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When Jim Thome and Ryan Howard come to the plate, they dig their spikes into the left-hander’s batter’s box, keeping the left foot closer to the plate than the right foot. They extend their right arm, pointing the bat menacingly to some distant spot beyond the center-field wall, like a samurai offering his sword to the pitcher.
Thome, who belted his 600th career homer last week, and Howard, who had 279 entering Friday, both learned from a master.
“Charlie told me about it when I was in Double-A,” Howard said last week, referring to Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel. “He told me to do that to make sure that both eyes were on the pitcher — and to set open, so that when I came back and brought my bat back, my eyes are still on the pitcher.”
The emergence of Howard forced Thome out of Philadelphia in 2005, after three just seasons. But Thome, who now plays for the Minnesota Twins, is still warmly regarded in Philadelphia, where a video tribute to him played before a game last week. He still reveres Manuel, who helped unlock his power as a Cleveland Indians farmhand in the early 1990s. …
Hey, maybe Greg Walker can learn something…
Guillen … agreed with Williams that he wouldn’t be nice enough to stick around for weeks after getting fired.
“Yeah, if [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] fires me, I’m going golfing,’’ Williams said. “See you later. If you guys want to talk to me by phone, fine. But I’m out of here.”
“Go get the inspirational speeches from someone else. I’m [angry],” Williams told MLB.com, responding to a question concerning the White Sox chances to claim an American League Central over the final 40 games. “This team should be 10 games over .500 right now.
“That’s the bad news. The good news is we still have time to right the ship. But if you are looking for inspiration, or anyone is, or pats on the back from this recent surge, you are looking at the wrong person. I’ll give you a pat on the back if you end up in first place.”
Williams said that anything short of winning the division would be an obvious disappointment, adding that winning the division really isn’t even good enough in the White Sox championship-oriented minds. He acknowledged, as an example, being impressed by Alejandro De Aza’s play since called up to the big league club, as the outfielder is batting .310 and infusing life into the White Sox lineup.
But he added that he’ll be more impressed if De Aza keeps it up.
“Nothing is going to impress me the rest of the year unless we are in first place at the end,” Williams said. “Other than that, it’s just find a way to win today.”
Other White Sox links:
Gordon Beckham is probably heading to the bench after another brutal night at the plate.
The slumping second baseman was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and he stranded seven baserunners.
“I talked to him before the game, and I worry about him because he’s chasing a lot of bad pitches,” Guillen said. “When you are a hitter and you chasing bad pitches, it’s like you are pitching and not throwing strikes. You will dig yourself a hole. You have to look for something.
“I know it’s not easy. I played this game before and went through it. I was swinging at everything in my career as a player, but I think he has to lay off the high fastball as soon as he can because he’s going to put himself in a deeper position.”
Kenny Williams likes the swing Beckham had at Georgia:
Nobody is more frustrated with his struggles at the plate than White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who is hitting just .238 and went 1-for-13 in his team’s previous three-game series against the Indians.Coming in a close second, however, might be general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen — who both see Beckham falling victim to pitches out of the strike zone, particularly high ones.
Asked on Friday afternoon if it’s still too early in Beckham’s career to say he’s nearing a crossroads, Williams didn’t mince words.
“No, because with his current approach, I think they’re going to continue to expose his weakness,” Williams said. “As I’ve told him in the past, this is nothing he hasn’t heard from me in the past, I liked the swing coming out of the University of Georgia — the one that we saw when he first got here to the big leagues, where he was able to drive the ball and pound it into the right-center-field gap. And any high fastball, he could get on top if it with his top hand.”
Guillen was also quick to point out the pitches Beckham’s been swinging at are up in the zone.
“I think the only thing about Gordon is chasing bad pitches,” Guillen said. “He can’t lay off of the high ones, and the longer you do that, you’re going to be in the same situation.”
1) Chris Sale, LHP, Grade A: 2.78 ERA for the White Sox, 58/20 K/BB in 57 major league innings, 43 hits, four saves, 1.66 GO/AO. What’s not to like?
2) Brent Morel, 3B, Grade B: Hitting .256/.272/.321 with four walks, 33 strikeouts in 293 at-bats for the White Sox. I think he is capable of better, but the bat has been disappointing.
3) Dayan Viciedo, OF, Grade B- .293/.363/.477 with 17 homers, 43 walks, 79 strikeouts in 426 at-bats for Triple-A Charlotte. Has made good progress with the strike zone, stock up for me.
4) Addison Reed, RHP, Grade B-: Amazing season at four levels, currently in Triple-A. Composite numbers: 1.40 ERA, 103/13 K/BB in 71 innings, 39 hits. He has a 20/2 K/BB in 14 Triple-A innings and has pushed his fastball into the upper 90s. Ready to help in the bullpen now. …
Teams can expand their 25-man rosters Sept. 1. Among the Sox minor leaguers who might be considered for a promotion are outfielder Dayan Viciedo, infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitchers Gregory Infante, Shane Lindsay, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed. Viciedo left Triple-A Charlotte’s game Wednesday at Norfolk after 3 1/2 innings because of an undisclosed injury.
From tonight’s AAA-Charlotte opponent:
UPDATE: X-rays were negative. Viciedo is day-to-day.
UPDATE #2: Merkin says:
Birmingham Barons Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Doyle (W, 4-5) 6.0 7 1 0 3 8 0 3.49 Kloess (H, 1) 1.0 1 1 1 2 1 0 1.63 Septimo (H, 7) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 5.33 Carter, A (S, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.35
Pitches-strikes: Doyle 106-64, Kloess 24-12, Septimo 15-11, Carter, A 19-11.
Groundouts-flyouts: Doyle 5-2, Kloess 1-0, Septimo 1-0, Carter, A 1-2.
Batters faced: Doyle 28, Kloess 6, Septimo 4, Carter, A 4.
BTW, Andre Rienzo’s last couple outings were more like the ones in 2010:
Winston-Salem Dash Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Wickswat 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2.33 Rienzo (W, 3-3) 5.0 5 0 0 1 9 0 3.14 Hunt (S, 1) 3.0 3 0 0 1 1 0 4.70
Groundouts-flyouts: Wickswat 1-0, Rienzo 3-2, Hunt 4-1.
Batters faced: Wickswat 5, Rienzo 21, Hunt 11.
That was the completion of a June 28 game that was suspended.
Winston-Salem Dash Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Rienzo (W, 4-4) 6.0 1 0 0 1 7 0 3.49 Kussmaul (S, 5) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.76
Groundouts-flyouts: Rienzo 5-5, Kussmaul 0-1.
Batters faced: Rienzo 20, Kussmaul 3.
Maybe Andre’s is returning to form too!
The saber prescription for the bullpen seems clear: identify your best relievers based on their component skills and use them in the right matchups according to their handedness and arsenal. Ignore the inning and instead use your best pitcher in the highest leverage moment. Basically, have a relief ace who pitches in the most important moment in the game — and then find role players to fill in the blanks.
There’s some agreement that this would be an improvement over the current set-up man/closer plan. There might never have been a ‘pen that was truly run this way.
Well, until now. Check out Chicago’s South Side. …
I have a hunch that Don Cooper’s fingerprints are all over Ozzie’s bullpen decisions.
This marked Pierzynski’s first career trip to the disabled list. The 34-year-old catcher, whose placement on the DL was retroactive to Saturday, suffered the injury Friday against Kansas City, when he was hit by a Bruce Chen pitch in the third inning.
The legend of Cy Chen grows…
UPDATE: Herm Schneider says Pierzynski could return on August 29 because the fracture is more of a “compression” fracture.
Other White Sox links:
The Sox plan to sign their 29th round pick, outfielder Dustin Hayes of Langley, BC, before Monday’s midnight deadline. Hayes, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, is considered an exceptional athlete with a strong arm. He played in the Coquitlam (BC) Angels Senior League.
|Blaze 2011||Coquitlam Angels||4||10||1||2||0||0||0||1||2||4||.200|
|BCPBL 2010||Okanagan Athletics||0||2||6.77||2||2||0||0||10.1||6||9||10|
|BCPBL 2010||Okanagan Athletics||14||38||3||5||0||0||0||2||4||4||.132|
[T]he Marlins made two moves that shocked the clubhouse Saturday night: They optioned left fielder Logan Morrison to the minors and released veteran infielder Wes Helms. Morrison said he was stunned by the news and suggested his demotion and Helms’ release had something to do with an off-field incident on which he refused to elaborate. “I’m heartbroken and I’m disappointed,’ Morrison said, his voice shaking. “I asked for an explanation and the one I got was I was hitting .240 I don’t know if that makes any sense to me or to you guys but. All I know is I go out and I give everything for this team. I play hurt, I play through injury and this is how you get treated. It doesn’t seem very fair or right to me.’ Morrison, who is batting .249 with 17 homers and 60 RBI, has been outspoken about moves the front office has made. Both he and Helms have been critical about teammate Hanley Ramirez …
Before the game, Morrison spent a good half hour sitting in the dugout talking to General Manager Mike Hill while the Giants took batting practice. “Right now I just feel resentment and anger,’ Morrison said after the game. “Stand up for what’s right and this happens.’ …
One team source believes the team the team is sending a message, “To me it’s a lesson, concentrate on the game and stop trying to be so funny.”
Remember last year the Sox wanted a Florida player for Ozzie Guillen? That player was rumored to be Logan Morrison.
And here are Morrison’s stats:
|2006||18||FLA-min||Rk,A-||49||187||163||16||39||7||0||2||18||1||0||21||29||.239||.321||.319||.640||52||4||0||0||3||0||JUM,JAM · GULF,NYPL|
|2007||19||FLA-min||A||128||513||453||71||121||22||2||24||86||2||2||48||96||.267||.343||.483||.827||219||8||7||0||5||5||GBO · SALL|
|2008||20||FLA-min||A+||130||555||488||71||162||38||1||13||74||9||3||57||80||.332||.402||.494||.896||241||11||4||0||6||6||JUP · FLOR|
|2009||21||FLA-min||AA,A+||82||355||289||48||80||19||2||8||49||9||5||64||48||.277||.408||.439||.848||127||5||1||0||1||5||JCK,JUP · SOUL,FLOR|
|2010||22||FLA-min||AAA,A+||73||314||259||39||81||19||6||6||47||1||2||48||38||.313||.424||.502||.925||130||6||4||0||3||4||NOR,JUP · PCL,FLOR|
|2011||23||FLA-min||A+||3||13||10||2||2||0||0||1||3||0||0||3||4||.200||.385||.500||.885||5||1||0||0||0||0||JUP · FLOR|
|162 Game Avg.||162||719||625||86||164||42||10||20||80||2||2||83||135||.262||.353||.457||.810||118||286||10||7||0||4||1|
|162 Game Avg.||719||478||104||5.8||102||.304||.262||.263||.353||.332||.457||.410||.810||.742||118||.619||17||2||.793||.327||.195||4|
UPDATE: Morrison is considering filing a grievance:
Logan Morrison plans to consult the player’s union to see if he has any grounds for a grievance against the Marlins for optioning him late Saturday to Class AAA New Orleans.
“We are going to, with absolute certainty, explore this and contact the union and make sure Logan’s rights are protected,’’ said Fred Wray, Morrison’s agent. “It doesn’t seem like everything adds up here.’’
But the fact that LoMo is upset enough to consider the action, and not comfortable enough to settle matters behind closed doors, tells you something about the crumbling relationship between player and management.
Other White Sox links:
Chances? Slim to None. And Slim just left town.