Rickety run to finish line for a number of White Sox

Rickety run to finish line for a number of White Sox

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
10:38 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND There was good news and bad news on the White Sox injury front on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the word on the injured members of the Chicago core wasnt all that good.

Gordon Beckham tried to cautiously work himself back into playing shape by taking some flips rather than live batting practice and had to cut his session short after just a few swings. His discomfort is great enough that the remainder of the road trip and the final White Sox homestand of the season (beginning next Monday) is in clear jeopardy.

Its not good news about Gordon, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Its still sore. He said he tried to swing the bat and nothing was going for him. We still have to continue his treatment, and when hes ready to play well figure it out.

While Guillen wouldnt shut the door on a return by Beckham, he was frank in hoping he would bow out of the final games of the season, saying so directly.

I wouldnt mind him shutting it down, Guillen continued. We have a couple of guys who can play second.

Gavin Floyd, who left Mondays start after just nine pitches with soreness in the back of his shoulder, was wrapped with ice before Tuesdays warm-up but had removed it in time for the team stretch.

While Floyd indicated he felt increasing pain when his arm was extended on pitches Monday night, he didnt realize his reaction right before he left the game: When Rajai Davis fouled a pitch behind the plate, Floyd threw his arm up to help catcher A.J. Pierzynski locate the popup.

I dont remember doing that, Floyd told me after the game.

The significance here is that Floyd being able to raise his arm to point out a foul might eliminate the possibility of Floyds injury being rotator cuff-related.

The best news with regard to White Sox injuries came from Freddy Garcia, who took time right after his side session to talk to CSNChicago.com about how it went. Even Guillen, who said that hopefully everything went well a half-hour later in his pregame session, wasnt immediately aware of the outcome.

I still feel it, Garcia said of the back pain that has reduced his September to two aborted starts and six innings pitched. But Im better.

Garcia expressed confidence hed be pitching again this season. Its important to get out for one or two more starts.

Its clear that while his back pain was serious enough to necessitate an epidural and throw his season into jeopardy, the pain is all relative to Garcia, who has revitalized his career with his 2009-10 stint with the White Sox (11-6, 4.88 ERA in 144 innings).

This pain is nothing compared to going through surgery and rehab, Garcia said. You never want to think about an injury like that.

Understandably, then, Garcia is prouder of his comeback from shoulder surgery than many of the accomplishmentsrunner-up AL Rookie of the Year, two All-Star Gamesthat came easier to him pre-surgery.

You dont ever think youre going to lose your fastball, Garcia said. Ive have to become a smarter pitcher. My head is more important than my arm now when I have success.

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

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

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And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.