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.

White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox have no plans for Tim Anderson to take the same path as the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber.

An hour before the Cubs announced their shocking news Thursday that the World Series hero is headed to Triple-A, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he thought Anderson’s struggles could be addressed in the majors.

Playing in his first full season, Anderson has had an up and down campaign. He leads the majors with 16 errors committed and has struggled at the plate, hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 265 plate appearances. The roller coaster ride has led to some aggravation for Anderson, who slammed his batting helmet in frustration during Wednesday’s loss. Anderson said the helmet slam was the topic of a postgame conversation he had with Renteria on Wednesday.

“I feel like this year has been the toughest year I’ve dealt with since I’ve started playing baseball,” Anderson said. “I have to keep playing, lock in and control it.

“(Slamming the helmet) doesn’t make you feel better. It’s just a little frustration. You get mad at times, but you just try to control it and keep playing.”

Anderson, who turns 24 on Friday, has had a lot to manage in 2017.

It’s his first full season in the majors. He signed a contract extension in March. Since May he’s been dealing with the loss of his close friend, who was shot to death. Throw in the on-field struggles and Renteria realizes there’s a lot with which Anderson had to deal.

“You just make the sure the perspective they’re having at any particular moment is the correct perspective,” Renteria said. “You try to make sure that the underlying frustrations he might be having, that he’s able to separate it.

“You have ups and down, they’re not always going to be in the best place mentally at times. But for the most part you address it, you talk about it because you understand it, you’ve lived all those things and you just try to give him a little insight and keep it going in the right direction.”

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Anderson made a pair of miscues in a costly third-inning Twins rally on Wednesday night.

But Renteria expressed his confidence in the second-year player, calling him one of the premier shortstops in the league.

The White Sox manager has seen Anderson make the necessary corrections after infield work with bench coach Joe McEwing. The effort and preparation have been there. Renteria just wants to make sure his player can compartmentalize and stay focused. He realizes there’s going to be mistakes from time to time and wants to make sure Anderson is handling them well.

“To say he’s not going to continue to make mistakes every now and then, yeah that’s going to happen,” Renteria said. “It’s there for everybody to see. That’s why everybody takes notice and that’s natural. I think the one thing we have to do as a staff and players also is step back and stay away from the fray of that attention and stay focused on what you have to do. Minimize how all the noise affects you and continue to play the game.”

Renteria remembers his own struggles as a young player and knows how much more scrutiny Anderson faces. Every game is televised and highlights are streamed on the internet. Any little gaffe can be magnified. Anderson admits that at times he’s dealt with frustration he’s never before experienced and it’s caught up to him. Now he just needs to learn how to cope with the stress a little better.

“Nobody wants to go through tough times and struggle,” Anderson said. “Slamming helmets is not the right way to go about it because you could get injured, so try to handle it in a better way.

“It’s been tough times and a lot of frustration, but I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does. I try to balance it out and keep going.

“I’m just trying to manage it, balance it out and separate it from each other.”

Jose Berrios gave the Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now

Jose Berrios gave the Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now

MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Berrios gave the Minnesota Twins exactly what the White Sox could use most right now on Wednesday night: a deep, dominant outing.

The young Twins pitcher overcame a slow start to deliver eight sharp innings as the struggling White Sox fell 4-2 in front of 33,316 at Target Field. Starter David Holmberg lasted only 3 1/3 innings for the White Sox, losers of three straight. It was the 23rd time in 28 games a White Sox starter has failed to deliver a quality start.

“These guys are trying to give us length,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It just hasn’t happened. I get it. I don’t anticipate that’s what’s going to continue to happen as we move forward. I don’t think anybody could sustain over a long haul using your starters for three or four innings. It’s impossible. You would wear out your arms in the pen. Today we were fortunate in that we just used two guys for quite a few innings and outs. … They did a very nice job. That type of work is unsustainable.”  

There are many reasons why the White Sox rotation has struggled through the first 70 games of the season. Injuries to four starters is the most significant factor, the biggest being to Carlos Rodon. The White Sox were hopeful their third-year starter would step into the rotation and deliver 33 starts and 200 innings. But Rodon is only now nearing a potential return to the majors and his first start of the season after he went on the disabled list in March with bursitis in his left shoulder. James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez and Dylan Covey, who originally replaced Rodon, have also been placed on the DL.

While replacements Mike Pelfrey and Holmberg have pitched well enough, neither starter has gone deep into games. The pair is averaging 5 1/3 innings in 16 starts with two six-inning performances by Pelfrey marking the longest efforts to date.

Combine those figures with the inconsistent performances of Derek Holland and Jose Quintana and you have a White Sox bullpen working overtime.

Holmberg limited the Twins to a run through the first two innings. But a combination of hard-hit balls — four straight registered at 95 mph or better to start the inning — and shoddy defense helped Minnesota pull ahead for good in the third.

Miguel Sano blasted a game-tying solo shot, Max Kepler singled in a run and Ehire Adrianza’s fielder’s choice brought in another as the Twins made it 4-2. Mixed in was a Tim Anderson error, a liner that Jose Abreu didn’t catch and a bobbled turn of a potential inning-ending double play by Anderson.

Holmberg recorded only 10 outs before he gave way to Gregory Infante and Michael Ynoa, who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

“Feel like I got behind a couple guys, had to make a pitch a few times,” Holmberg said. “Labored through some innings. I would have like to get some quick outs and gone a little deeper into the game.

“Ultimately it’s up to Ricky. He’s going to do what’s best for the team. But that goes hand in hand with performance. We get some quick outs, quicker through the order, that’ll tie in.”

The White Sox scored in the first and third innings against Berrios before he began to find a rhythm. In the first, Avisail Garcia singled in Alen Hanson, who led off the game with a walk, to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then in the third, Melky Cabrera grounded into a double play to score Adam Engel, who started the inning with a double.

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But that was all the White Sox would get against Berrios, who has allowed 34 hits in 54 innings this season. Berrios retired 14 of 15 hitters after Hanson singled in the third inning. The only man to reach was Garcia on an error in the fourth inning.

Berrios didn’t allow another hit until Omar Narvaez singled to start the eighth inning. He allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.

It was a performance of which the White Sox are desperately in need. Through 70 games, the team’s rotation has also only had a pitcher go at least seven innings eight times. Jose Quintana was the last to do so on Friday. Before that it was Gonzalez on May 28. Over their last 28 games, White Sox starters are averaging a tick over 4 2/3 innings.  

Renteria is confident the trend will turn. Quintana starts on Thursday and has been good in two of his last three outings. Shields just returned from the DL and Rodon is right around the corner, if he stays on track. But Renteria also knows his bullpen can’t keep this up and hope to remain effective.

“It’s not sustainable,” Renteria said. “It just isn’t.”