Results tagged ‘ Ozzie Guillen ’
While Ozzie Guillen was holding court in his return to Chicago at Wrigley Field Tuesday night, Adam Dunn was getting ready to help the White Sox to another victory some 983 miles away at Fenway Park in Boston.
Guillen and Dunn have not spoken directly since Guillen’s White Sox managerial tenure came to an end after the 2011 season, although they have exchanged friendly messages through Austin Kearns, a good friend of the White Sox designated hitter and a current player for the Marlins manager. The two apparently don’t have to talk directly, though, for Guillen to express his profound respect for the affable veteran.
That effusive praise came through loud and clear during Guillen’s comments to the large group of assembled media in Chicago. Guillen spoke of the positive way which Dunn handled his forgettable debut with the White Sox in ’11 and added how happy he was for Dunn to find success in 2012.
Dunn, who is as laid back as a summer Sunday afternoon and seems to be truly enjoying this return to his previous norm as he promised during Spring Training, appreciated Guillen’s kind words.
“Absolutely it means something,” Dunn told MLB.com after singling, walking and stealing a base in the White Sox 7-5 victory over the Red Sox. “I talked to (Guillen) about it all the time. He did everything he could to help me out.
“Everything he did was to help me. He gave me every opportunity in the world. You know, I feel bad. I feel bad for that whole staff that was here. I know they took a whole bunch of (garbage) each and every day about it. You know, it means a lot: (Guillen) has been in baseball a long time.”
This high-profile free agent signing came in to the White Sox on a four-year, $56-million deal, as almost the centerpiece of the team’s “all-in” campaign. So with that scenario in mind, Dunn still puts the previous team’s problems upon his broad shoulders—including, in part, the strained relationship between Guillen and general manager Ken Williams.
“I’ll take it all,” Dunn said. “I feel like I’m responsible for all that more than anybody else. You know, it (stinks) how it went down but everybody now seems to be doing good.”
That 2011 campaign is a distant memory for Dunn, where he has been trying to keep it since the start of the 2012 season. With the Major League lead in homers at 28 and 65 RBIs to go with those homers, not to mention the 2012 season fast approaching the end of July, Dunn has every right to believe such an expectation would be followed.
Comments from Guillen’s Tuesday press conference put a positive spin on that rough year for Dunn. In fact, Dunn was put in the same category as Jim Thome and Paul Konerko by Guillen, which is the highest compliment in player comparison coming from Guillen.
“If there’s one player I have more respect for in the game than Thome, Konerko, I think Dunner is,” said Guillen to the large group of assembled media. “What Dunner went through last year, and he took it like a man. He was the same guy in the clubhouse and dugout every day.
“He just had a bad year. It takes a very strong man mentally to go through what he went through last year. I’m very happy for him and his family for what he’s doing right now, and he knows that.
“I’m not saying this about Dunner because I’m here,” Guillen said. “He knows how I feel about him and I’m very glad he’s having the season he’s having.”
You know those bad dreams we all have from time to time, the one where someone evil is chasing or the one where college graduation never occurred because of sleeping through a class or two? Well, we all eventually wake up from those nightmares, breathe a sigh of relief or laugh at the absurdity and move on with our lives.
Now, try living those unwanted moments every day for almost four months, and you’ll have a greater understanding of Adam Dunn’s first season with the White Sox.
To Dunn’s credit, he has handled this most trying of situations with great class and dignity. No outbursts or hiding from the media. No sullen avoidances of his supportive teammates.
Dunn has been the same great clubhouse force everyone predicted when he agreed to a four-year, $56-million deal with the White Sox this past offseason. But nobody could have seen this disaster at the plate on the horizon.
Here’s the problem. This prolonged slump continues to cost the White Sox in games they simply can’t afford to lose. Take Monday’s 3-2 setback to the Yankees, as an example.
CC Sabathia struck out Dunn three times, raising his season’s strikeout total to 137. Dunn also slipped to 3-for-77 on the season against southpaws and just 21-for-159 in a home ballpark where it was thought he would flourish.
And with the game on the line in the sixth and the eighth, Dunn struck out both times and Sabathia knew he could get him. In the eighth, with none on, two outs and the Yankees clinging to a one-run lead, third baseman Eric Chavez came up to Sabathia and told him not to give in to Carlos Quentin because Dunn was on-deck, according to the Yankees ace.
“I mean, you know it’s there, and he’s just having a tough year,” said a respectful Sabathia of Dunn. “You don’t want to make mistakes, you don’t want to give in, you don’t want to get lazy and make a pitch that you’ll regret.
“He’s had a tough year. I know he hadn’t hit lefties really good this year, so like I said, I was just trying to make pitches and I ended up getting him in some tough spots.”
Quentin dropped a bloop single to center with two outs, but Dunn struck out on three pitches. As White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski pointed out, Sabathia aced Dunn with a 97 mph fastball, a 98 mph fastball and then an 84 mph slider. Even hitters going at their best have a tough time hitting one of the game’s top starters—especially through that sort of sequence.
With Paul Konerko out of action in this series opener due to a sore left knee/calf after being hit by an Andrew Miller fastball Sunday, Dunn had to face Sabathia. And with Alex Rios hitting fifth, struggling just as much as Dunn, there was no way in Ozzie Guillen’s estimation to drop Dunn from fourth in the order.
“What I have behind him is not better,” said Guillen in his pregame media chat. “Who, A.J.? When you look at A.J., he’s not hit good when we move him up, so we just leave him there where he is. (Gordon) Beckham struggles, (Brent) Morel is OK, but Morel is not a fifth hitter.
“Those guys are right where they are. They have to make it right. I think we set the lineup pretty well. Those guys gotta perform. They gotta do it for them.
“A lot of people say, ‘Well why you guys play this?’ Well, I want somebody else to send me the lineup,” Guillen said. “Send me the lineup, please, anybody, if I’m making the wrong lineup. No, I make the right lineup, we’re just not hitting. I’m going to play (Alejandro) De Aza against Sabathia and against (Jon) Lester? I think our lineup is good, it’s just not hitting.”
Support is there in full-force from Dunn’s teammates, as expressed by Gordon Beckham and Pierzynski following Monday’s loss. Pierzynski reiterated that they all hope Tuesday is the day Dunn takes off and hits 20 homers to carry this team over the final two months.
“I love Adam Dunn, on and off the field,” Pierzynski said. “Everyone’s been there. If you’ve ever played this game, you’ve struggled. This is not an easy game to play. It’s not something that you can go out there and say this or that and it works. It’s not football where you can get yelled and screamed it and it makes you play better.
“There’s only so much you can do. You’ve got to put the work in. He’s done that. He’s put the time in and he’s trying to make adjustments.”
Until those adjustments pay off in consistent offense, the boos will continue to cascade down upon Dunn’s broad shoulders at U.S. Cellular Field. Opposing pitchers will continue to target Dunn in potential game-changing situations, and the baseball nightmare will continue to be reality for the affable slugger.
“You just have to make sure that you’re going to make pitches, especially if you know that you’re going to not pitch around the guy, but not pitch in to him,” Sabathia said. “You better make sure that you make pitches to the guy you want to get out.”
“It’s not easy when people don’t seem like they are behind you, and I know it’s tough on him,” Beckham said. “Obviously he wants to do well, we want him to do well. I definitely wouldn’t be taking it like he’s been able to. He’s been upbeat the whole time but it still hasn’t come for him. There’s still time and I believe there’s still time. If he can just get going for us in any capacity, we have a good chance to win.”
Ozzie Guillen spoke with great passion on Friday night that he wasn’t worried about losing his job as White Sox manager, despite his team underachieving in the first half of the 2011 season and the White Sox having picked up his contractual option for the 2012 season. As he said on the day he was hired, and has said many, many times after that important day in White Sox lore, managers basically are hired to be fired.
Saturday’s pregame meeting with the media brought more heartfelt discourse from the White Sox manager, only this topic had more of a baseball-wide theme. Guillen would like to see more support for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, both monetary and in-person.
“Major League Baseball or the American League should make guys go see the Negro League Museum in Kansas City,” Guillen said. “They should make them go there and find out the real history of the game and the great thing about baseball.
“I don’t know why they’re not doing it. The Players Association should make it happen. First of all, help them with the museum and we can see what those guys went through to make us make a lot of money. Every time I go there I take my family there. Every year I stop by and have lunch out there. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”
In 2006, general manager Ken Williams and Guillen took the entire team to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during the defending World Series champion’s first visit to Kansas City. Guillen hopes to make the trip during his team’s series this week, but will get there once before the end of the season with one more weekend series coming in Kansas City in September.
This topic came about Saturday with the Tigers wearing the jerseys of the Detroit Stars and the White Sox wearing the jerseys of the Chicago American Giants in the Tigers’ 17th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game.
“Little by little, you see the real roots and how much fun it was,” Guillen said. “I say that in 2006. I think MLB should have the rule that we have to stop by.
“Everybody that goes by Kansas City has to have a bus before you go to the ballpark and stop by about an hour, two hours. You will learn a lot and appreciate what you do right now.”
Before Jake Peavy left for his rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte Thursday, actually before Tuesday’s scheduled series opener at Target Field was postponed due to inclement weather, the veteran White Sox right-hander delivered a bit of an ominous message concerning the suddenly surging Twins.
“This team is starting to play well, and I think it’s a big series for the boys,” said Peavy of facing the Twins. “Come up here and win 2 of 3 and stop their momentum and win 2 of 3 in their park.
“If you give these guys life, … I certainly don’t want the Twins to have any more life than they already have. To lose a series and let them have life, we certainly don’t want to have to deal with this team down the stretch. We saw the problems that they can create to anybody they play.”
Two Minnesota victories later, a stretch in which the White Sox managed just one run scored, and the Twins have life. This latest Twin Cities debacle can’t be blamed on some three-hop triple off the Metrodome turf or some miraculous late rally inside the Twins’ indoor home.
Instead, the Twins have simply outplayed the White Sox in all four games this year. It was Mark Buehrle, Thursday’s hard-luck losing pitcher, who told MLB.com a few weeks ago how the Twins could never be counted out—even when they were sitting closer to 20 games under .500 than first place.
Too many heartbreaking setbacks for the White Sox exist in the memory bank to ever think that way. An otherwise pleasant trip to Minneapolis and the Twins’ beautiful ballpark has been consistently ruined by Minnesota victories.
“Leaving the Metrodome would be easy on us here, or that’s what I thought. I guess not,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “They play good baseball when they play at home. They’re not playing good baseball just against us. I think they’re playing good baseball the last few weeks. You have to give them some credit.”
“I like it a heck of a lot better than I did over at the Dome,” said Buehrle of facing the Twins. “It seemed like when we went to the Dome, it was like, ‘Get in, get out.’ If we won one out of three games, it was like throwing a party. But here, I don’t know. I love coming to this place. Good town, good stadium. Just seems like we don’t play too good here.”
Fortunes better improve quickly for the White Sox in the Twins’ home. The South Siders play seven more games in this venue before the season’s end, from Aug. 5-7 and Sept. 5-7. Ron Gardenhire’s crew is on the roll going into Interleague that Peavy wanted for the White Sox, and Minnesota’s best baseball usually comes after the All-Star Break.
A MRI taken on White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy at Rush University Medical Center Monday afternoon revealed a mild strain of his right groin (adductor). Peavy left Sunday’s start against Detroit after four innings due to this injury, and he will be evaluated on a daily basis.
Ozzie Guillen said before Monday’s series opener with Seattle how he wasn’t automatically ready to view Peavy as a disabled list case simply because of Peavy’s early departure. He also didn’t mind Peavy trying to pitch through the pain on Sunday, although Peavy admitted afterwards the groin issue and his inability to use his legs during the fourth contributed to Detroit’s six-run inning.
Peavy was working on five days rest after pitching Monday in Boston, when he first felt the pain grab in the groin area. He was flip-flopped with John Danks, though, having Peavy move to Sunday and Danks start Monday.
Here’s a few quick items from Wednesday’s 7-6 Reds victory over the White Sox, since A.J. Pierzynski’s speedy driving took center stage on the news front.
Kyle Cofield was touched up for five runs in one inning of work during the fifth, but none of them were earned. Gordon Beckham dropped an inning-ending force at second on a throw from Brent Morel, and Cofield took a while to get that third out. But manager Ozzie Guillen thought Cofield, who was acquired from the Braves in a trade for Scott Linebrink, threw well.
Brent Morel and Beckham both picked up stolen bases in the defeat. Guillen plans to run and run often with every starter who has the speed to take the extra base.
Guillen realizes his hitters are a little behind at the plate during this 0-3 Cactus League start.
“But it’s early,” Guillen said. “We’ll be fine.”
Finally, after Guillen’s postgame media session Wednesday, he humorously informed the Cincinnati AP writer how ‘The Missile’ nickname belongs to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez and not Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman. Guillen coined that nickname during Ramirez’s first year in 2008.
Alexei Ramirez is on the verge of earning elite Major League Baseball status so richly deserved by the White Sox shortstop’s performance over the past year.
Tuesday afternoon brings the Rawlings American League Gold Gloves announcements at 2:30 p.m. CT. Ramirez certainly doesn’t have the career-long pedigree as the Yankees Derek Jeter, for example, but any of the AL managers or coaches who voted on this award had to recognize Ramirez was the top defender at his respective position. He would be the first White Sox shortstop to win a Gold Glove since present manager Ozzie Guillen in 1990.
Then, on Thursday, the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards will be announced for both leagues. If Ramirez isn’t a favorite to win with his glove on Tuesday, most likely joining teammate Mark Buehrle with his second straight Gold Glove at pitcher, he certainly should be seen as the top-hitting AL shortstop.
And Ramirez also has a contractual decision to make. The White Sox shortstop can opt out of the $1.1 million he is set to earn in 2011, marking the final year of a four-year, $4.75 million deal, and become arbitration eligible. If Ramirez makes that move, as he is expected to do, the White Sox have the choice between exercising a $2.75 million club option or going through the arbitration process. The White Sox would be expected to exercise the option.
Ramirez has until Dec. 1 to opt out. The White Sox then have until Dec. 15 to make their decision.
Credit for Ramirez’s development goes to Guillen, who has practiced tough love during some momentary lapses for possibly the most talented player on the roster but also has shown him the ultimate support and respect. Bench coach Joey Cora also deserves praise for his tireless offseason and pregame work to help sharpen Ramirez’s defense at shortstop.
But the most credit for Ramirez’s growth goes to Ramirez himself. He has overcome consistently horrid starts, as shown by a .205 lifetime average in April, to post a career .283 mark, while finding a true home at shortstop. With a little better fortune at the season’s start, one of Baseball’s best five-tool contractual bargains could soon be talked about in Most Valuable Player consideration.
Rick Hahn will someday serve as a Major League Baseball general manager.
That statement is not so much a guarantee but more representative of one of the game’s top assistant general managers who definitely has earned a chance to run a team.
Hahn’s chance, though, will not be coming with the New York Mets.
On Friday, the Mets reduced their present general manager choices to the final two of Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes. Hahn and three other potential candidates who previously interviewed for the open position – Allard Baird, Dana Brown and Logan White– were informed by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and acting general manager John Ricco of the decision. Hahn issued the following statement about the process.
“All things considered – including several factors unique to the Mets current situation – I certainly understand the decision to go another direction,” said Hahn, in the statement sent via e-mail.
“I truly appreciate being invited to discuss the opportunity directly and candidly with Jeff Wilpon and others in the Mets front office and believe that Mets fans should be optimistic about the club’s future regardless of which of the remaining excellent candidates they ultimately choose.”
The 2011 campaign will mark Hahn’s 11th with the White Sox. Although he has been rightfully credited for his expertise in negotiating over $500 million in White Sox player contracts, he also stands as an adept talent evaluator and has formed a cohesive working unit at the top of the organization with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen.
One manager officially was taken off the 2011 open market on Monday.
After meeting separately with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams, Ozzie Guillen told the media how he will return in 2011 and hopefully for years to come as the White Sox manager.
“I asked him directly: Did he want to be here? Did he want to be the manager of the Chicago White Sox? He said ‘Absolutely. That’s all I’ve ever wanted,’” said Williams of his talk with Guillen. “He said he never asked for an extension. The timing of something wasn’t commensurate with if he were to go down that road.
“He did want to know what his status was and I told him directly. I hope I never have another manager, at least while I’m sitting in this chair, I hope I never have another manager of the Chicago White Sox other than him.”
Williams said he will deny any team a chance to talk with Guillen if they asked for permission. Guillen, meanwhile, seemed happy to have this issue behind him.
“At least it’s out of my mind, what I need to know,” Guillen said. “What I need to hear. It’s out there, and now we move on and wait till the end of the season to start talking about the club and move on.”
Ozzie Guillen has mixed feelings when talking about continuing his broadcast career, which began during the 2009 World Series.
Guillen enjoyed doing pregame and postgame work for FOX during the competition between the Phillies and the Yankees and excelled with his commentary on the competition. But Guillen didn’t want to recreate that role because it would mean White Sox inactivity once again during the Fall Classic.
“It’s one thing, it’s a bad feeling because you want to be on the field,” Guillen said. “That’s a horrible, terrible feeling, watching someone else play. But in the meanwhile, it’s worth it.
“If they ask me to do it, I don’t mind doing it. It’s a new experience.”
Even if FOX doesn’t come calling, a smiling Guillen offered his analysis up on the open market.
“Comcast has some money,” said Guillen with a laugh. “Like I tell people, I’m going to be in Chicago. Make sure they know if they need someone to say something about the playoffs, make sure they have the check ready.”