White Sox

Garcia hopes to remain a Good Guy in Black

Garcia hopes to remain a Good Guy in Black

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
11:50 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Uncertain were the first words out of Chicago starter Freddy Garcias mouth after what might have been his final start with the White Sox:

Hopefully this is not my last month with the Black and White, Garcia said. But Im really happy with the way I pitched tonight. I dont know. We got second place, at least.

Garcia indeed ensured Chicago of second place with one of his strongest starts of the season in his supposed swan song, running perfectly through a first run of the Boston Red Sox order and surrendering just four hits and two earned runs on the night. The win raised Garcias comeback season record to 12-6, with an additional four wins withered by the White Sox bullpen. The veterans ERA finishes at a healthy 4.64 but he logged the second-best quality starts percentage among Chisox starters, at 64 percent.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is close to Garcia and has buoyed him with praise all season long. Postgame Wednesday was no different.

I owe my family a few dollars: I was betting hed be out and wed have to give Garcia a little rest, and he proved me wrong, Guillen said. He should feel proud: Hes worked so hard over the last couple of years and given himself an opportunity to compete. The way he competed, he can go home and have a great winter, because he worked hard.

Garcia returned the affection.

I like it here, he said. Ozzie is a great man, a good friend. Were like family. But whatever happens, happens. Its baseball business. You got to go with the flow.

Garcia acknowledged his hard work as well, after logging his 28th start of the season, fourth on the staff but just four behind starts leader Mark Buehrle.

This year was big for me, Garcia said. The last two years, I wasnt pitching. I got surgery and came back this year to almost throw 160 innings 157 Hopefully everything works out for us.

Garcias comeback struck particularly close to home with Guillen, given his return from a career-threatening knee injury in 1993.

In this game, as soon as you get hurt once, they tag you, no matter how many years youve been playing, Guillen said. I use myself as an example: Everything was so easy for me, like Freddy, and suddenly so many people have doubts about how much time youre going to put in to come back. When I got hurt, I played full seasons after that, and I always had to hear it would be my last year in baseball. You have to prove people wrong, day-in and day-out. To have worked so hard and gotten what he did, thats amazinga great accomplishment.

Guillen has made no bones about wanting Garcia to return to the White Sox, along with all his longtime veterans (including Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski). But Garcia knows that the White Sox project at least six-deep in the starting rotation for 2011, not including him.

I have no idea about a return, well see after the season, Garcia said. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully, I come back. Id like to come back here. I love it here. Its a great city, a great team.

Guillen recalled Garcias shaky start in spring training, which might well have been the key to his strong 2010 regular season.

When we started spring training, Garcias first outing they scored like 13 runs and the second they scored 20, and we had a meeting, Guillen said. GM Kenny Williams said, I dont worry about Freddy. I know what were going to get. Next. When the general manager says that, its a vote of confidence. Most of the time what we say in that meeting room stays in that room, but this time I told Freddy how much confidence Kenny had in him, and he came back to be one of the more consistent pitchers we had.

A lot of people talk about John Danks and Gavin Floyd, but the best pitcher we had every five days was Freddy.

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

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.