Sox Drawer: Playing the Manny Two-Step

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Sox Drawer: Playing the Manny Two-Step

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010
7:11 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Im not sure if Kenny Williams prefers the waltz, the polka, the salsa, or the centipede, but the White Sox general manager had his dancing shoes on before Tuesdays game vs. the Orioles, doing the do-si-do around every question about you know who.

Im not sure if I can say his name. Kenny wont, because hes the property of another team. But maybe not for long.

You can ask it in all different ways, but the answer to the question is, it does me no good to speak on it, Williams said. And the main reason is because I think this team needs to be focused on whos going to battle for them and not whos going to walk through the door.

But if the Los Angeles Dodgers do, in fact, place Manny Ramirez on waivers, Williams will likely do everything in his power to give the veteran slugger a key to the Sox clubhouse because of the boost he can give to the White Sox lineup. True, the offense hasnt been the teams biggest problem lately. That would be the bullpen.

Any chance Manny can close?

But come September, which is traditionally Manny Time, ask yourself this question: do you want Ramirez coming to the plate with the game on the line or an inconsistent Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones?

With Manny questions coming from every angle, Williams did his best to dodge them all, but at the same time he never denied interest in Ramirez, choosing instead to smile his way through the media session with a grin that said, Yes, were interested in Ramirez, but with words that didnt say "no" either.

Williams also gave the following answer to a very loaded question about acquiring a certain player whose personality might not fit with his current team:

The perfect fit is less important than production in the last month of the season, and thats not to say I dont factor it in, Williams said. But you can only get on someones nerves so much in 30 days. So you come in, you produce, we win, everybodys happy. You dont, and the guy leaves.

Who else could Williams be talking about? Terrell Owens?

When asked whether he could manage Ramirez and his me-first personality, Ozzie Guillen said, I can handle anyone. But would he want Manny added to his team?

"I don't know," Guillen said. "Manny hasn't played in the big leagues in a little while. If Kenny asked me if you need Manny or do you want Manny here, I'm going to say yes because you know why? He's going to bring him anyway. Then why not?"

But considering that Ramirez has played in only 166 games the last two seasons because of injuries and his 50-game drug suspension in 2009, which Manny would show up? Guillen isnt so sure.

If you give me Manny when he was with Boston, Ill take a limo to pick him up, Guillen remarked. But I havent seen Manny in a long time. I didnt even see Manny in spring training and we played against him every day."

Theres also the issue of Ramirez's ever-growing Bob Marley locks, which might not sit well with a certain White Sox chairman, who made A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede cut their bushy manes during the 2006 season.

"I want to see how Jerry Reinsdorf confronts the hair. It's not going to be my bleeping department, Guillen said.

But for Ramirez, maybe the most important factor can be found in the motivation department. Manny will have plenty. Hes a free agent after this season, so hes playing for his next contract. He loves the spotlight. He thrives under pressure. Hes aware that his future is back in the American League as a designated hitter.

The Dodgers arent going anywhere.

The White Sox hope to be headed somewhere.

Well know in the next few days if Manny is headed here.

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

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”