Word on the Street: Dj vu with Sox, Damon, Matsui

Word on the Street: Dj vu with Sox, Damon, Matsui

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
5:45 PM

CSNChicago.com

White Sox again exploring signing Matsui, Damon

When Jim Thome departed before the 2010 season the White Sox targeted both Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon but lost out on both. According to sources, both players are back on the radar screen, but they are likely to hold off until next month on any such moves, as the Dec. 2 non-tender date will send more free agents onto the market.

Matsui earned 6 million with the Los Angeles Angels last season. He was limited by injuries but still played 145 games, hitting .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. He could be used in the outfield or designated hitter. The same holds true for Damon, who seems unlikely to to return to Detroit. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Chris Sale to start, Phillies interested in Quentin?

After an impressive stint as a reliever for the White Sox last season, Chris Sale said he's ready to start if that's what the team wants him to do. With Jake Peavy not expected back in April, Sale may get the chance to join the rotation in spring training.

In addition, rumors suggest that the Philadelphia Phillies have kept a close eye on Carlos Quentin and could be interested in trading for the White Sox outfielder if Jayson Werth departs via free agency. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Owner of Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in NYC declares bankruptcy

The owners of Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse NYC, which overlooks the famed lobby of Grand Central Terminal, are bankrupt. No, not His Airness; the restaurant group just licenses Jordan's name.

The Glazier Group, which owns the New York steakhouse and six Strip House restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Southern District Court on Monday, Crain's New York Business reported. (slashfood.com)

Joakim Noah launched his own web site on Wednesday.

Derrick Rose for NBA MVP?

When the Bulls point guard wondered why he couldn't be MVP of the league back on Sept. 27, many might have laughed. But, according to K.C. Johnson, maybe it's not so far-fetched after all.

Rose is currently averaging career-highs with 24.7 points and 9.2 assists per game through Tuesday night and has guided the Bulls to a 6-3 record without Carlos Boozer. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Blackhawks summer trade analysis: Part Five

In the fifth installment of their Blackhawks makeover breakdown, chicagonow.com looks closely at the trade that send Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to the Atlanta Thrashers. Why did they do it? What did they gain from it and how do the early returns look? (chicagonow.com)

Hoffpauir is a Ham Fighter

Former Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir, once considered a potential replacement for Derrek Lee, has signed to play in Japan. His new team is the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Pacific League.

Hoffpauir had another good season at Triple-A in 2010 but struggled with the Cubs in just 52 at-bats hitting .173.246.231. (rotoworld.com)

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.”