White Sox

5 Questions with...CSN's Dan Jiggetts

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5 Questions with...CSN's Dan Jiggetts

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guesta man who has pretty much done it all in the worlds of both athletics and broadcastinghe is a Harvard grad, was a standout NFL player for ten years and one of Chicagos most beloved sports broadcasters of all timeplus, he hasnt been shy of letting his opinions be known when it comes to this years Bears teamhes one of the great guys out therehere are 5 Questions withDAN JIGGETTS!

BIO: One of Chicago's most popular media personalities, Dan Jiggetts joined Comcast SportsNet in 2004 and currently handles studio analyst duties on U.S. Cellular Bears Post Game Live, Bears Recap and Bears Blitz. He co-hosted Comcast SportsNets Monsters in the Morning in 2009 and was also the host of Chicago Tribune Live from 2004-2007. Prior to joining CSN, Jiggetts was the weekend sports anchor and lead football reporter for WFLD-TV, the Fox broadcast affiliate in Chicago. He was a member of WFLD's "Bears Sunday Live" morning program and provided reports for "Bears Post Game" and "The Final Word" during the football season. Jiggetts also hosted his own radio talk show on WSCR AM 670. A Harvard graduate, Jiggetts was an All-American standout his senior year, while earning majors in government and economics. He enjoyed a solid seven-year NFL career, playing offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears from 1976 to 1982. Jiggetts has worked for CBS, ESPN, WMAQ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Chicago and WBBM AM 780.

1) CSNChicago.com: Dan, the Kool-Aid has definitely stopped pouring the past few weeks as the once invincible Bears find themselves as a very beatable teamand lets not forget the second half of the schedule looks to be extremely challenging to the say least. What is your biggest concern with this years team from an on-field and off-field standout and, a follow-up questiondo you truly believe this team will make it to the post season?

Jiggetts: First of all, for the concern on the field, the concern is whats going to happen with the offensive line and how long is it going to take for them to bring it all back together. Also, do they have enough time and the ability to go ahead and do all of that? The other thing that probably worries me, that is both an on-the-field and off-the-field issue, is whether or not they will take the time to address the run game and give them the opportunity to develop that, and therefore develop the offensive line. As you try to continue to throw the football with a young group of people like that, it is going to probably turn out to be a disaster. From that standpoint, I hope they give them the opportunity to get their feet on the ground and see where they can go.

As for the Kool-Aid flow and whether it will ever stop flowing, well, it did stop for a couple of weeks. The team hit a rough patch and some games went against them. It was not like they were run off the field in those games, they basically lost those games, and the other team did not win them. The Bears had the opportunity to win those games. So you know, I am still pretty aggressive on the Bears. Do I believe if they will make the postseason or not? Yeah, I still do at this point.

2) CSNChicago.com: Theres no doubt the general public mindset about this team resolves around the play of Jay Cutler and the offensive play calling of Mike Martz. Do you believe Cutler and Martz are on the same page or do you think Cutler has been taking matters into his own hands, so to speak, when the ball is snapped?

Jiggetts: I think Jay Cutler and Mike Martz are very much on the same page. You saw how they started out in the Seattle game, on the first drive, going straight down the field and scoring a touchdown. Thats being on the same page. The problem is later on when you get down to the heart of the game. Its whether or not you set some things up and they really havent. So, all of a sudden it becomes looking like a hodge-podge of this and that, and lets try this or lets try that, and thats when it looks sloppy. The other thing the Bears have to do is get everyone on the same page. Not just Jay and Mike Martz on the same page, but the whole group: receivers, offensive line, EVERYBODY. Everyone must be thinking the same thing and at the same time. That is a part of the function of how you execute offensively.

3) CSNChicago.com: Who was the toughest player youve ever lined up against in your NFL playing days that REALLY made you nervous before and during the gameand who do you think is the best offensive tackle in the game today?

Jiggetts: The toughest player I have ever lined up against is Al Baker. Al played for the Detroit Lions and was always my nemesis. As far as the best offensive tackle in the game today: Jake Long of the Miami Dolphins. He is an outstanding offensive tackle. Jake Long is the goods. I remember back when he was with Michigan, he was a monster.

4) CSNChicago.com: Whats the single best concert youve ever seen in your life and what made it so great?

Jiggetts: The single best concert I have ever been to is Luther Vandross and Vanessa Williams. No explanation needed.

5) CSNChicago.com: Youve been a sports broadcaster now for over a quarter-century and have covered more sporting events than most fans can even imagine. When it came to your post-NFL career, who would you say were your mentors in the broadcasting world when you first started out?
Jiggetts: There were a couple of people when I first started out. First of all, from a local basis, Chet Coppock was one of the guys that were very helpful in terms of getting me started in the business. Both he and Greg Caputo were really helpful in getting me an opportunity to start working in broadcasting. Greg, from the standpoint of being at Fox and in charge of the newsroom at the time, and Chet, being at NBC, getting the opportunity to intern with him and go out to interviews while I was still playing back around 1982.

The other person that was very helpful was Peter Lund, who was at one time the President of CBS Sports and also President of CBS, the company. He also ran WBBM in Chicago and was the reason why and the person who got me involved in network sports, which led to my 15-year career with CBS Sports. I was thankful to him for allowing me that opportunity. What he told me was I had to pay my way through here and that they would give me an opportunity to sit down in front of a monitor and do an audition tape and see where it goes from there. Where it went from there was doing four weeks of the NFL games to doing a full slate of NFL games and 40 some weeks on the road every year. I really prospered from that and I really thank him very much for that opportunity.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Dan, youve pretty much done it all in both collegiate and professional athletics, as well as posting an impressive run as a sports broadcaster for many years nowand youre only 56! However, what fans dont always know is that youre a very proud husband and father who dearly loves his family. What would they say about YOU if asked to describe what youre like around the house in one sentence?

Jiggetts: According to my daughter, Lauren: Mrs. Jiggetts is the enforcer and I am a big teddy bear.

(Note: Wahaj Tariq contributed to this edition of 5 Questions with)

Eloy Jimenez not in Triple-A lineup: Is he rejoining the White Sox on Monday?

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USA TODAY

Eloy Jimenez not in Triple-A lineup: Is he rejoining the White Sox on Monday?

Is Eloy Jimenez’s rehab assignment over?

The rookie outfielder wasn’t in the lineup for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday, a potential indication that Jimenez could be on his way back to rejoining the White Sox for next week’s series against the Houston Astros in the Lone Star State.

Manager Rick Renteria wouldn’t provide a more concrete update on Jimenez than “he’ll be back soon” when asked about the rookie ahead of Sunday’s game on the South Side. But a day earlier, he echoed the team’s hope that Jimenez would be back for the upcoming road trip.

Jimenez has been on the injured list since he sprained his ankle leaping for a home-run ball in an April 26 game against the Detroit Tigers. Add in the three games he missed prior to that contest while spending time on the bereavement list, and Jimenez has taken just one major league at-bat since April 21.

It’s a lot of missed time, and it adds not only to the work he’ll have to do upon return but conjures questions about what kind of effect roughly a month of missed time during his first season in the majors will have on his continued development.

“He's been down, what is it a month right now? It's not a huge step backwards,” Renteria said Sunday. “The reality is it's going to be about how quickly he gets back re-acclimated to all the work he's been doing previous to going down and then continuing to adjust.

“It's the games that are going to give him the experience and the things he needs to do in order to improve in different aspects, whether it's hitting or on the bases or in the outfield. It's the game action that will continue to be the test to see if the work that's being done is actually bearing fruit.”

Jimenez has not gotten off to the red-hot start some expected. The No. 3 prospect in baseball is has a .241/.294/.380 slash line and three homers in his first 21 games as a big leaguer. In five games on the rehab assignment in Charlotte, he slashed .318/.318/.500 with a homer, a double and five strikeouts.

Certainly, though, most fans and observers are confident Jimenez will be fine from an offensive standpoint. It’s the defense that troubles them, and the play on which Jimenez was injured is an example of why. Renteria said there will be plenty of continuing work on that defense as time moves forward, also indicating that Jimenez could see some time as a DH, if only to ease him back from his injury layoff.

“There could be some DH spots, but most of it right now, in terms of his playing time, I've got to manage it because he's been down such a long time,” Renteria said. “Even though he's gone down on the rehab assignment, he's been working, it's not like playing every single day. ... We want to make sure he's come through it well, and obviously if he's joining us, he's come through it well. But just throwing him out there every single day would be, probably, a little premature.

“He's got a lot of work to do. (Outfield coach Daryl Boston is) going to be pushing him in his outfield work. He's going to continue to everything that he has to on the bases, in the box. Everything that you do requires fitness and health, and in order for him to continue to improve he's got to be able to give the effort that's necessary to improve certain skill sets.”

Will we see Jimenez back in the lineup Monday in Houston? We’re still awaiting the official word. But if this is the end of Jimenez’s injury layoff, that’s great news for the White Sox and White Sox fans.

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White Sox still mum about Monday's starter as another option enters the picture

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USA TODAY

White Sox still mum about Monday's starter as another option enters the picture

Who’s going to start for the White Sox on Monday? They’re not saying just yet.

We know it won’t be Manny Banuelos, who’s on the injured list for what the team hopes is a brief stay. But someone has to take his turn in the rotation. Who?

“We're still talking about that as we speak right now,” was all manager Rick Renteria would offer up prior to Sunday’s series-finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Requiring a spot starter isn’t generally of so much interest, but given the fragile state of the White Sox starting staff and the dearth of major league ready starting-pitching depth in the organization, the pure mystery of this has become one worth following.

And considering how Banuelos has performed to this point — he’s got a 9.15 ERA in five starts — fans are looking for any other option that might be able to take his place on a more permanent basis. Given the White Sox liked Banuelos enough to trade for him over the offseason, they’re likely not ready to give up on him quite yet. But Banuelos has been through a ton of injuries prior to his current shoulder strain, and the ongoing negative results aren’t combining to make for a promising mix at the moment.

So what are the most likely options for Monday?

A simple bullpen day could be the most realistic option, especially if Banuelos is only going to miss one start, as he communicated was a possibility earlier in the week. That’s not the ideal way to kick off a four-game series against the Houston Astros, the best team in the American League. And of course it depends on how Renteria needs to deploy his bullpen Sunday. If Reynaldo Lopez can eat up a good chunk of innings after Lucas Giolito pitched all five innings in Saturday’s rain-shortened affair, then the bullpen — which is carrying an extra man with Banuelos on the IL — will be well rested and ready to soak up nine innings Monday night.

Then there are the two new faces down in Charlotte. Ross Detwiler pitched well Tuesday night (10 strikeouts in six one-run innings) and might find his way into the big league rotation at some point. Detwiler, who the White Sox recently plucked out of independent ball, hasn’t made a major league start since 2016. But he was on the hill for Charlotte on Sunday, so scratch him off the list of possibilities for Monday's game in Houston.

The White Sox added Odrisamer Despaigne to the organization Sunday. He’s a five-year major league veteran who was pitching for the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate until a little while ago. He made eight starts there this season and had a 3.92 ERA, with his most recent outing coming May 10.

Those two options seem less of the permanent variety, so maybe a spot start could be in the cards.

What’s pretty certain is that White Sox fans won’t get their wish to see Dylan Cease promoted to make his major league debut Monday night in Houston. Cease is pitching well at Charlotte, but as general manager Rick Hahn has said numerous times, when Cease makes his debut will have nothing to do with a need at the big league level and everything to do with when the White Sox feel he’s ready. The emphasis is on having Cease log innings at Triple-A and get experience pitching at that level. Described as being on a track similar to the one Michael Kopech was on last season, Cease is more likely to debut in July or August than May or June.

This isn’t a list of fantastic options, obviously, and that’s the point. The rest of the Charlotte rotation has been roughed up for huge ERAs or is currently injured, too. The guys at Double-A have a little more future promise and might be allowed to develop further, just like the White Sox are doing with Cease.

It might just be one spot start, but it’s another step in the ongoing saga involving the team’s starting-pitching depth, or lack thereof.

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