Sox Drawer: Ozzie no bull on the 'pen

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Sox Drawer: Ozzie no bull on the 'pen

Friday, April 15, 2011
Posted: 7:58 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

If Ozzie Guillen was hoping that his off day in Miami would help him recover from Thursdays latest bullpen breakdown, it didnt happen.

Just dont ask me about the bullpen, Guillen said as he opened his press conference before Fridays game against the Angels. If were going to make a soap opera out of this (bleep), let me know.

Yep, nothing like the tropical breezes of South Florida to relax the mind and ease the pain of a bullpen that has unfortunately imploded like an old Las Vegas casino in the first two weeks of the season.

The damage has been severe: six blown saves, a 6.14 ERA, and Matt Thornton has been at the center of it all, going 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA.

So whos the teams closer now?

You see (Mark) Buehrle in the (bullpen) in the 9th, thats our closer for the 9th, said Guillen, who is clearly not ready to trust anyone in that role at this point.

If the fans want to know, I dont know, Guillen said. If the media wants to know, I dont know. If the pitchers want to know, I dont know. Whoever is there in the 9th, is the one Ive decided I want to close it down.

The fans choice right now seems to be Sergio Santos, who came into Friday with a perfect 0.00 ERA, throwing 7 23 scoreless innings. He also didnt give up a run in spring training.

I welcome the challenge, Santos said Friday about the possibility of becoming the White Sox closer.

Santos might be the answer today, but what about the rest of the season? Thats what Guillen and the rest of the coaching staff seem to be asking themselves, as they wait, and hope, for guys like Thornton and Chris Sale to come around.

We have a great bullpen. Theyre just not doing what theyre supposed to do, Guillen said. But meanwhile, I have a lot of faith in the bullpen.

White Sox fans seem to have a different feeling. Over the last couple days, many have sounded the alarms, sensing bullpen Armageddon which could derail the whole season.

Leave it to Ozzie to represent the voice of reason.

A lot of people in Chicago are panicking. Everyone. Unbelievable how people are panicking after 12 games. Thats a joke.

Humor is what Jerry Reinsdorf chose to use in describing the bullpen situation. At an event honoring Jackie Robinson Day, the White Sox Chairman was asked Friday if he sees any other social barriers in the game right now.

We seem to have a barrier in respect to relief pitching, Reinsdorf quipped.

Is he concerned about their struggles?

Not me. When Ozzie says hes worried, then Ill get worried, he added.

So if the White Sox have a one-run lead in the 9th, which reliever will we see running out of the bullpen? Who knows. But Guillen will keep going with his gut, even if it means getting kicked there again and again.

I have to make decisions, Guillen said. Maybe theyre not the right ones, but Im not going to make it regards to what fans want, the media, Jerry, Kenny (Williams). I will make decisions about what I think is best for the ballclub. Was I wrong last week? Yes, I was very wrong. I brought the wrong one out everytime. But thats the way it is.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”