White Sox

Sox Drawer: The Ozzie Guillen Interview

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Sox Drawer: The Ozzie Guillen Interview

Sunday, Mar. 7, 2010
Updated: 11:39 P.M.
By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

When the White Sox season went off the tracks in 2009, there apparently wasn't much love in the air at 35th and Shields.

"Kenny (Williams) hated me. Everybody hated everyone. I hated Jerry(Reinsdorf). I hated my players. My players hated me," Guillen said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.

I was following up on comments the White Sox manager made in February to the Sun-Times, when Guillen first expressed the mutual disgust that apparently arose as the team was knocked out of contention. Ozzie said, "Kenny Williams hated me, I hated Kenny."

Now that he's added Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to the list, it sounds like they had quite the party going.

But as we know, Ozzie is a rare bird, especially when it comes to his English. He tends to say things for shock value. One week he might declare "I hate Kenny Williams." Next week it might be, "I hate air. I hate gravity."

That's Ozzie Guillen.

But over the last couple months, some have speculated that a rift has developed between manager and general manager, and that it could lead to the eventual firing of Guillen if this season goes south. Personally, I don't see it happening; both the season going in the tank and Williams feeling the need to let Ozzie go. Not even close.

And if it did?

"I told (Kenny), 'The day you're going to fire me, don't look at me as your friend," Guillen said. "You got a job to do. If you think I'm not doing my job, or you think your job is in a dangerous situation because of me, then you should find someone else to do a better job.'"

And this so-called clash between him and his GM?

"I don't care what people think whatever happened between me and Kenny," Guillen said. "I think a few people out there think we hate each other. We disagree with each other, but we're different types of people." He continued, "To me, it's more important to be on the same page with my GM. We got to be friends. It's like a marriage. You're not going to get along with your wife everyday. One day you're going look at her and go, 'Wow!'"

The team that Williams has constructed for 2010 is the kind that Guillen has always wanted, a roster focused on speed, defense, and pitching. When I brought this up to Williams, the Sox GM answered with a smile, "That's what (Ozzie) says, which begs the question, did I give him teams before that sucked or that he didn't want? And I've asked him this question, 'What did you mean by that actually?'"

But now that Guillen has all the tools, what happens if the roof caves in and he's unable to close the leak? Is he more accountable?

"No, we're in this together," Williams said. "If you do that, then the same things can be said when he has deferred to me and it hasn't worked out. Then he can point the finger and say, It's not me, it's that guy. We don't do that We sit down and try to come to decisions together. We're on the same page for the most part, so we're going to sink and swim together."

Guillen feels the same way about his closer Bobby Jenks.

After a difficult 2009 in which he battled injuries, gave up a career-high nine home runs, and heard his name mentioned in trade talk during the winter, Jenks came to camp having dropped two things: his weight(about 25 pounds) and alcohol.

"I'm more impressed about him giving up drinking," Guillen said. "You lose weight, that's his job. When you say 'I give up drinking," I have more respect for him than I did in the past, because I know that's not an easy thing to do. Hopefully he's a strong enough man to keep it the way it is right now."

Jenks has some experienced arms behind him in the pen. Williams traded for former closer J.J. Putz. There's also closer-in-the-making Matt Thornton. How much rope does Jenks have in 2010?

"He's got a lot of rope. He's my man," Guillen said. "I know we got a few people out there. But I'm going to give him the best opportunity he can until he can't anymore."

Note: Chuck's interview with Kenny Williams can be seen on CSNChicago.com on Tuesday.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”