Results tagged ‘ Freddy Garcia ’

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.

Be prepared

During the final days of the 2009 regular season, Ozzie Guillen made it abundantly clear as to how White Sox players were expected to come ready to play from the first day of Spring Training, 2010 in mid-February. Don’t use that time at Camelback Ranch to first get going.

Those same strong comments were made by general manager Ken Williams during his last chat with the media and by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a talk with the players before batting practice on the final home weekend. Simply put, the White Sox brass was not going to tolerate another sub-par year such as the one just completed.

Apparently, a few weeks away from his team’s 79-83 finish haven’t softened Guillen’s stance on this particular topic.

“Kenny and Jerry made it clear to everyone–come ready to play in Spring Training,” said Guillen during a Tuesday conference call, in which he discussed the team, as well as Gordon Beckham’s selection as one of the 2009 Sporting News Rookies of the Year.

“We expect to win next year, like we expect to win every year,” Guillen said. “So, they better be prepared.”

Guillen’s conference call response came at the end of a question concerning Freddy Garcia. The veteran right-hander, who closed out his 2009 campaign with seven quality starts in his last eight trips to the mound, had his $1 million 2010 option picked up by the White Sox.

The starting rotation alignment has Garcia currently penciled in at No. 5, a hidden luxury when considering Garcia’s vast pitching knowledge and big-game success. But despite Garcia and Guillen basically being family members, Garcia won’t be cut any extra slack if he shows up to Glendale out of shape.

“Freddy know what he have to do, and if he’s not ready for Spring Training, then we make a move,” Guillen said. “I’m not going to babysit him. But he has to stay strong for him, not just for us. Just work hard and take care of himself. Freddy won’t have any problem.

“Everyone has that same responsibility. Jerry made it clear. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. If you are not prepared, we will find another home for you.”

White Sox weekend pitching alignment

Just for official clarification, from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, Jake Peavy will start the series opener Friday against Detroit. Freddy Garcia will pitch Saturday night’s contest. Daniel Hudson is expected to start the 2009 home finale.

Thursday tidbits

Stop me if you’ve heard this tale before.

Bartolo Colon is out of action, on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow, this time. And Ozzie Guillen is not really sure where the burly right-hander currently is rehabbing.

“No, he’s not here,” said Guillen with a laugh. “That’s hard to find out. That’s the hardest question you ask me, where is Colon?”

Guillen doesn’t see Colon pitching for the White Sox “in the next 20 days” because he has to go on rehab assignments again. Don’t look for Colon to work for the White Sox again this year, unless Jose Contreras continues to struggle, not with Jake Peavy and Freddy Garcia coming back from injuries, and Minor Leaguer Carlos Torres probably providing the same level of efficiency as the veteran.

–Shortstop Alexei Ramirez will return to the lineup on Friday against Cleveland and southpaw starter Jeremy Sowers. Ramirez conceivably could end up hitting ninth against right-handed pitchers, with Guillen not wanting to put the left-handed hitting Chris Getz and Scott Podsednik back-to-back in the lineup.

Gordon Beckham stays in the second spot until further notice.

“Every time we change the lineup, I try to get the guy hot,” Guillen said. “The day I did it with Ramirez was just because he was swinging the bat better, and plus batting second he’s going to see better pitches. That’s why I did it there. Right now, I’m going to give the most at bats to my best hitter.”

–Asked before the game, Guillen found it hard to name a season-long MVP for his team.

“Wow. They’re not playing that good. They’re not playing that bad,” Guillen said. “I think this month, Beckham. I think PK (Paul Konerko) and JD (Jermaine Dye) are playing unbelievable.

“They’re playing well. And the pitching staff, even with Mark Buehrle doing what he did, I think Matt Thornton. Matt has been our savior. There’s no doubt about it. Matt is having a tremendous year.”

–Here’s a couple quotes from Mark Buehrle, who seemingly did his one millionth post perfect game interview today on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

On the recently concluded Mark Buehrle Appreciation Series:

“To me, it’s kinda weird because you don’t usually get appreciated until you retire,” Buehrle said. “They actually asked me to throw out the first pitch one game. I told them I’d still catch it but I don’t care to throw out a first pitch until I’m retired. It’s hectic and I’ve obviously been doing a lot of stuff. But it’s been well worth it.”

On the ramifications of the Peavy deal:

“Obviously, the (Padres) kept coming up and telling him he had to be moved,” Buehrle said. “But I think (John) Danks and Gavin (Floyd) and I have talked and if not this year then for next year we’re excited when he’s healthy and gets back having us four guys from the start of next season.

“Hopefully, he comes back healthy this year and we can get back in the playoffs and it’ll be a fun run. But we got some good things to look forward to the next couple of years.”

On how he would like his next perfect game celebrated:

“By not talking to the media,” Buehrle said. “Is that possible?”

About that Metrodome state of mind

Minnesota’s three-game sweep of the White Sox earlier this week now stands as nothing but a not-so-distant memory after this strong series effort against the Yankees. But when the White Sox visit the Metrodome again later this season, in what could be a crucial three-game set with huge American League Central title ramifications from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, Scott Podsednik already is asking for an adjustment from his team.

“We really need to change our mindset in the Metrodome,” Podsednik said. “We read a little bit in too much of how we perform there in the past. We psyche ourselves out.

“So, just change our mindset and attitude going in there. We kind of put ourselves behind the eight ball going in there before we even play the games. It was nice to try to erase what we did on the road, to come back and bounce back the way we’ve played here.”

The White Sox have a 4-17 record in their last 21 games played at the Metrodome, so Podsednik’s comments hold great merit.

–Remember, you can find me now on Twitter @scottmerkin.

–Freddy Garcia threw five scoreless innings Saturday night for Bristol, allowing one hit, and striking out two without a walk. Pitching coach Don Cooper believes Garcia is close to being ready to help the White Sox.

“He’s not that far off,” Cooper said. “We started a plan with him. He’s done well on the plan set up. But we don’t want to rush that plan near the finish line. He’s not far from being done.”

Garcia moved to Bristol with Class A Kannapolis embarking on a road trip. Speaking of Kannapolis, Jared Mitchell’s average has dipped to .286 in the midst of a 1-for-14 slump. Mitchell was the White Sox top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Never count out Williams

The date was May 21 and my friend Beth and her friend, Sonja (not sure if that’s the correct spelling of her name, but it will be for this purpose) decided to go to Market for some food and a few beverages after the White Sox game that Thursday afternoon. Market, for those outside of Chicago or those who are tragically un-hip in the city, is the restaurant/sports bar/club where White Sox general manager Ken Williams has an ownership stake.

I mentioned to Beth that Williams might be there, and I would make proper introductions if we ran into him. But I also put out the warning that he might not be in the best of moods. After all, on that afternoon, Jake Peavy decided against waiving his no-trade clause to come from the Padres to the White Sox AND Minnesota pummeled the White Sox into submission by a 20-1 count.

But when we found Williams, sitting at a back table, holding court with the plethora of patrons and watching the Nuggets-Lakers playoff contest on television with a few friends, he couldn’t have been in better spirits. The bad loss to Minnesota can be easily brushed off-20-1 counts the same in the standings as 2-1. At that point, though, Williams must have understood what the rest of us didn’t really comprehend– Peavy said no for the moment but didn’t rule out the White Sox completely.

In hindsight, Friday’s trade by the White Sox shouldn’t have been such a surprise–even though Padres general manager Kevin Towers said he didn’t expect Peavy to be traded when he woke up that morning. You see, Williams and his staff don’t go haphazardly into making moves. It’s not like he wakes up one morning, thinks “You know what, I would like to get Player X” and suddenly starts pursuing him.

The White Sox come prepared, targeting certain players who fit the team, the city and U.S. Cellular Field, in some cases, for years at a time. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Williams say, “I’ve been after this player for X amount of years” after a trade, well, I would have enough money to at least buy a drink at Market, maybe two.

Williams looks to have provided the White Sox with a boost to go deep into the 2009 postseason, assuming the White Sox reach the playoffs, depending on how Peavy’s right ankle recovers. Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks stand as a formidable starting quartet. He also already has taken care of his major offseason shopping where the pitching staff is concerned.

Think about it–Williams might add a fifth starter, although Freddy Garcia is coming quickly, and one reliever. Otherwise, he’s pretty well set.

I should have known Friday was predominantly too quiet for the Trade Deadline day where Williams was concerned. Then again, I shouldn’t have forgotten about Peavy from two months ago.

By the way, try the turkey burger if you make the trip over to Randolph St. and stop at Market, which I highly recommend.

Bartolo Colon out; Randy Williams up

Bartolo Colon was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation retroactive to July 25, prior to Wednesday night’s series finale at the Metrodome, which basically means Clayton Richard’s exit from the starting rotation amounted to absolutely zero skipped starts.

My best guess is Gavin Floyd, who pitched Saturday in Detroit, will work the series opener against the Yankees on Thursday and Richard will pitch on Friday–both on regular rest. That leaves John Danks for Saturday and Mark Buehrle against CC Sabathia in a Sunday classic.

Ozzie Guillen didn’t want to go without a second left-hander out of the bullpen, so Randy Williams had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Colon. Actually, with Matt Thornton home with his wife for the birth of their daughter, the White Sox had been going without a first lefty in the series.

There’s no doubt Richard has earned the right to stay in the rotation, and I’m guessing Colon might have made his last pitch for the White Sox. But that’s purely a guess on my part, and I guessed that before and was wrong, even with Freddy Garcia getting himself ready in the Minor Leagues.

Williams was one of the surprises of Spring Training as a non-roster invite. So, we will see how the southpaw produces now that he has joined the White Sox.

Eight-man rotation? Not likely

I have to give credit to Mark Gonzales, my esteemed White Sox beat writing colleague and friend from the Chicago Tribune, for coming up with a funny image following Sunday’s 5-1 White Sox victory over Detroit.

Gonzales was talking about the picture from the 2005 White Sox World Series championship run that had all the starting pitchers holding baseballs with their arm outstretched in a group shot. He suggested if the White Sox took that same picture at this point this year, there might be eight guys in the picture.

Let’s see, there’s Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras. Then, there’s Bartolo Colon and Clayton Richard, and don’t forget Freddy Garcia getting back into pitching form with Class A Kannapolis, and Carlos Torres looking pretty solid in his one start for the White Sox. Even Aaron Poreda started for Charlotte after being optioned down, so his time can’t be too far away.

Has any Major League team ever gone to an eight or nine-man rotation? With the way Ozzie Guillen likes to match up out of the bullpen, there’s no way the White Sox will go one short in relief and even have a six-man starting staff.

But with two straight strong outings under his belt, I don’t see how Richard can be moved back to the bullpen. Some would argue how Richard has been great for two starts, but where was he the eight prior to that one? He could be just as helpful as the second southpaw in relief. In this sort of tight division race, though, you have to ride the hot hand.

So, who becomes the expendable piece? I would say Colon, with all due respect to the highly successful veteran right-hander. He looked sharp on Friday, but I think you can get what he provides from Richard or even Garcia down the line. The problem for Colon is he can’t work in relief, and I’m not sure if the White Sox are ready to cut ties with him.

It should be an interesting call to make. Then again, Richard’s trade value probably never will be as high as it is right now.

Having too many quality starters certainly is a good problem to have.

No such thing as Minor news

Freddy Garcia turned in a solid first Minor League start for Class A Kannapolis on Sunday, allowing two hits and walking one over three scoreless innings. Garcia fanned three in the 95-degree heat and helped his own cause by inducing two double plays in Kannapolis’ 3-2 victory over Rome.

At Triple-A Charlotte, Brian Anderson is 6-for-19 with two home runs and five RBIs in the four games played since he was optioned to the Knights. Catcher Tyler Flowers is batting below .200 since his promotion to Charlotte.

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