Results tagged ‘ Jerry Owens ’

Owens moves on

After being outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte prior to Friday’s game, Jerry Owens declared free agency in lieu of accepting the assignment. Owens had one hit in 12 at-bats during his most recent and apparently final stint with the White Sox, to go with one stolen base.

Personally, I enjoyed covering Owens. He is a good kid who probably needs a change of scenery, at this point. Of course, that’s not to say the White Sox did not give him plenty of chances to succeed.

Getz scratched

Chris Getz was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup prior to the game’s first pitch. A bruised middle finger on the second baseman’s right hand was given as the reason for his absence.

Brent Lillibridge replaced Getz in the field and in the leadoff spot. Lillibridge was scheduled to start in center and hit second against Toronto left-hander Brian Burres, with Brian Anderson in right and Jermaine Dye getting moved to designated hitter with Jim Thome receiving a one-game respite. The Getz scratch gave Jerry Owens a rare start in center, hitting ninth.

Monday meanderings

Although Jerry Owens is the only individual talking about being placed on waivers Monday, other members of the White Sox organization have talked about where Owens went wrong in his pursuit of the leadoff spot and center field job this spring. Here was Ozzie Guillen’s take after the game.

I was a little disappointed. We have been waiting for him for three years and we give him the job for three years,” Guillen said. “Last year he got hurt.

“It’s unfortunate and a shame this kid didn’t get it done. He has all the tools in the world. Hopefully he stay with us. If not, I wish him the best of luck. He’s a great kid and he played hard for us. Everything didn’t work out the way we thought it was going to work out.”

Let me second Guillen’s comments on Owens being a great kid–always classy and willing to talk, even if things weren’t going his way. From talking with Guillen and general manager Ken Williams, it sounds like a lack of energy contributed to costing him the job at the top.

“Well, everybody has different ways to do things,” Guillen said. “If you are going to act like him, you have to be Harold Baines. The leadoff guy has to give some life and stuff. We talked to him about it a lot of times, but that’s the way he is. That’s his personality. We have to respect that.”

–As far as the present leadoff job goes, Dewayne Wise will fill the role at the season’s outset. But don’t count out Brian Anderson.

“It depends on the matchup and depends on how he swing the bat,” said Guillen of Wise and Anderson. “I think Brian is going to see more at-bats against lefties but we will see how it works out, how good he swing the bat.

“(Wise) swing the bat right now good against everybody and we expect him to continue to do it. But it’s a long season and if some problem happens, Brian will be there to help him.”

–Williams gave plenty of props to young hurlers such as Jack Egbert and Lance Broadway, who turned the final cuts into tough decisions for the White Sox.

Egbert will work out of the bullpen for Triple-A Charlotte, according to Williams. Broadway was in the last round of discusions, as late as Monday morning, as to who the White Sox were going to take with them to Chicago. 

–Remember my NCAA Tournament prediction of Michigan St.-Michigan in the final? I hope I’m completely wrong. I like North Carolina over UConn, at this point.


Final Roster moves

The White Sox offcially got their roster down to 27 by making six cuts on Monday morning. The team optioned pitchers Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert and Jeff Marquez to Triple-A Charlotte, reassigned INF/OF Josh Kroeger and left-handed reliever Randy Williams to Minor League camp and placed infielder Jayson Nix on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.

Although the move was not announced, Jerry Owens told a pair of reporters on Monday that he was placed on waivers. The move means that Dewayne Wise and Brian Anderson will be patroling center field for the White Sox. Corky Miller also is expected to be named the White Sox backup catcher, with Donny Lucy returning to Charlotte.

More to come soon.

The gang is all here

For those wondering about those wide-ranging rumors regarding the White Sox possibly acquiring Melky Cabrera, Gary Matthews, Jr. or even Juan Pierre as the team’s leadoff man/center fielder, manager Ozzie Guillen seemed to squelch that talk following Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Arizona at Camelback Ranch.

No, we're not going [outside]," said Guillen, when asked if talk came up centering on names not in camp during the staff's daily meetings. "I don't want that to happen, I don't like that to happen. If we have to go outside the organization right now, gosh, I'm not going to say we're in trouble, but as a ballclub we have enough guys here to resolve that problem.''

So, it looks as if the final two roster spots for position players, assuming Brian Anderson is on the roster, will come from the group of Dewayne Wise, Brent Lillibridge and Jerry Owens. At this point, the White Sox will not take on any more payroll, which rules out a number of potential outside options, unless the offering franchise picks up a bulk of the contract.


Wednesday roundup

–Jayson Nix still features that massive wrap around his right quad, but he told me on Wednesday that he’s definitely feeling better. His target is to be playing again on Friday, during a road game against the Padres in Peoria.

Nix hurt his right quad going for a short pop up in a game last Wednesday against the Cubs in Las Vegas and then truly felt the injury as he was going from first to third on a base hit in that same game. He has not played since.

I can attest that it was a ridiculously cold night in Las Vegas last Wednesday, and the high winds were pretty much out of control, which might have been contributing factors to the injury–at least the cold. The good news for Nix is there are still three weeks left in Spring Training for him to build off of his great start in the battle for the job at second base.

–Gordon Beckham doubled and drove in two runs on Wednesday and will start at shortstop on Thursday in Surprise. Beckham has five doubles and 18 total bases this spring, leading the team in both categories.

Here’s an interesting comment from Ken Williams that didn’t make it into my Wednesday story. In that story, the White Sox general manager admitted the team’s top pick from the 2008 First-Year Player Draft has as good of a chance as Nix, Chris Getz or Brent Lillibridge to break camp with the team BUT only as a starter at second base.

“He’s playing the game and having fun,” said Williams of Beckham. “He’s going to be a good player. He’s been impressive since we drafted him, and obviously, he was impressive before then for us to draft him.”

— The first cuts came down on Wednesday. They were INF Brian Myrow, RHP Brad Salmon and INF Sergio Santos, who were reassigned to Minor-League Camp, and RHP Lucas Harrell, who was optioned to Double-A Birmingham. With these cuts, the White Sox have 53 players in camp: 26 pitchers, six catchers, 14 infielders and seven outfielders.

–Javier Castillo returned with a bang from his stint with Panama in the World Baseball Classic. He singled and scored the tie-breaking run on Wednesday and then launced a two-run home run to put the game away. Even though Panama didn’t advance, Castillo loved his experience in The Classic.

–Ozzie Guillen had this interesting comme on Jerry Owens, whose seventh-inning single gave the White Sox the lead.

“This kid is fighting for his job,” Guillen said. “I want to see a lot of better stuff come around. The last couple of days he’s swinging the bat better.”

Owens still seemed very positive when I taked to him this past weekend for a story. Owens, now hitting .200, is out of options, meaning he is fighting for a roster spot but also probably fighting to stay as part of the organization.

— My pick of DePaul to win the Big East Tournament came up a little short. My total focus is on Michigan-Iowa tomorrow afternoon in the Big 10 Tournament.


Camelback Ranch Leftovers

Paul Konerko addressed a wide array of topics after playing in Sunday’s stadium opener, including the soreness near his right thumb that plagued him throughout the 2008 season. The White Sox first baseman said he wouldn’t wait as long to get a pain-killing shot this year, because of how much better the thumb felt after getting one last year.

I won’t wait 25 games, play like that,” Konerko said. “I would get the shot in the spring. Also, that’s not a shot you want to get more than twice a year. But it felt really good last year after the shot, and that’s something I’m kicking myself about.

“You always think you can just get through, hot and cold [treatment] and all of that. It’s been there since I was young, so it’s not going away, but I’m at the point where I would get it done early, get on my way, and then get one later in the year if I would need it. Hopefully not.”

Konerko said the thumb injury is one that’s always there, but one he has to keep an eye on. So far, so good for him during Spring Training, including “getting absolutely blown up inside” during a Sunday at-bat and suffering no after-effects.

–Konerko on one major personal beneift of the White Sox moving to Glendale:

” Believe me when it comes to Spring Training and the fact that I'm living at home, you won't really hear me complain," said Konerko, who resides with his family in North Scottsdale.

--Gordon Beckham's ninth-inning home run led one reporter to ask if his swing reminded Ozzie Guillen of any more established player. Guillen came up with Cubs Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg. Not much to live up to there for the eighth pick overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

--Here are the players set to make the two-day trip to Las Vegas as of Sunday, with the White Sox leaving Wednesday morning.

They are Chris Getz, Jermaine Dye, DeWayne Wise, Josh Fields, Jerry Owens, Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Cole Armstrong, Wilson Betemit, Ben Broussard, Tyler Flowers, Michael Restovich, Josh Kroeger, Jayson Nix, Eider Torres and Sergio Santos.

John Danks starts Wednesday night. Jeff Marquez starts Thursday afternoon.


Information overload

Even with three stories either already posted or soon to be posted on the White Sox site from today’s action, there was still a great deal of information that didn’t make the cut. Remember, the White Sox played a B Game against the Dodgers, while I was representing here in Tucson.

So, here’s a few more bits and pieces to go over, just hours before the first Cubs-White Sox clash of 2009. By the way, I predict 120 wins for both teams with the way Spring Training has started.

–I said this in my early Friday blog post, but Gordon Beckham is a baseball player. I don’t care if it’s Cactus League games, American Legion or the seventh game of the World Series. You just know upon seeing someone with that special ability. His play at shortstop to end the sixth inning on Tony Clark’s grounder, well.. I’ll let Paul Konerko describe it.

“That’s a big league play. If he makes that play, he can play in the big leagues for 15 years,” Konerko said. “Everyone on the bench thought it was a hit, and he comes in and makes it like it was nothing.”

Here’s my first prediction of 2009, aside from the 240-combined wins for the Cubs and White Sox and Michigan hoops winning the NCAA title. Beckham will play in the Majors before September callups. I just have a feeling.

–The early spring endurance award goes to Brian Anderson, who played all nine innings the last two games. He had two hits and scored two runs against Arizona and his defense is as good as ever in the outfield. Jerry Owens played all the way through on Wednesday in Tempe and then again on Friday. He laid down another nice bunt to start Friday’s game but was thrown out at first.

There’s little chance of an outfield featuring Owens, Anderson and DeWayne Wise playing out from left to right, as it did on Friday. But they certainly would track down a great deal of baseballs defensively. If nothing else, Ozzie Guillen got a chance to see all of the center field contenders in action, side-by-side, with Wise adding two hits and two runs scored.

–The back-up catcher battle could be an interesting one. Corky Miller had three hits Thursday at Hi Corbett Field and Chris Stewart had two hits, including a home run, on Friday. These two also are considered the best catch-and-throw candidates.

–Ben Broussard’s home run to open the 7th landed in the parking lot well beyond the right field fence. The blast was estimated at 483 feet by myself and ESPN’s Bruce Levine.

–Back in Glendale, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks each fanned two in one scoreless inning of relief apiece, or so I was informed by Pat O’Connell. A healthy Linebrink also incorporated three split-finger fastballs into his Friday workload.

“That’s something I definitely want to do this year,” Linebrink told reporters. “I think I fell more into the fastball/changeup last year, whereas this year if I can be really consistent with that third pitch, it opens up a new dimension.

“I’ve always thrown it, but consistency’s always been an issue with that pitch. So we’re going to work on it, too. It’s tough in Arizona because it’s so dry that it’s hard to get a feel for that pitch, but we’ll keep throwing it and keep making it a part of the repertoire.”

–The White Sox apparently loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning against Jason Schmidt and the Dodgers, but the Dodgers asked to stop the frame because of pitch count. Too bad that move doesn’t work during the regular season.

–Aaron Poreda’s 2009 Cactus League debut came in front of an interesting array of spectators.

I recognized that (White Sox general manager) Kenny (Williams) was watching and a lot of the coaches were there," Poreda told reporters. "There's fans, Joe Torre is over there on the Dodger side.

"And actually, the starting pitcher for them was Jason Schmidt, who I grew up watching the Giants as a big fan of his. I have his jersey and autograph. I was thinking, 'It's weird we were competing against each other.' But it was a great experience.''

--So, that about covers it. It's time to say good bye to Tucson and make the 2 1/2 hour drive back. Talk to you from Mesa, and as always, Go Blue!



Live from Tempe

The 2009 Cactus League competition is officially underway for the White Sox and here are some highlights from the first two innings of Wednesday’s game in Tempe, Ariz.

–Jerry Owens opened the game with a perfectly-placed drag bunt single fielded by first baseman Kendry Morales. You couldn’t ask for better execution.

 In the second inning, though, Owens popped out to third baseman Brandon Wood with the bases loaded and one out. As manager Ozzie Guillen pointed out before the game, the leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off once after the National Anthem. After that moment, he also has to be able to hit in the clutch and drive in some runs.

–Josh Fields showed speed absent from the past two years when he beat out an infield grounder to shortstop Hainley Statia with one out in the second. Fields also made a slick play on Mike Napoli’s grounder leading off the second.

–Clayton Richard threw strikes and kept the ball down. We haven’t talked to him yet, but judging by the goals he told me about yesterday for his first start, I’m guessing the southpaw will be pleased with this opening effort.

–Chris Getz twice moved well to his left to handle ground balls. Jermaine Dye and Owens made nice running catches in the outfield, both running into the wall after the fact.

Another side note: The field where the White Sox took batting practice Wednesday morning is about 10 miles away from Diablo Stadium. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. It just seemed that way in the 80-degree heat.



Roster Roulette

So, Wednesday officially begins the Cactus League ledger for the White Sox, which means I will be in Las Vegas for the Cubs-White Sox games in one week. I’m actually going to buy a small suitcase as soon as I finish blogging.

For those not concerned with my travel plans or my future purchases at Target, which pretty much covers everyone, the contest between the Angels and White Sox also marks the start of numerous interesting position battles to be waged by the South Siders. Instead of going through the primary roster openings, let’s look at the roster as a whole.

If you assume Ozzie Guillen takes 12 pitchers, coupled with nine position player starters, then you are left with four open spots. One goes to a back-up catcher and one goes to a back-up infielder, probably Wilson Betemit, leaving Guillen with two roster openings. And then this equation becomes a myriad questions.

–Who is starting in center field? If it’s Brian Anderson, then do both Jerry Owens and DeWayne Wise make the roster or does Guillen take a second utility infielder and risk losing Owens or Wise?

–Who wins the job at second base? If it’s Chris Getz, then does Brent Lillibridge have an advantage for one of those two remaining roster spots because of his infield versatility, speed to burn AND his ability to play center? Remember, Wise, Owens, Betemit and Jayson Nix all are out of options.

–Will Guillen actually break camp with 11 pitchers, meaning only 20 roster spots are committed?

–Is there any chance Dayan Viciedo breaks camp with the White Sox?

–Can both Jose Contreras or Bartolo Colon be ready, health-wise, by the time the fourth and fifth starter’s slot comes up during the first week of the 2009 regular season? While there might be a target date for these veterans to pitch during Spring Training, Contreras just told me the other day as to how there isn’t a “Jose Contreras Comeback Day” set. When he’s ready and White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider and the rest of the team’s upper management agrees, Contreras will be out there.

Many questions to be answered, approximately 45 days to come to a decision. Tell me how you think this roster roulette shakes out.