White Sox

White Sox won't give up on homers

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White Sox won't give up on homers

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rick Hahn has no plans to ditch the long ball.

However the teams newly promoted general manager attempts to make his own mark on the White Sox roster, hes certain his team will always need home run hitters as long as they call U.S. Cellular Field home.

As he addressed the media on the first day of the GM meetings on Wednesday, Hahn said he hopes to diversify the teams offense -- to an extent -- so it no longer lives and dies with homers. But no matter how much he tinkers, he refuses to stray too far from what works on the South Side.

Last season, U.S. Cellular Field yielded 229 home runs in 81 games, second in the majors behind only Yankee Stadium.

Playing in our ballpark and playing in our league, were always going to have to hit home runs to stay in games and win games, Hahn said. So were not going to run away from the home run. Having a more diversified offense, one that involves a little more speed, a little more contact, would help complement the power element and perhaps allow us to ride through some slumps there because of the weather or whatever reason the ball is not leaving the ballpark on a consistent enough basis.

The teams starting pitching depth should afford Hahn the ability to explore ways in which he can improve an offense that struggled mightily down the stretch.

The White Sox hit 211 homers last season, the eighth highest total in franchise history. But a team that finished with five hitters with 25 or more home runs blasted only nine and scored 31 runs in a 2-10 stretch in September that undid a potential postseason run.

With six starting pitchers under team control, Hahn could trade from a strength to help a team that finished with a .318 on-base percentage, which ranked seventh in the American League.

Perhaps the White Sox biggest chip on the trade market is starting pitcher Gavin Floyd, who is under contract for 2013 for 9.25 million.

With few top of the line pitchers available in free agency, pitching help is expected to be available only at premium prices this offseason.

Not only is Floyd affordable, hes also durable having made at least 29 starts in five straight seasons.

On Wednesday, Hahn confirmed he has had plenty of discussions with other teams regarding potential trades, though he didnt address names. But Hahn last week said he believed the White Sox would be popular in trade talks because of their pitching depth.

Hahn said on Wednesday he isnt certain he wants to mess with his rotation.

But two National League executives said they think Floyd is one of the top available options in trade behind Tampa Bays James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson and one noted he believes the White Sox could yield an everyday starting position player out of a deal.

Even before we got here we had some conversations, Hahn said. A lot of this is about foundations for future deals. I wouldnt necessarily expect anything in the coming days. Well see where it goes.

Though Hahn might acquiesce to some of manager Robin Venturas wishes --- he might bring in more speed or a line drive hitter to shake up a lineup loaded with power --- he wont give up on the long ball.

He cant.

Were not going to skew the home run hitter, Hahn said. We need that. Thats still going to be mothers milk in our ballpark. But to be able to diversify the offensive attack would be a nice complement. To find complements certainly will make us a better offense overall.

Marlins pitcher puts White Sox on Perfecto Watch on anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Marlins pitcher puts White Sox on Perfecto Watch on anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Rick Renteria called it "eerie."

Ten years to the day after Mark Buehrle delivered one of the most memorable moments in White Sox history with a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, there was another Perfecto Watch on the South Side.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Caleb Smith didn't reach "call your neighbors" territory, but he retired the first 17 batters he faced in order, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning Tuesday night against the White Sox.

"I'll be honest, it was a little eerie for us," Renteria said after the 5-1 loss. "I kept thinking, I wasn't here 10 years ago for that. And he was working that, and I was like, 'Hey, (pitching coach Don Cooper), I don't like what I'm seeing here.'"

Smith was excellent, striking out nine of those first 17 hitters he put down in order. On a night when White Sox fans were celebrating the anniversary of Buehrle's feat, this was not the type of celebration they had in mind.

"You start to see," White Sox shortstop Ryan Goins said. "Anybody says they don’t feel it, he can say he doesn’t feel it but everybody knows the perfect game is going on. ... But he did a god job keeping us off-balance today."

The White Sox broke up the Perfecto Watch with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Adam Engel putting an end to Smith's stretch of five consecutive strikeouts with a walk. Leury Garcia followed that with a walk of his own, and Jon Jay put an end to the no-hit bid and the shutout with an RBI single.

Smith gave up a base hit to AJ Reed the following inning, but he finished his effort with one run and just four base runners allowed over seven innings. Smith's had himself a nice season for the last-place Marlins, his ERA down to 3.30 after Tuesday night's game.

The four base runners the White Sox got against Smith were the only ones they had on a silent night for the bats. A pair of Marlins relievers followed up Smith's work with two 1-2-3 innings. The White Sox struck out 10 times.

A decade later, Renteria might have been one of the few in the White Sox dugout putting the history together with what was happening on the field Tuesday night, but that didn't make Smith any less dominant on the anniversary of Buehrle's dominance.

"I don’t think we are thinking that far back," Goins said. "We are just trying to go up there and have good at-bats, honestly. He did a great job of not really leaving anything in the middle of the plate to hit, mixing his pitches up and throwing everything for a strike. And then throwing chase pitches when he needed to."

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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yoan Moncada is Mr. Clean (up)

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yoan Moncada is Mr. Clean (up)

Bill Melton and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on this edition of Baseball Night in Chicago.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: