White Sox

Jones-Drew says he didn't intend shot at Cutler

Jones-Drew says he didn't intend shot at Cutler

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
10:00 a.m.

Associated Press

Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew says he never meant to take a shot at Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler or question his toughness.

The Jacksonville Jaguars star told The Associated Press on Monday that his tweet comparing Cutler to former Florida coach Urban Meyer was merely a joke - one that clearly backfired.

Jones-Drew said he was rooting for Cutler and the Bears in Sunday's NFC championship game, and when Cutler left in the third quarter, Jones-Drew thought it was the perfect time to poke fun at the Gators.

"Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough........QUIT,'' Jones-Drew posted on his Twitter page.

Jones-Drew has received death threats and plenty of ill will from Bears' fans. The Bears also defended Cutler, who was diagnosed with sprained MCL on Monday.

Jones-Drew was caught off guard by the backlash.

"I never attacked him, called him soft or a sore loser,'' Jones-Drew in a telephone interview Monday. "I never questioned his toughness. I think people took my joke out of context. I was taking at shot at Florida fans.''

Jones-Drew acknowledged that Cutler's injury - the Bears said he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee - was serious enough to leave the game. But when Jones-Drew sent the tweet, he was unaware that anything was wrong with the quarterback.

"All I thought about was being in that position, being in that game,'' Jones-Drew said. "I've never been in a title game, so my first thought was why wouldn't you want to play in that situation.''

Bears fans turned it on Jones-Drew, with many pointing out that he missed the final two games of the season even though the Jaguars were in the AFC postseason hunt. Others said they hope he blows out his knee this season.

Jones-Drew played all season with torn meniscus in his left knee, saying there were days when he would wake up and not be able to walk. He learned the severity of the injury during training camp - he basically had bone scraping against bone - but tried to keep it hidden because he didn't want opponents taking shots at his knee.

The injury became more painful after his sixth consecutive 100-yard game, but he still tried to play at Indianapolis on Dec. 19 - a game in which Jacksonville could have clinched the AFC South. After that, and with the team no longer in control of its destiny, Jones-Drew shut it down.

Cutler's defenders didn't seem to care on Twitter.

"I don't have a problem with people coming back at me,'' Jones-Drew said. "That interaction makes it fun. But some people took it too far by threatening my life. ... I'm not going to stop tweeting. I've never attacked anyone and never will.''

Jones-Drew watched the game "as a fan with friends'' and wanted Cutler to play well since he drafted him in a postseason fantasy football league. He later tweeted that "All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one...''

"I threw out this joke and the backlash came in,'' Jones-Drew said. "I tried to make it right, but it backfired.''

The Bears are still miffed by the tweets. Receiver Earl Bennett, Cutler's teammate at Vanderbilt, called the criticism "very unprofessional.'' Defensive tackle Anthony Adams labeled it "garbage'' and "unfair.''

"I expect them to stick up for Cutler,'' Jones-Drew said. "That's your teammate, that's how this league works. I hope they realize I don't have any hard feelings toward Cutler. I never questioned his toughness. It's not a matter of toughness. You have to be tough to play this game.

"I don't think anyone was questioning his toughness. Some guys were questioning his body language on the sideline at the end of the game. I wasn't even doing that. I was making a joke for the Florida fans and people took it out of context.''

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

machado-sox-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

0521-welington-castillo.jpg
USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.