Results tagged ‘ Bobby Jenks ’

Jenks exits with back spasms

Bobby Jenks exited Thursday night’s game with the Twins with back spasms after facing three batters in the top of the ninth inning. Jenks retired Alexi Casilla on a pop up, but then gave up a single to Denard Span and walked Orlando Hudson on four pitches.

After walking Hudson, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen could be seen asking Jenks from the dugout if he was ok. Guillen and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider came to the mound and Jenks soon departed. The right-hander was inactive this past weekend in Baltimore due to back soreness but pitched a scoreless inning in Tuesday’s loss.

Jenks on the spot–fair or not

There wasn’t much Bobby Jenks could say about his stiff back upon arriving at the White Sox clubhouse in Camden Yards Sunday morning. At that point, he hadn’t even tested the troublesome area.

So, Jenks simply gave a thumbs-up sign to the interested media and said his back was fine about an hour before playing long toss with Scott Linebrink on the field.

As for Jenks’ hold on the closer’s role, that status has become a bit more tenuous.

An argument could be made as to how the extreme scrutiny on every blown save or late loss coming from Jenks is a bit unfair. Here is a man who has been one of the game’s best closers over the past six years and truly one of the most important additions ever made to the White Sox franchise.

And take the same sort of struggles faced by Jenks since the All-Star break and apply them out to a hitter, as an example. If Alex Rios goes 0-for-30, he certainly won’t lose his starting job in center field. Then again, Rios might get a day or two off to get things back in order at the plate–all purely hypothetical, of course.

So, look at J.J. Putz’s move to the closer’s role as being more about Jenks’ back stiffness and a chance for him to regroup.

“I never take the job away from him because he blow a game,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Jenks. “He blow the game in (Game 2 of) the World Series, and the next day he was my guy. I just worry about what I see and what my pitching coach sees.

“You look at the record, and I don’t say we do him a favor. I have faith in him to be my closer, and you look at (Matt) Thornton and Putz and the way they throw the ball all year long, I don’t worry about that. I know those guys are going to do their job.

“Bobby has a lot of setbacks. Calve, back,” Guillen said. “He come out and pitch good for us. He does, and I never will take someone’s job just because.”

Since the second half began, Jenks has posted a 0-2 record with a 10.56 ERA. He blew a save in Seattle on July 21. He blew a save in Detroit on Aug. 5. He lost a game in Minneapolis on July 18.

Maybe Jenks doesn’t like working on getaway days. In all seriousness, just as Mark Buehrle goes through stretches of starts where opposing teams knock him around the ballpark, Jenks will not be perfect in every save opportunity. His rough outings gain greater notoriety because they obviously come at the end.

Guillen didn’t feel the need to explain his thought process to Jenks. He’s just waiting for his reliever to get fully healthy before possibly making him his closer again.

“When Bobby tells me ‘I’m healthy,’ (White Sox pitching coach Don) Cooper and myself have a job to do to put him on the spot to see how he throws,” Guillen said. “And then we make a decision. I’m not the type of guy to say, ‘You ready?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘OK here it is.’ I don’t think that’s fair for a ballclub.

“To me, the team is first, that’s it. And I’m going to give the team the best shot to win. I don’t say Bobby is not the best shot to win because I always say, if Bobby’s our closer, this bullpen will be better. But if not, we’ll find a way to do it.”

In a tight battle for the American League Central title, it’s all about what have you done for me lately–whether that reasoning is fair or not.

“Every day you come here you have to prove yourself,” Guillen said. “As a manager, as a coach, as a media member. If I’m going to read your stuff, I don’t want to read the same stuff every day.

“Players, coaches, trainers. Everybody that has a job has to prove themselves every day and show everybody how good they are. That’s it. No matter who you are, you have to come here every day and prove yourself. That’s how good players think. ‘I have to be better than yesterday.’

“Life is about that, to prove to people you’re good every day,” Guillen said. “It doesn’t just have to be once a week. It isn’t just about Bobby, it’s everybody. And that’s just how life is, unfortunately.”

 

Jenks shrugs off doubters

Bobby Jenks was warming up in the bullpen Wednesday night, getting ready to come in and protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning against the Mariners, as he has done so many times before at U.S. Cellular Field.

But something was a little different on this night. At least one fan was a bit more focused on a blown save in Seattle last week and a tough ninth-inning loss he suffered against Minnesota on the first Sunday of the second half then his overall body of work.

“Before I got in the game, some (idiot) was out there telling me I (stink),” Jenks told MLB.com after striking out the side for his 21st save. “You know, where has he been the last six years that I’ve been doing my job?

“Situations like that, it bothers me a little bit. But not enough to where it affects me. I look at it and say, ‘Who is this guy? Does he know baseball?’

“Is he a fan or just a numbers guy and looks at the numbers and judges where I’m at. And obviously my numbers aren’t good,” said a defiant Jenks with a laugh. “I’ve had a few bad ones so far. All and all, in save situations, I’ve been doing my job when I’ve been healthy out there.”

Jenks has served as the White Sox full-time closer for the past five years. Arguably, the hard-throwing right-hander, who touched 99 mph on his fastball against the Mariners, stands as one of the most important White Sox additions in the last decade and possibly longer than that particular time frame.

The 2005 squad was dominant from start to finish in winning the team’s first World Series title in almost nine decades. But Jenks became that missing late-inning piece, with Dustin Hermanson injured, plucked by the White Sox from their system without losing a player via the trade route.

Since becoming the team’s last line of pitching defense, Jenks has amassed 167 saves to put him second behind Bobby Thigpen’s 201 career saves on the all-time franchise list. He was the second-fastest to 100 career saves behind Seattle’s Kaz Sasaki in Major League Baseball history, needing just 187 games, and of course, tied the Major League record of 41 consecutive batters retired in 2007, a mark since broken by teammate Mark Buehrle.

Yet, Jenks believes the respect he deserves is not always afforded to him–from the media, fans and even the organization, although he doesn’t come out and say it. Jenks knows how he simply has to save his talking for the field, as he did on Wednesday, by knocking down Franklin Gutierrez, Russell Branyan and Justin Smoak on strikes.

Blowing saves is part of a closer’s job, and it also is the one time a closer is sure to get attention. The veteran Jenks is able to separate his own feelings about the role he has talked about being born to fulfill with important perspective on what the team needs to be successful.

“Regardless of what happens, everyone on the bench is under a lot of pressure, and winning the division is the most important thing,” Jenks said. “If a certain situation calls for where (manager Ozzie Guillen) thinks I’m struggling, and maybe I am, and three lefties are coming up or two lefties and a righty, and (Guillen) goes to (left-hander Matt) Thornton, I got to understand a little bit because it’s still a team of 25 guys.

“It hurts a little. Yeah, I’m not going to lie. But it’s part of the game and you have to roll with it some time. When you do get the ball, go out there and do what you know how to do best. Hopefully, it turns things around and gets it going again.”

Before the road struggles, Jenks had recorded 15 straight saves. He hopes Wednesday’s domination starts another string of at least 15 and points up one of the game’s elite closers, even if one fan on Wednesday might disagree.

“He had two bad games, and it (stinks) for a closer or a bullpen to go out there and have one bad inning and everyone kind of wants your head, you’re losing your job,” said Mark Buehrle, who had a no-decision in Wednesday’s victory. “I think everybody has confidence in him. He has to go out there and continue to do what he’s doing now.”

Week in Quotes

At the end of each week during Spring Training and hopefully beyond, I’ll try to give you a little flavor from the past seven days of White Sox action with some of the more telling or even humorous quotes. Here’s a look from the first week of action in Arizona, in no particular order.

1. “People talk about trade deadlines and offseasons and timing on things. We are always looking to take that next step to get us that much better. That goes for today and the trading deadline season. All that means is other clubs are more apt to want to do things and if something arises where we have a need, regardless of where that need is, we are going to try to fill it.”
–White Sox general manager Ken Williams on the team’s aggressive philosophy in pursuit of top talent.

2. “We do things right, then we are out of here quick. If we play around and we do the wrong thing, throw to the wrong bases, and don’t take ground balls seriously or run the bases seriously, we are going to be out there for a long time. The best we work, we out of here.

“I’m not going to babysit them. It’s not an instructional league. You are in the big leagues for a reason. I’m not supposed to teach you here. We are supposed to remind you about what goes on with baseball.”
–Manager Ozzie Guillen, explaining White Sox players will dictate how long they are on the field for practice each day.

3. “Make sure you take that young guy under your wing and show him the ropes.”
–Guillen to Freddy Garcia, whose Spring Training locker is situated next to 22-year-veteran Omar Vizquel.

4. “This is a different type of team. We are not the slugging White Sox that hit 250 home runs and go base to base. But that’s a good thing.”
–White Sox veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the change in philosophy on offense for 2010.

5. “I’m always asked that question and I just want to get as many at-bats as I can get. That’s what I’m looking for. Ozzie is the king of making that lineup and wherever he puts me, I’ll be happy.”
–Carlos Quentin on the ideal spot for him to hit in the lineup.

6. “It’s extremely strange. I talked to both a good bit this winter. They are dear friends for life, and I have a great deal of respect for them and their fabulous careers. But more than that, I have a lot of respect for them as people. I know the fans appreciate all they did for us. It was an honor to coach them, and when I retire and look back, those two are right up at the top of my list to be around.”
–Hitting coach Greg Walker on not having Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye in camp.

7. “I don’t want to bring up names, but you take Jermaine. I remember Jermaine telling me at the end of the year, ‘If I don’t like what I see during the offseason or I don’t get what I want, and that doesn’t mean money, it means just the situation and everything I want, I have no problem, I’m happy to not go play. I’ll maybe go during the season if someone asks me, but I’m content with that.’ I would say that would probably be my mindset, where I’m not going to force something if it’s not there because I have other things, I have a perspective of what’s important and what isn’t.”
–Team captain Paul Konerko, on possibly not playing after his contract runs out following this season if he doesn’t find the right fit.

8. “The bottom line is when you get [weather] like this, you have to be like the Marines – adapt and overcome.”
–Pitching coach Don Cooper, on making workout adjustments during a rare Arizona rainy period.

9. “Getting [drunk] every night. Let’s put it plain and simple. When I took a long, hard look at myself and saw where I was headed, at that point, I was headed in the wrong direction.”
–Closer Bobby Jenks, who came into camp in phenomenal condition, on why he stopped drinking during the offseason.

10. “Joey and everyone were praising him and saying how great he looks. He said, ‘I’m on a mission. I’m the best center fielder you have here.’ And Joey said, ‘Well, you should be there are only pitchers and catchers in camp.’ Line of the day.”
–Williams, at the start of camp, recounting a conversation between Andruw Jones and bench coach Joey Cora.

11. “If that thing offends anyone, beat it because I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this ballclub. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this organization or Major League Baseball, period.”
–Guillen on the one-day Twitter-gate, after the entertaining manager started his own account, which is now up to 29,203 followers in less than one week.

12. “I’m really not a Facebook or Twitter guy. I’m a prime rib and baked potato guy. I hate to say that but it’s true. Maybe somebody should teach me.”
–Cubs manager Lou Piniella, when asked about the Guillen Twitter controversy.

13. “I’m ticked. We need to get the word out.”
–A smiling Mark Teahen on Guillen’s total of followers on Twitter surpassing the total for the followers of his popular dog, ESPY Teahen.

14. “I stopped pitching freshman year in high school. I closed then and used to throw hard.”
–Sergio Santos, who is making the successful switch from infielder to reliever with a fastball in the range of 98 mph.

15. “You mean Babe? Yeah. He’s a natural. Freaks like that just don’t happen. Don’t go looking for another Buehrle.”
–Scott Linebrink, when asked if Mark Buehrle, who hit his first career home run last year, would be the best candidate to follow Santos and go from pitcher to position player.

16. “I was happy to see him smiling and at peace with his decision and his family was around. I thought it was great. It was a great turn out from the Chicago media and it played well when it went out that night.”
–Williams on Frank Thomas’ retirement ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field.

17. “It was big for us. There were a lot of losing years. I got a chance to go to it, since it was in Miami, and I live there. They are still partying back there. That’s why it snowed in Louisiana.”
–Juan Pierre, on his beloved New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.

18. “Good for the city? Try the whole state. It’s been a big party down there since it happened.”
–White Sox 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell, who played baseball and football at LSU, talking about the effect of the Saints’ Super Bowl win on New Orleans.

19. “They gave me an opportunity, and I didn’t put up numbers. So, this is where I find myself.”
–Cole Armstrong, once the White Sox catcher of the future, with a refreshing look at now being in camp as a non-roster invite.

20. “I still feel like I’m a productive player and feel like I can contribute, but teams want me as a backup player, and that’s something I’m not ready to do. I feel undervalued, basically. I don’t think I have to go out there and prove anything to anyone. My numbers the last five or six years show I can help someone.”
–Dye, speaking to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, concerning his shock to still be without a Major League job.

(Personal Bonus): “No, Merkin. I’m the animal whisperer and got that animal to lie down in front of me.”
–Pierzynski, showing off of a special calendar featuring the big game hunted on an African safari he took with Aaron Rowand and their wives. The response was to my question as to whether the mammoth animal in front of him really was dead.

Saturday tidbits

The potential signing of free agent outfielder Johnny Damon had a direct effect on both Daniel Hudson and Andruw Jones.

If Damon had come on board, the White Sox designated hitter-by-committee plan would have been scrapped and a very determined Jones would have been searching for at-bats. Damon’s presence also probably would have reduced Ozzie Guillen’s pitching staff from 12 to 11, meaning a long relief spot would have been vacated, and Hudson would have started the season starting for Triple-A Charlotte.

To the credit of both these players, they kept any personal concerns to themselves in regard to these negotiations. They actually deferred to the good of the White Sox.

“That’s none of my business,” Jones said. “That’s the team looking to get better or doing what they need to do to get where we need to get. I don’t think about all of that stuff. I know I’m mentally ready and physically ready.”

“I’ve heard about it a lit a bit, and obviously it’s a great bat to add to the lineup,” Hudson said. “Whatever helps the team win, I’m all for it.”

Hudson and Jones can breathe a little easier, as Damon opted for a one-year deal with the Tigers, pending a Sunday physical. Jones’ roster spot is secure, but Hudson will try to parlay last year’s success into the seventh and final relief opening on the 2010 staff. If the soon-to-be 23-year-old has any nerves jumping around inside for his first big-league camp, they certainly aren’t getting through his calm exterior.

“My mindset is to throw as well as I can and make the decision really hard for them,” Hudson said. “It’s really out of my hands after that.

“I feel like no matter what the roster situation, if they feel you can contribute, they will make room for you,” Hudson said.

Hello, Old Friend: Jones played the 1998 and 1998 seasons with Guillen in Atlanta. So, suiting up for the White Sox manager in 2010 won’t present any sort of unexpected challenge.

“Everybody hears so much stuff about Ozzie. He’s a great guy and he knows a lot about the game,” Jones said. “I had an opportunity to play with him in Atlanta for a year and I learned a lot from him.

“He was always on my butt to go out there and produce every day. Now, to get a chance to play under him as a manager, it’s going to be a good experience. I think on paper, we’ve got a good team to go to the World Series and win it. It’s all about getting it together and staying healthy.”

Jones admits to having lost a step or two in regard to his one-time flawless defense in center field. But the veteran was almost defiant when stressing how he still can play the outfield if given the chance.

“The judgment of me not being able to go out there and play center field anymore, that was the big thing that motivated me more to get my legs right,” Jones said. “So if they put me out there, I’m going to get the job done.”

Camelback Changes: A once barren Camelback Ranch corridor, with the White Sox clubhouse and training room on either side, now features famous franchise historical photos on the far wall. They range from countless 2005 World Series celebratory shots to pictures of Mark Buehrle’s 2010 perfect game and 2007 no-hitter to the team’s trip to the White House last year. The faces of Buehrle and Josh Fields are blocked out by other players standing in front of them in that particular group shot.

Heavy Traffic Area: Lockers against the wall to the far left as you walk into the clubhouse line up as Paul Konerko, Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Omar Vizquel, Jake Peavy, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks. That sector figures to be heavily populated by the media on a daily basis during Spring Training.

Teahen, White Sox agree to three-year deal

The White Sox third baseman of the present also became their third baseman of the immediate future when Mark Teahen and the team agreed to a three-year, $14-million contract on Tuesday, avoiding arbitration.

Teahen, 28, who was acquired by the White Sox from Kansas City on Nov. 6 in exchange for Chris Getz and Josh Fields, will earn $3.75 million in 2010, $4.75 million in 2011 and $5.5 million in 2012. Teahen was eligible to become a free agent following the 2011 season.

During the 2009 season for the Royals, Teahen hit .271 with a career-high 34 doubles, adding in 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 144 games. He started 99 games at third base, 31 in right field and three at second, but at this point, looks to be anchored at third for the White Sox.

Tuesday’s announcement leaves the White Sox with five arbitration eligible players in Bobby Jenks, D.J. Carrasco, Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Tony Pena.

More from Ken Williams

Even with three stories soon to be up on whitesox.com, focused on Kenny Williams’ Winter Meetings thoughts, there are still a few more nuggets of information from the White Sox general manager to be shared. So, here they are.

CLOSING TIME
Bobby Jenks is not being actively shopped, according to Williams, who has not had one present offseason trade talk concerning the burly right-hander to date. This assessment doesn’t mean Williams won’t listen to offers for Jenks at the Winter Meetings. In fact, Williams expects Jenks to be a topic of conversation at Indianapolis.

“He’s one of the game’s better closers and people need closers,” Williams said. “But so do we.”

A more in-depth look at the Jenks’ dynamic and the White Sox bullpen will be on the site today.

RUMOR MILL CHURNING
Williams claimed to not have even heard the recent rumor concerning a three-way trade involving the White Sox, Padres and Angels, a rumor termed as preliminary discussions for sending Adrian Gonzalez to the White Sox, Paul Konerko to the Angels and a plethora of prospects to the Padres. The Angels were never involved in such a deal, but check out the following by-play with Williams as representative of possible Gonzalez interest. Well, it just might show interest, as of course, nothing was said directly.

I asked Williams if he had talked to Jake Peavy during this offseason, trying to get a gauge on Peavy’s fire and preparedness for his first full season in Chicago. Williams told me that the two had spoken, with Williams needing to ask Peavy about a player from another team to whom he had interest.

“He’s already pumped up,” said Williams of Peavy.

When I asked Williams if that player he asked Peavy about was Gonzalez, he responded with a quick “No comment.”

Now, Williams could have just been throwing out a standard response when a media member asks him about a specific player. He might have been asking Peavy about catcher Henry Blanco, who played in San Diego last year and has drawn the White Sox interest. Williams has been known to seek out his veterans to get a feel for how a particular trade target would fit on the roster and the clubhouse, much more so than his talent.

Most White Sox fans surveyed would list Gonzalez as a perfect fit, and remember Williams never shies away from inquiring about top talent. He even asked about Johan Santana before the Twins traded him to the Mets.

“If you’re good, I’ve asked about you,” said Williams with a laugh.

WAIT AND SEE
Don’t expect talks to begin any time soon in extending catcher A.J. Pierzynski or first baseman Paul Konerko, whose multi-year deals expire after 2010.

“Way too early,” Williams said. “I’ve got to look at so much focus on 2010. That’s something I can’t focus on.”

ALL ABOUT ANDRUW

The expediency with which Andruw Jones signed with the White Sox, not to mention the $500,000 as the agreed upon salary, with incentives that could add on another $1 million, proves Jones truly wants to play for the White Sox.

“He’s been a great player for a long time and has gotten derailed doing some things that really isn’t his game,” said Williams of Jones. “But he and Ozzie have a great rapport.

“Andruw knows he’s coming here in a backup role. It’s always a key, when talking about a player who has amassed the numbers and accomplishments he has amassed, to be accepting of his role.

“But he really, really wanted to be here,” Williams said. “He wanted to be a part of what we are trying to do. That combination, the player and the dollars, it makes sense for us.”

Williams also knows that he has a player who could be something special if he returns to past form. As for not pursuing Jones prior to the 2008 season, after fellow center field aces Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand and even Kosuke Fukudome wound up with different teams, Williams explained how the two-year, $36 million deal Jones eventually signed with the Dodgers didn’t even factor into the White Sox lack of interest.

“I didn’t make one phone call to Scott Boras,” said Williams of talking with Jones’ representative in the 2007 offseason. “And that’s not because we didn’t like the player. It simply was because we had our sights set on a different target.”

Guillen already has talked to his friend about coming to Glendale in the best possible physical condition.

“Ozzie has advised Andruw that it’s in his best interest to show up in shape,” Williams said. “But the good thing about Andruw is he knows who Ozzie is and what he is about and didn’t shy away from the challenge.”

NAME GAME
Remember the names Daniel Hudson, Lucas Harrell, Jhonny Nunez, Jon Link, Sergio Santos and Randy Williams. If the White Sox don’t add a veteran reliever, these young hurlers will fill out the final two spots in the White Sox bullpen.

Cooper expects step up in 2010 from Jenks

Pitching coach Don Cooper tempers his look to the future with the fact that the White Sox still have two games remaining to play to complete the 2009 campaign.

But Cooper already has started putting together thoughts about individual improvements to benefit the whole staff in 2010, and one of those targets is closer Bobby Jenks.

“Bobby needs to pick up next year with a better season than he had this year,” said Cooper, when asked to assess the White Sox staff prior to Friday’s series opener in Detroit. “Bobby has run into a few things this year.”

Jenks battled through problems with kidney stones this season that were basically out of his control. He also was shut down last week with a strained right calf. Cooper mentioned an ongoing back issue, though, that might have contributed to Jenks’ 3.71 ERA and 29 saves in 35 chances–still good numbers but not equal to his lofty previous standards.

“Bobby has had a little bit of a back issue for two years and we can’t put our finger on exactly why,” Cooper said. “It’s kind of a freak thing. And Bobby had the calf thing.

“We have to look into somehow, someway trying to avoid two of those things because I don’t know if there’s much you can do about kidney stones. We have to try to look into each individual guy and what can we do to put them in better position so we don’t lose their availability.”

The White Sox closer, who has 146 career saves in 168 opportunities, could once again be the subject of offseason trade rumors. He figures to get an increase through arbitration from his $5.6 million salary in 2009, and the White Sox have another viable closer option in Matt Thornton. But Cooper is operating under the assumption that Jenks will be back as his last line of pitching defense, looking for ways to strengthen his attack.

Jenks done for the 2009 season

Bobby Jenks is done for the year after suffering a pulled right calf muscle during pregame workouts at U. S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.

“I heard the pop, felt it and it’s not good,” said Jenks, after the White Sox dropped an 8-6 decision to the Twins. “It’s unfortunate with the timing with everything, the way our team has been going. All together, it’s one (bad) deal.”

The White Sox closer explained how he had a slight strain of the same area in Seattle last week. But the extra effort given on Tuesday pushed the injury too far.

“During stretch and warm-ups, I went a little overboard and did a little too much,” Jenks said. “I guess I wasn’t happy with the slight strain. I had to do it all the way.”

Jenks back on track

Bobby Jenks does not want to rehash the pain he went through during the past week while dealing with kidney stones. And when you think about it, who can blame him?

“We are talking baseball,” said Jenks, politely but directly with a smile, when asked after Saturday’s 8-5 victory over the Indians, during which he recorded the final two outs, to describe what this last week was like for him.

But here’s the important piece of information to come out of Saturday’s solid performance by one of the game’s best closers, aside from the fact that he’s pitching at 80 or 90 percent healthy. This kidney stone issue began while the White Sox were on their seven game road trip to Detroit and Minneapolis and messed with his mechanics, which could account, in part, for his recent mound woes. That problem was resolved through the passing of one and a procedure to blast the other one away.

“Before when I was having pains, I was off mechanically,” Jenks said. “Now, I’m sound again and healthy. My alignment is right and everything is going toward the plate.

“It carried in here to when we got home. It started three or four outings when I noticed all the back pain. I just associated it with pitching. I didn’t know the difference at the time. Looking back, I can put one and one together. At the time, it was throwing me off a little bit.”

Having Jenks healthy and fresh becomes just another important piece the White Sox need down the stretch to overtake Detroit and hold off Minnesota.

–Here’s a little bit more from Williams on the waiver process and claiming players.

“You’d be hard pressed to find good players that teams put claims on that are just let go for no compensation,” Williams said. “I’m not confirming or denying any interest or any claims or anything, but if these things get out on a daily basis, boy, it’s going to be a heck of an August around here in terms of how many players you claim and how many you don’t claim. It will make your head spin if you follow each report.

“A lot of players get claimed every day. Why is this a big deal?”

Williams was asked about adding a pitcher, such as John Smoltz, who was designated for assignment by Boston this week. But he likes what already is in place for the starting rotation, not to mention Jake Peavy’s arrival at the end of August.

“John Smoltz is one of the best pitchers in baseball history,” Williams said. “He certainly deserves the respect to take a look at, but I’m very cognizant of the makeup we have now and the team chemistry we have now, aside from A.J. (Pierzynski), we’re pretty good.”

That team chemistry idea, with everyone pulling from the same rope, might leave the roster intact as it is now.

“The only thing we need? Quit making errors,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen with a laugh.

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