closer in spite of pitching his way to the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins in a ninth-inning role. Santos has a closers makeup, but is just one year into his big-league pitching career after being converted from shortstop, and seems the least likely of the four to step into the role. Thornton was terrific all season long in both a setup and closer role, but in the category of aint broke dont fix, hes been perfect for a longer period and made the 2010 All-Star Game as a setup man.

That leaves Sale, who was perfect in three save opportunities in 2010 and in spite of his relative lack of experience and prior pitching career as a starter, could slide right into the role.

Whoever wins out, Guillen will be careful, but decisive, with his decision.

After mentioning in the Spanish media session that we will develop the closer position slowly but we want to have someone decided on by spring training, Guillen was even more adamant in his later session with beat reporters, indicating that its a good thing for the pitcher, knowing what his position is going to be.

Earlier in the offseason, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper indicated he would be OK with a closer by committee, but clearly thats not ideal in anyones eyes. Said Guillen: Were looking to name a closer in spring training and I hope we do.

Guillen and Williams both somewhat surprisingly threw Sale into the mix as the leading candidate to become the new White Sox closer back during Decembers Winter Meetings, and Guillen reiterated on Thursday that hes not afraid of throwing a relatively unproven closer into the role.

Matt Thornton is the guy with experience. You look at Sale and we dont know, Guillen said. We have to wait and see if Jake Peavy is ready. Pitching, Cooper knows that and Kenny has an idea. I feel comfortable either way, but having Sale in the bullpen is a plus.Ozzie Guillen doesn't want to rush Jake Peavy back into the rotation after his surgery to repair a detached latissimus dorsi, what does that mean for Chris Sale? (AP)

Peavys Medical Chart

Guillen claimed to know nothing at all about Jake Peavys readiness for Opening Day and insisted once again that he would not rush the potential ace back from last Julys latissimus dorsi surgery.

Ive got to assume Plan B. Im not going to rush Jake to be ready for Opening Day, Guillen said. Thats not an injury like a broken finger this injury is kind of weird. We shouldnt rush Jake to be ready for the season when we dont have to.

The early word on Peavy is that hes well ahead of schedule, with Cooper reporting to MLB.coms Scott Merkin that hes throwing off of a mound and feeling only normal soreness already.

Absent Peavy, the White Sox appear willing to break camp with Sale or Tony Pena temporarily manning the fifth starters role. Said Guillen: The fifth starter, thats the last guy you worry about because every team has the same problems finding a fifth starter.

The Hot Corner

While every indication from Williams and Guillen was that rookie Brent Morel impressed enough in his September audition to arrive in Arizona as the third-base incumbent, Guillen wouldnt proclaim that on Thursday, indicating that such a statement would be a slap in the face of last years starter, Mark Teahen.

But Guillen acknowledged it might come down to a decision of whether to go in the direction of offense or defense. If the skipper maintains as always he is s steadfast believer in defense, his plaintive comment I love the way Morel plays third base would indicate advantage, Morel.

One thing Guillen doesnt plan on doing is playing games with either player. As soon as the plan is out there, Teahen and Morel will be the first to know, then you media, then the fans, Guillen said. Im not going to keep it a secret all spring and make you guys ask the same question every day. As soon as we find out who its going to be, people will know right away.

Whos on First?

Guillen indicated that Konerko was completely spent at the end of 2010 and will need more time at DH in coming seasons. But according to Guillen, the big boy Dunn has to play first base I dont want to say twice a week or three times a week, but he will be at first base more than people think.

Wither Tank?

The inking of free-agent plum Dunn and the ascendance of Morel seemingly has left Cuban bonus baby Dayan Viciedo out of a position. But Guillen somewhat humorously indicated that a future as a corner infielder was unlikely from the start for Viciedo.

He told bench coach Joey Cora he never played third base in Cuba, but played right field, Guillen said. The only thing is that we have to bring a golf cart to get him into the outfield Im going to ask the commissioner, can we use a golf cart for Viciedo to go to the outfield? because he takes a little while to get to first base and thats just halfway there.

Guillen reported that Viciedo did in take some fly balls at last weeks Camp Cora in Miami. We have to find a way for this kid to play, he said. Right field will be one. Left field, because I dont know how long were going to have Juan Pierre. But Joey told me he was taking fly ballsthats all I know.

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

Dioner Navarro earns his day off, helps White Sox outlast Twins in 10 innings

Dioner Navarro earns his day off, helps White Sox outlast Twins in 10 innings

MINNEAPOLIS -- Dioner Navarro has big plans for his first day off since July 17.

“Sleep -- a lot,” he said.

The catcher ended a stretch of 13 games in 13 days with a one-out RBI double to send the White Sox to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings in front of 27,914 at Target Field. Navarro, who has started 12 of 13 games and finished the July 22nd contest, doubled in Avisail Garcia with one out after the outfielder started the 10th inning with his second double in five trips. David Robertson pitched a perfect 10th to convert his 25th save and snap a three-game losing streak for the White Sox, who are 51-53.

“Dio has had a long run too of games in a row,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s nice to see him get after it. He knew he wasn’t going to be in there (Sunday), so I don’t know if that’s motivation or not. He earned it.”

The White Sox had to overcome a number of mistakes to win for the first time since Tuesday. They committed three errors over two plays in the third inning, blew to a two-run lead when Eduardo Escobar hit a three-run homer off Matt Albers in the eighth inning and survived rookie pitcher Michael Ynoa’s bases-loaded jam with two outs in the ninth.

Pitching for the first time since July 17, Ynoa induced a pop out off Brian Dozier’s bat to end the threat. He earned his first major league victory after Cabrera doubled to left off Fernando Abad. The White Sox tied it at 5 in the top of the ninth on Melky Cabrera’s two-out RBI single off Brandon Kintzler. Tim Anderson, who went 3-for-5, scored the tying run after he doubled with one out.

Justin Morneau doubled, homered and drove in two while Cabrera went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Todd Frazier missed a second straight game with flu-like symptoms and Adam Eaton was held out of the starting lineup to rest several bumps and bruises. Eaton entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 10th inning.

“It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it,” Navarro said about Ynoa, although it could easily have been about the entire team. “He did a great job. He made pitches when he needed it. He got out of the inning, and he kept us in the game.”

[MORE: Chris Sale 'got it all squared' away with White Sox teammates]

Same as he has all month, starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez put the White Sox in prime position to win.

Gonzalez finished an outstanding July by limiting Minnesota to two runs (one earned) and six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He had a 2.50 ERA in six July starts.

With the bullpen still in need of rest, Gonzalez pitched into the seventh inning. Byron Buxton’s RBI groundout made it a 4-2 game. But Gonzalez, who threw 114 pitches, struck out Robbie Grossman with a man on second to end the seventh.

White Sox starting pitchers have a 1.71 ER in the team’s last seven games.

The bullpen hasn’t had as much success.

A day after he took the loss, Dan Jennings, issued a leadoff walk to Joe Mauer in the eighth and recorded an out before he gave way to Albers. Albers walked Dozier before Kurt Suzuki lined out to center.

Escobar ripped the first pitch he saw from Albers, a 93-mph sinker, out to deep right to put the Twins ahead 5-4.

“We have a good squad, things haven’t been going our way but we have to keep grinding,” Gonzalez said. “Some things we can’t control. Our bullpen has been struggling, but it’s part of the game. Alberts made a really good pitch down and sometimes it doesn’t go our way and it’s tough to understand. But that is the way baseball is.”

Adam Eaton: Players at fault if White Sox become sellers at trade deadline

Adam Eaton: Players at fault if White Sox become sellers at trade deadline

MINNEAPOLIS — If the White Sox trade away assets over the next two days, Adam Eaton said the blame is all on the players.

The right fielder, who was held out of Saturday’s game to rest bumps and bruises, said the White Sox have enough talent to be successful in spite of their injuries. Even with an improved roster, the White Sox entered Saturday with 50-53 mark as they’ve been inconsistent all season. While Eaton doesn’t want to see any of his teammates dealt before Monday’s 3 p.m. CST nonwaiver trade deadline, he could understand if they are.

“Oh yeah, and it’s our own fault,” Eaton said. “It’s the players’ fault. We play up to what we’re capable of playing, and it’s not even a discussion. Rick has gotta do what he’s gotta do to put us in the best position to be good now and later. Whatever he has to do, we’ve got to accept it as players because we put ourselves in this position.”

Eaton admitted he wasn’t in a very good mood before Saturday’s contest. He said the team’s losing ways haven’t been enjoyable — “losing sucks, man.” Disappointed with the team’s play since their 23-10 start, Eaton pointed at consistency as the club’s biggest issue. He didn’t cite injuries to a number of key players, including center fielder Austin Jackson and relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam.

“(Injuries are) part of the game,” Eaton said. “It’s no excuse on our end. When one guy goes down the next guy’s gotta pick it up, gotta fall in the line and find a way to get it done in some way, shape or form. I don’t think we lean on that at all as a crutch. We’ve got the talent here in to win, and at the end of the day it’s being consistent and finding a way to get it done day in and day out. Anybody can do it for a month. You’ve got to be consistent. You can’t be too high or be too low or the game will find you and show those inconsistencies.”

Chris Sale 'got it all squared' away with White Sox teammates, coaches

Chris Sale 'got it all squared' away with White Sox teammates, coaches

MINNEAPOLIS — He hasn’t yet made any inroads on the charitable end of the throwback jersey ordeal, but Chris Sale has addressed his teammates and coaches.

The White Sox pitcher said Saturday afternoon he’d look more into a potential charity benefit involving the destroyed 1976 throwback jerseys from a week ago in the near future. As for the more prominent topic, Sale, who is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday in Detroit, said he spoke to the White Sox after Thursday night’s game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"Got it all squared away," Sale said. "Got on the same page. We are back to where we were before, trying to win games. Putting that in the forefront.

"I got my point across. I said the things I wanted to say, and you move forward."

Both Sale and White Sox manager Robin Ventura described the discussion as good and stressed they’re ready to move forward. Sale told MLB.com on Monday he thought Ventura needed to do a better job supporting his players. Asked if they have a good relationship, Ventura said yes but didn’t go into detail about what the two discussed.

"I had a long talk with him," Ventura said. "We continue to move on, and it’s about baseball. That’s part of the professional part of it.

"It was good. I’m not going to get into what we talked about, but we had a long talk and it was good."

Sale said he spoke to everyone individually, including Ventura. He also reiterated he thinks the story has been blown out of proportion.

"I talked to everybody involved personally one on one," Sale said. "Cleared the air, had some good talks. Learned some things. Talked about some things we already knew. It was good. It was very productive.

"I think everyone is making a little bit bigger deal of this. Ten or 15 years ago, this wouldn’t have been a story. There was no such thing as Twitter, and I don’t think as much information leaked out as it does nowadays. It’s just something that people gravitate to. It’s the nature of the beast — I understand that.

"As much as I don’t like it, I can’t be mad it. It is what it is. You move forward and keep a positive mind frame and come in every day with the same mindset."

As for the jerseys and their future, Sale said he plans to determine the best way to proceed forward when the team returns home from this eight-game road trip. He credits his wife, Brianne, for the suggestion that some good come from an incident that resulted in his five-game suspension.

"She’s the smart one in the house apparently," Sale said. "She brought it up, and it came to my attention it could be possible. So any time something bad happens like what happened, you always try to find something positive. If we can make a positive out of negative, it’s perfect. Works out well."