SoxFest: Buehrle not done yet, Williams worried


SoxFest: Buehrle not done yet, Williams worried

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
Posted 4:49 p.m. Updated 5:04 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini

In remarks made during the media session of SoxFest, Chicago White Sox starter Mark Buehrle indicated he would be willing to sign an extension with the team that would keep him in Chicago for at least two additional seasons.

It was weird this offseason, going from a rebuilding plan to me maybe being on the trading block, to getting Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski back, adding Adam Dunn and retooling the bullpen, Buehrle said. I dont have any idea of whether my people have talked to the White Sox, or theyre talking with us, but Im always willing to listen.

Buehrle went 13-13 in 2010, with a 4.28 ERA. During the season he earned his 10-and-5 rights, which gives him the ability to veto any trade the White Sox wish to make that involves him. In 11 major league seaons all spent with the White Sox Buehrle is 148-110 with a 3.85 ERA and an ERA of 120.

He will complete his four-year, 56 million contract at the end of the 2011 season.
Williams: Stirred, but shaken

Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams had earlier told Comcast SportsNet that his tombstone might read, One More Deal to Make, but the longtime team executive also admitted on Friday that hes typically nervous about his ballclub.

I should have a better feeling about how he's stacked the White Sox, the GM admitted before the official start of SoxFest on Friday. But I'm cautious, and nervous. I know about the mental and physical grind ahead.

Williams also remains bitter over the division titles he feels his team had the potential to win. While wryly unwilling to name names, this includes the 2010 clubs second-half fold to the one unmentionable team (to Williams), the Minnesota Twins.

A couple of parks are flying flags that should be ours, that belong to us, Williams said.

Nonetheless, Williams hopes his retooling of the club exemplified by the now-famous (and marketable) phrase all-in when referencing his attitude toward 2011 has excited his fan base much more than his poker face is willing to acknowledge.

I hope the fans are very excited, Williams said with honesty, and a wink toward the season, because we still have to find a way to pay for all of this.

Williams also tipped his hand early regarding some roster decisions, including a tacit endorsement of Brent Morel at third base. The GM read manager Ozzie Guillens comments yesterday about wishing to keep competition open and did not openly endorse a third baseman, but did say his mind was made up about who should play there and judging by his excitement over Morel last September, all signs point to the rookie getting his vote.

READ: Ozzie's early lineup thoughts

As for two other young players, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks, Williams was far from muted. He claimed that Dankss future was far too bright to make the White Sox roster as a fourth or fifth outfielder in 2011.

Williams also confirmed that Viciedo would be moving to the outfield, remarking again that the young player has the potential to be very special and that we need to find a place for him to play. The GM wouldnt rule out Viciedo as a future infielder, but definitely endorsed his current move to the outfield, making it imaginable that the young slugger could fill a hybrid role of corner outfielderDHcorner infielder that could see him playing a couple of games a week in 2011.

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

Preview: Chris Sale starts for White Sox against Rays tonight on CSN+

Preview: Chris Sale starts for White Sox against Rays tonight on CSN+

The White Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN+. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (16-9, 3.19 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (1-1, 6.16 ERA)

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James Shields gets first win in two months as White Sox beat Rays

James Shields gets first win in two months as White Sox beat Rays

James Shields’ time with the White Sox has not gone well. But Monday night was one of the bright spots, and it came against his former team.

Shields allowed just one run in his six innings of work against the visiting Tampa Ray Bays — with whom he spent the first seven seasons of his career — and earned his first win since July 26 as the White Sox opened this four-game set with a 7-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Shields didn’t exactly keep the Rays off the bases Monday, running into jams with multiple base runners on in four of his six innings. But he did keep them off the scoreboard, for the most part, getting some help from his defense with a couple double plays. He finished allowing just one run on seven hits with six strikeouts over his six innings.

The win was his first in two months after a brutal August — six starts with four losses and an 11.42 ERA — and a couple of rough outings in September. It was Shields’ sixth victory on the season and fourth since joining the White Sox compared to 18 losses on the season, 11 coming with the White Sox.

“I had a few chances my last few starts to get some wins, but sometimes those things happen,” Shields said. “I’m just trying to finish the season strong right now. Body feels good, arm feels good, so hopefully I can get another win on Saturday to end my season and move into next year.”

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With just one more start on his schedule in the season’s final week, Shields won’t lose a visually upsetting 20 games. Avoiding that number might not make losing 18 or 19 much easier for fans and observers to swallow, but teammates understand what Shields has gone through this season.

“I think we’ve all been through it once or maybe even twice in our career. He works his butt off, though,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He looks at film. He watches everything he’s doing. To come out with the strong outing today, even in the first inning, getting two runners on and getting out of that jam, it goes to show you his resilience. Whenever he got runners on, he looked relaxed and induced a lot of ground balls which we needed.”

Certainly Shields’ teammates picked him up Monday. The two double plays while he was in the game were just half the infield’s total on the night, two more coming in the seventh and eighth, when Tommy Kahnle and Nate Jones put the first two hitters they faced on in each frame. But the double plays helped end those threats and keep the Rays down.

The White Sox struck first with a run in the first inning, Melky Cabrera scoring on Justin Morneau’s sacrifice fly. After the Rays tied it up in the fourth with an RBI single, the White Sox punched back, Frazier doubling, stealing third base and scoring on Omar Narvaez’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of that inning.

And as Shields and the relief corps danced out of jams, the White Sox added to their score. Jose Abreu singled in a run in the fifth, but it was a pair of two-run homers off the bats of Morneau and Carlos Sanchez in the seventh and eighth innings that provided the real insurance.

The win was the third straight for the White Sox, something that while positive won’t provide much solace in a season where competing for a playoff spot is a distant memory.

But, like Shields finishing his season strong, White Sox players in general can create individual momentum for each of their offseasons and into next year with good finishes to 2016.

“We want to end on a positive note,” Frazier said. “Everybody wants to meet their goals. Baseball is the most individualistic team sport there is. You have to have your individual goals just like your team goals, and our team goals are out the door right now. You don’t want to play for yourself, but at the same time play for your pitcher a little bit and help him out.”