Chicago White Sox

Sox Drawer: Paulie Disney Magic

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Sox Drawer: Paulie Disney Magic

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Posted 7:02 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

ORLANDO, Fla - From the home of Splash Mountain - Disney's water ride - the White Sox have made quite a splash themselves; stepping onto the edge of the diving board, leaping high into the air, and plunging deep in the free agent pool with one giant cannonball.

Their competitors? Now drenched.

Yep, the captain is coming back to the South Side for three more years, at a cost of 37.5 million, or slighly less than what they charge for a cup of coffee here at the "Land of Make Believe."

Paul Konerko and the Sox: That's for real. And considering what it took to get here, a relief.

"To come back was always 1-A as far as what was in my mind. I wanted it to happen," Konerko said. "Not only this off-season, but years ago on how you want things to play out."

But last week, while Konerko was sitting on a beach in Mexico, looking out over the ocean, he received a text which he thought might have sealed his fate, ending his legendary career with the White Sox.

"Someone texts me and says they just signed Adam Dunn, and my first thought was 'That was a fun 12 years. That's it. It was a him or me situation,'" Konerko recalled. "Then I remembered Kenny (Williams) at the end of the year telling me, 'Listen, if we go after this next year and we want to win, I don't want you or Adam, I want both of you. So that was in my mind as well going, Okay, maybe that's the case. Maybe they're going to make a push to get both of us.'"

But it wasn't easy.

Unable to come to an agreement on Tuesday, Williams' patience ran thin, so he delivered a loud warning shot that evening saying, "We have other meetings with other guys representatives tonight and it's with the mindset to try and get a deal done."

Safe to say that Konerko's agent, Craig Landis, got the message.

Pretty soon, dialogue between both sides started heating up. Around 7 p.m., Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn ventured out to a sushi restaurant, and in between the sashimi, there were plenty of texts and e-mails going back and forth. Finally after an hour, Hahn received a text from Landis.

The money was right. And apparently so was the sake.

Joked Williams, "Had Craig probably waited a little while longer, he might have gotten a little bit more (money) because Rick and I started to tip a few back after a while."

Following dinner, Hahn had one final phone conversation with Landis, and the deal was done.

When the news reached Konerko, he was soon on the phone with one of his longtime teammates to share the good news.

"I was so happy for him and for his family," A.J. Pierzynski told Comcast SportsNet. "And Paul doesn't look right in another uniform. I can't see him in another uniform so I was ecstatic when he told me the news."

And considering Pierzynski backloaded his own contract (along with Dunn) to make room for Konerko, did he put any pressure on him to sign?

"No, I told him he has to make the decision. The only thing I told him was that if he left, I would have his locker and I would have a 'C' (for captain) on my jersey next year. So apparently the White Sox are doing anything in their power to keep me from the captaincy," said Pierzynski with a laugh.

If the White Sox didn't work out, Konerko did have other options. One of them was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reportedly offered him a 3-year, 30 million contract (7.5 million less than the White Sox offer), which would have allowed Paul to play near his off-season home in Arizona.

"It definitely was a possibility and definitely something that was intriguing to me, not only because of the things that would come along with playing with a team close to where I live, but because I think that team is going to get a lot better and are on their way up," Konerko said. "It was a great option to have. But it didn't work out going that way. But I was thrilled that they were interested in me."

So with Konerko, Dunn, and Pierzynski aboard, what's next?

Said Williams, "Figuring out a way to pay for all of this."

Signing Konerko? That's money in the bank.

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

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

HOUSTON -- Two weeks ago Chris Volstad was focused on Hurricane Irma prep when the White Sox called to invite him to the majors. On Thursday night, he earned his first major league victory in more than five years as the White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Volstad, who had only made 10 big league appearances the previous four-plus seasons and spent all of 2017 at Triple-A Charlotte, allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings to pick up his first win since Sept. 10, 2012.

He hadn’t just shut it down after the Triple-A season ended, Volstad was actually shuttering his Jupiter, Fla. home and business the day the short-handed White Sox called.

“I was probably a little mentally shut down,” Volstad said. “But yeah, it’s kind of crazy how things can change. I guess it’s been about two weeks now. At home getting ready for a hurricane and then getting called back up to the big leagues.”

Volstad received word he might pitch early in Thursday’s game when a blister on Carson Fulmer’s right index finger worsened. Fulmer felt some discomfort after his Friday start at Detroit.

The White Sox let Fulmer try to go but yanked him after 20 pitches, including two walks. That brought out Volstad, who along with Al Alburquerque was promoted Sept. 10 after the White Sox lost several pitchers to injury.

The White Sox actually had to track Volstad down two weeks ago as he’d already been home for a week. He spent part of the time prepping for Irma, including boarding up his brewery.

He escaped a first-inning jam with a double play ball of the bat of Carlos Correa and ended a threat in the second with a pickoff at second base of Alex Bregman. After he surrendered a solo homer to Brian McCann in the third, Volstad retired the final eight men he faced.

[MORE: Why the White Sox are optimistic about their middle infielders' potential

He was awarded his first victory since he defeated Thursday’s Astros starter Dallas Keuchel 1,836 days ago here. Volstad remembered the win because Houston was still in the National League and he had a base hit in the five-inning start for the Cubs. He went 3-12 for the Cubs that season.

“You’re able to lock it in pretty quickly and get focused at the big-league level, you have to,” Volstad said. “But being home in Triple-A for the last few years, just getting called up about 10 days ago, I’ve got people following it, but it’s kind of unknown I guess. It’s a little surprising, but I’m glad to be a part of a team for sure.”

Fulmer, Volstad, Jace Fry, Mike Pelfrey, Gregory Infante, Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar and Juan Minaya combined on a three-hitter for the White Sox. Tim Anderson extended his hit streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning solo homer, his 17th.

White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

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White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

The White Sox hired two new national amateur scouting cross checkers, Tim Bittner and Juan Alvarez.

Bittner was a one-time White Sox farmhand who was included in a package for Scott Schoeneweis in 2003 while Alvarez was an undrafted pitcher who pitched in 80 major league games for the Angels, Rangers and Marlins from 1999-2003.

Bittner previously worked as a Houston Astros area scout while Alvarez held the same role for the Cleveland Indians. They replace Joe Siers, who moved over to the team’s pro scouting staff, and Mike Ledna, who took a job with the New York Mets.

“Both are very smart guys with playing experience,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “And they’re also coming from two clubs with a lot of recent success.

“I want to add as many smart, passionate, high-energy scouts to what I feel is a department already filled with scouts that check those boxes.”

The White Sox expect to have at least a top-four selection in the 2018 amateur draft. They headed into Thursday’s game with the second-worst record in the majors. Hostetler praised the 2018 draft class for its depth earlier this week.