White Sox

Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

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Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 7:14 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didnt hesitate for a second when I asked him what his grade for the season was.

My grade? Z, as in zero, Guillen smiled. I dont think I did a good job. I told you that in spring training, when you asked, Are you worried about your job if you lose, and I said no.

After joking and amending his grade to XXXthats the best rating Guillen made an admission.

I dont rate myself, he said. I let a lot of people down, including myself. I let myself down and I let my players down. I had a lot of confidence and I expected a lot better things from myself than I did. I expected my ballclub to play better, and it not doing so hurts.

Guillen again reiterated that there is no job in baseball for him that is equal to the White Sox.

I feel for the White Sox, he said. Maybe if I go someplace else, I just have a job and I will just do my job. But with the White Sox, its different. I grew up in this organization. If I managed somewhere else, I would have the responsibility to go in with the best intentions, and Ill still win. But this is a different thing, a different feeling. Sometimes I stop and say Nah, I wont talk about managing elsewhere because I might kill Jerry Reinsdorfs heart. I say a lot of things, but I love this organization. Its always going to be in my heart. Will it always be on my mind? Well see.

As long as he was handing out grades, Guillen mentioned that there could only be a few players hed give an A or A to this season: Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Chris Sale. He found fault with the starting rotation (nobody even made it to 15 wins?), bullpen (early) and, of course, the offense (how about men on second and third base with less than two outs and we dont score?).

Rather curiously and in roundabout fashion, Guillen defended big-money disappointments like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios by clumping virtually the entire roster together as one big letdown.

I don't think we executed well when we had to, the jefe said. We never had a big, big inning. We'd have bases loaded with one out and have an infield groundball and score onethats it. We dont have those types of games like, Wow. A lot of people talk about we pitched well. Yeah, we pitched goodbecause our offense was so bad, our pitching looked very good. It's difficult to point fingers here. I want people to point them at me.

I'm not going to blame anybody because a lot of times Brent Morel or the Missile Alexei Ramirez, have come up with people on base and they didn't do it either. It's just not Dunn and Rios. If Dunn was making 200,000, nobody would care. If Rios was making 400,000, they don't care. That's the way it is.
Return of Ramon

After weeks of shuttling back and forth between his Florida home for doctors appointments and rehab, Ramon Castro has settled in for his last two weeks with the White Sox.

Castro is still regaining strength in his broken right finger, which is still bentthe catcher believes it will remain bent permanentlybut is unlikely to play for the rest of the season.

Guillen was happyit seemsto see his old pal back with the club.

Hes not helping mehe comes to eat our food and our sunflower seeds. Thats all he does here, the manager said. Its nice to see him alive. Ramon was having a good year for us. People dont appreciate what they have until they lose it. We had Ramon keeping everybody loose in the dugout, no matter how tough the game was. Ramon was keeping everybody loose, joking around and trying to keep everybody in a good mood. We lost that.

Castro realizes that with A.J. Pierzynski and apparently Tyler Flowers ahead of him on the depth chart, his return to Chicagowhere he loves to playis unlikely. But at a .763 OPS40 points higher than Pierzynskiwith a strong glove, arm and power, the 13-year vet will surely catch on somewhere.

Whoever is willing to pay me, Ill play for, Castro laughed, trying to ignore both Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo laughing and teasing him over his bent index finger. I love baseball.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's 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.