White Sox

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
1:33 PM

By Brett Ballantini

Sergio Santos enjoyed the best of both worlds on Friday night, pitching in front of an estimated 160 friends and family at Angel Stadiumand he didnt have to spring for many of the ducats, if any.

People had bought their tickets back at the beginning of April, so they all bought them in a bunch and wanted to go the cheapest way, Santos said of his upper-deck cheering section. They wanted to sit together, so they all just bought in that one section.

Even better for the rookie, playing his first game in Southern California, was that he made an appearance in the game, which he began by surrendering leadoff hits to Peter Bourjos and Howie Kendrick in the eighth.

That was probably the most nervous Ive been the entire year, even my first overall inning in April, Santos said. You want to do so well and want everybody to have that good moment. But after the first pitch it kind of went away and I went back to normal.

Normal was punching out Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter with swinging strikes, before giving way to eventual winning pitcher Matt Thornton. Although Santos hit 98 on the gun with his fastball in the inning, he retired Abreu with a changeup and Hunter with a biting curve.

Santos smile was a mile wide postgame, after getting his first appearance in front of his La Puente, Calif. compadres out of the way.

To be able to get into the first game was good, everybody can relax and know that theyve seen me, said Santos, who is now 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and more than two strikeouts per walk in 2010. Hopefully, I can get in one more game.

Speed Kills

The White Sox again were aggressive on the basepaths, stealing two bags in the game to raise their season total to 147, second in the American League. But the steals themselves arent as important as the disruption the threat of running creates.

The winning run in the ninth was keyed by speed. Juan Pierre, who leads the team in snagged bags with 60 (the second most in a single season in White Sox history), walked with one out. The left fielder had second base stolen on a hit-and-run attempt that Omar Vizquel fouled off, then advanced to second on Vizquels safety flare to right field. With Pierre dancing on second and Vizquel also a speed threat on first, Angels closer Fernando Rodney delivered two juicy fastballs on the plate for Alex Rios, the second of which Rios sent back to centerfield, knocking in Pierre with the eventual game-winning run.

I would think so, Pierre said, laughing over the notion of his speed disrupting the hurler. Youve got to ask Rodney or the Angels, but from the looks of it Rios got a good pitch to hit. I got on and was trying to steal, and Omar got a big hit. With speed on the bases, Rodney definitely cant take his time going to the plate; he has to split his attention, and we came up with a big run.

Whats more, Rios was aggressive despite just giving the White Sox the lead, getting a preposterous jump on Rodney to steal second and move to third on a throwing error by catcher Hank Conger.

Thats the way we play, Pierre said. We have speed and power. Definitely with Rios, hes a 20-20 guy 34 steals, 21 homers, so for him to take the bag right there puts pressure on the Angels and hopefully sets the tone where they might be thinking of steal attempts tomorrow and Sunday.

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

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again?

He was the guy who helped bring a World Series championship to the South Side in 2005 hasn't been a big league skipper since 2012, in his one ill-fated season managing the Miami Marlins. But his name has come up as a social-media suggestion for open jobs for years, including just two winters ago when the White Sox needed to replace Robin Ventura.

But Guillen, who spent eight seasons as the White Sox manager, said on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast that he hasn't interviewed for any jobs since leaving the Marlins and discussed the trend of hiring young managers who just recently finished their playing careers.

"A couple tried, not to interview me but say, 'Can we talk to you about it?' And I knew I'm not going to be the manager of that team," Guillen told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien. "When you look at the manager list, you're going to interview me and you have kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, Ozzie. What's the chance I'm going to manage that team? None. 'Thank you for thinking about me,' and it's cool.

"I've known I'm not going to be the guy because the list. Before, they interview you for a managing job, it's two or three or four guys. Now they've got 30. Nowadays, it's harder to become a manager than win the World Series. Because there are so many interviews.

But does that mean he'll never manage again?

"I think my time's going to come up, maybe," Guillen said. "I always think about (former Florida Marlins manager) Jack McKeon. Jack McKeon was out of baseball for 30 years and all of a sudden came out and won the World Series (in 2003). ... I hope I don't die before that. Jack was 70-plus when he was managing. But we'll see."

Guillen talked about his hopes to be more involved in the White Sox organization after the way his tenure ended back in 2011, saying he hopes to be at spring training with the team one day.

"I'd like to go to spring training with them, that's the first time I'm going to say that, just because I see everybody in baseball, they're bringing former players to the field," he said. "But the problem is, I go there, here we go. 'Why is it ... you're coming here?'

"I don't (want to be a distraction), and I never will be."

Hear more of Garfien's interview with Guillen on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Avisail Garcia was great last year for the White Sox.

But does that mean he's a long-term part of this rebuilding team or a potential trade piece?

How Garcia follows things up in 2018 will go a long way in determining the answer to that question, as well as a perhaps more pressing one: Will Garcia still be on the White Sox when the 2018 campaign comes to a close?

Whatever your scouting-eye impressions might have been, statistically, Garcia was one of baseball's best hitters last season. He ranked second in the American League with a .346 batting average. Only league MVP Jose Altuve ranked above Garcia. The White Sox right fielder also ranked sixth in the AL with a .380 on-base percentage. His .885 OPS ranked in the top 10 in the Junior Circuit.

It was the much-anticipated breakout for a guy who's had big expectations ever since he hit the bigs as a 21-year-old in 2012, when he carried a pressure-packed comparison to Detroit Tigers teammate and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. After coming to the South Side in a mid-2013 trade, his first three seasons were impacted by injuries and featured an unimpressive .250/.308/.380 slash line with only 32 homers in 314 games.

But last season, that all changed. He had a career year, slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 80 RBIs, 27 doubles and 171 hits. Garcia was named to the AL All-Star team and established himself as the second best hitter on a team where the best hitter, Jose Abreu, is one of baseball's most productive and most consistent.

So can he do it again? That remains to be seen, of course. The scale of the improvements in so many statistical categories make one think that Garcia being able to do it two years in a row would almost be as surprising or more surprising than him doing it just once.

But if Garcia can repeat his performance, at least in the season's first few months, he could potentially draw the eyes of numerous contending teams looking for a bat to add to their lineups. One season of production perhaps wasn't enough to demand the kind of return package Rick Hahn's front office got in return for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana. But a few good months at the outset of 2018 could draw plenty of interest, making the question of whether Garcia will stay in a White Sox uniform for the entirety of the season a valid one.

All that being said, Garcia's situation — he's under team control for two more seasons — allows the White Sox to be flexible. Garcia's still young, entering his age-27 season. The White Sox could opt to keep a talented hitter, extend him and make him a part of the rebuilding effort, penciling him into the lineup of the future alongside younger hitters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Or they could wait to move him, perhaps next offseason or at the 2019 trade deadline.

But Garcia's performance will dictate how viable each of those options ends up being. He finally put it all together in 2017. In 2018, he'll have to keep it all together.