Results tagged ‘ Omar Vizquel ’

10 Days to Pitchers and Catchers

Scott Merkin whets our White Sox appetite today on whitesox.com with some facts, figures and projections to chew on:

* Pitchers and catchers report on February 23

* Full squad reports on February 28

* First Spring Training game, March 5, vs. the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch

* Opening Day, April 6, at Texas

Merkin’s Projected Batting Order:

Alejandro DeAza CF, Gordon Beckham 2B, Paul Konerko 1B, Adam Dunn DH, Alex Rios LF, A.J. Pierzynski C, Alexei Ramirez SS, Dayan Viciedo RF, Brent Morel 3B

Projected Rotation:

John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Philip Humber

Projected Bullpen:

Matt Thornton Closer, Jesse Crain RH setup man, Will Ohman LH setup man (with all other spots up for grabs). Key bullpen prospect to watch is Addison Reed, who very well might be the closer (my two cents, not Merkin’s).

New Guys:

Nestor Molina RHP, Dan Johnson 1B, Ozzie Martinez IF and, of course, the skipper Robin Ventura

Key Losses:

Ozzie Guillen, Mark Buehrle, Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel, Ramon Castro, Jason Frasor

King Felix? No Problem

The White Sox “To Do” list for the stretch of games vs. the the Mariners and A’s, beginning on June 6:

* Bounce back from the lost weekend series with Detroit…check

* Defeat Seattle’s rookie pitching sensation Michael Pinedacheck

* Find a way to beat 2010 Cy Young Award winner “King Felix” Hernandezcheck

* Overcome Mariners’ tough lefty Jason Vargas tonight for the sweep…mission pending

* Win the four-game series vs. Oakland, which begins on Thursday…pending

So far, so good, as the Sox continue their effort to accomplish everything on their check list. There’s much more to be done, but last night’s impressive 5-1 win over King Felix and his teammates was particularly satisfying.

Before the season, if you would have told me we’d be facing Hernandez without Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez in the starting lineup, I would have said we have little chance. But that’s exactly what occurred last night as the struggling (to say it mildly) Dunn and Rios were on the bench (Rios did pinch run and played defensively in the ninth) and Ramirez was given a rest in favor of Omar Vizquel.

Vizquel wasn’t simply Ramirez’s replacement, he was one of the game’s heroes. His triple drove in a pair of runs in the Sox four-run third inning. Along with Paul Konerko’s 14th homer and Carlos Quentin‘s two-run blast, his 15th, it provided more than enough offense for the victory.

And, of course, there was another virtuoso performance by the South Siders’ unlikely pitching ace, Phil Humber.  The former No. 1 draft choice of the Mets won his fifth game, allowing only a single run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings as he lowered his ERA to 2.87. Humber left the game in the eighth to a standing ovation.

Just think where we’d be without him.

Day 1: SoxFest More Like an OzzieFest

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The first day of the annual SoxFest celebration turned out to be quite a day for the Sox skipper.
A group of fans broke out into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in honor of Ozzie’s 47th (celebrated on Thursday), a brand new website, ozzieguillen.com, was launched and, most significantly, the Sox picked up Guillen’s option for 2012.
The extension wasn’t a sure thing as we all know. After a hellish (Ozzie’s sentiments, not mine) summer where he bickered with GM Kenny Williams, dealt with his son Oney‘s annoying tweeting (my view, not Ozzie’s) and was on the verge of being traded to the Marlins, Guillen’s future was certainly in doubt. But when all was said and done, Williams had his back.
“I’ve never doubted the man’s managerial ability and the ability to pull people together,” Williams said at SoxFest, according to Mark Gonzales of the Tribune.  “Listen, we all can get off track a little bit, and we (did) last year. All I want us to do is to get back on track and focus on the baseball team and the fans. They’re hand in hand. Everything else, I want out of the equation.

“And I wanted to get that (option) thing behind and move on and enjoy the game. I always enjoy the game. Go about my business the way I always do. We know it was a tough season last year. We just put everything behind, and everything goes well.”
More from SoxFest:
* It was apparent that the GM was unhappy with his pitching coach Don Cooper‘s comment that he would prefer that Chris Sale prepare for a single role as opposed to preparing to be a starter and reliever. Here’s Williams’ view: “…to have Sale prepare as a reliever and take away one or two of his pitches, because that’s what guys tend to do, I don’t think it’s wise. My pitching coach will ultimately fall in line with his general manager and his manager. Coop should probably speak to us before he speaks to you guys.”

* Sale’s immediate future, of course, will depend largely on Jake Peavy‘s progress. Reports range from he’ll be ready on Opening Day to him stepping into the rotation by May 1.
* Mark Buehrle is the latest Sox star to be headed into his “walk” year. Where does he stand? “If I have a good year and something happens, there’s an opportunity out there to sign and I’m open to it. I’ll talk with the wife and play for a couple more years, possibly. So we’ll see. It’s a long year. If I decide to retire at the end, I’ll retire. If not, I’ll sign somewhere.”

* With third base (Brent Morel, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel) and first base (Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn) spoken for, Williams indicated that Dayan Viciedo is spending time learning how to play outfield to give him a shot at the Opening Day roster. The GM says Viciedo has done well so far.

58945940.jpgMatt Thornton, decked out in a Brian Urlacher jersey at yesterday’s SoxFest, shows where his football loyalty lies.

Sox-Wise and Otherwise: Ohman, Alomar, Vizquel, Soriano, Baines and McEwing


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My weekly offseason opinions and observations about the White Sox and more…

* SoxWorld has been quiet since Oneygate II, but now we hear that lefty middle reliever Will Ohman is about to join the South Siders. An eight-year veteran, Ohman spent five years with the Cubs, had stints with the Braves and Dodgers and posted a 3.21 in 68 games with the Orioles and Marlins in 2010. He is a specialist against lefthanded hitters, who hit only .229 against him last season. While the Pale Hose has lefties Matt Thornton and Chris Sale at the back end of the pen, they were in need of a situational lefty. Ohman will fill that role.

* Despite his less-than-stellar performance in parts of two seasons (2003-04) with the White Sox, there is no doubt that Roberto Alomar is a Hall of Famer. And if he ever retires, his double-play partner and current White Sox infielder Omar Vizquel will join him in Cooperstown. Along with the combination of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, both Hall of Famers, the Alomar-Vizquel combo was the best double-play duo I ever saw. All of them are pictured above.
* Speaking of the Hall of Fame, it comes as no surprise to me that Harold Baines is now off the ballot, failing to get the necessary five percent of the writers’ vote. It’s not that Baines doesn’t deserve more support, it’s just that it’s a burden the Sox and their fans have carried for a long time dating back to Billy Pierce and Minnie Minoso. We simply don’t get the love from the voters. That said, things will surely change in a few years when the Big Hurt is on the ballot.
* Although rumors have spread that the Sox have been on the trail of ace reliever Rafael Soriano, the latest is that their interest has waned. It’s likely that the fact Soriano’s agent is Scott Boras and the subsequent asking price are the reasons why. The Sox are pretty close to their salary limit with all the spending this offseason and they still have to deal with the arbitration eligible John Danks, Carlos Quentin and Tony Pena.
* It didn’t get much notice at all, but Joe McEwing‘s appointment as manager of the top Sox farm club in Charlotte may be more significant than it seems. Ozzie‘s contract is up at the end of this season. Who knows?, if the Sox don’t live up to expectations and McEwing distinguishes himself…
For those of you not familiar with McEwing (pictured below), he was a hard-nosed utility player who played nine years in the majors with the Cardinals, Mets, Royals and Astros. A fan favorite, he sported a lifetime batting average of .251, but his hustle and versatility made him a valuable commodity. His promotion is a result of impressing the Sox brass the past two seasons at Class A Winston-Salem.
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The 12 Days of White Sox Christmas


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In the spirit of the season…

The First Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…1 great offseason, filling our stocking with a load of talent–and hope–for the upcoming season.
The Second Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…2 free agents with Sox World Series rings in Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski.
The Third Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…3 possible closers in Matt Thornton, Chris Sale and, if needed, newcomer Jesse Crain.

The Fourth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…at least 4 solid starters in Mark Buehrle, Edwin JacksonJohn Danks and Gavin Floyd. Make it five if Jake Peavy recovers from his injury and six if Sale is in the rotation.

The Fifth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A solid No. 5 hitter from a talented group who, from what Ozzie has indicated, could very well be Alex Rios–hitting behind the powerhouse duo of Adam Dunn in the three hole and Paulie batting cleanup.

The Sixth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…The annual 6 games against the Cubs next season–three at home on May 20, 21, 22 and three at Wrigley Field on 
July 1, 2, 3.

The Seventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…a 7-game homestand leading up to the ’11 All-Star Game in Phoenix against the Royals and hated Twins as the Sox attempt to match last year’s first-place standing at the break.

The Eighth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…8 games against the 
Yankees in 2011–four in April (25, 26, 27, 28) at Yankee Stadium and four in August (1, 2, 3, 4) at the Cell.

The Ninth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 9, Sox icon Minnie Minoso, who is still going strong after celebrating his 85th birthday last month.

The Tenth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A 10-game opening homestand after starting the year with five games on the road in Cleveland and Kansas City. The Sox will face the Rays, A’s and Angels at the Cell from April 7-17.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 11 on the back of Omar Vizquel‘s uniform, as the future Hall of Famer honors the great Luis Aparicio for the second straight year after an outstanding first season on the South Side.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…All in all, a whole lot to look forward to as we head into 2011.
Happy Holidays!
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Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly off-season opinions and observations about the White Sox…


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With the World Series in the rearview mirror, The White Sox brass can now get busy preparing for a championship run in 2011.


No huge news has come out of the Sox camp thus far, but there have been some productive and interesting activity as we wait on bigger things to come. Those “bigger” things I’m talking about are the decisions around free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the attempt to get a solid lefthanded hitter (the Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus has been rumored as a target), a move to shore up the bullpen which will impact the futures of arbitration-eligible Bobby Jenks and free agent J.J. Putz, plus various and sundry other determinations.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happened up until now:


Omar Back in Fold

Omar Vizquel‘s signing for another year at $1.75 million is the most positive move so far. He was a godsend this past season and, aside from Konerko, was probably the club’s MVP as a result of his infield wizardry and respectable .276 batting average. With promising third baseman Brent Morel slated for third base, Vizquel provides insurance there and valuable backup at both second base and shortstop.

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Thornton, Castr
o Return to Unsettled Bullpen and Catching Situations

Next to the Vizquel deal, picking up the options of All-Star setup man Matt Thornton and Ramon Castro, perhaps the best backup backstop in the game, have provided the most positive news. Depending on what happens with the bullpen, Thornton could be next year’s closer. And Castro, who batted .328 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in only 37 games, gives depth to the catching position, especially if Pierzynski walks.

Paulie News

Konerko’s decision will probably take a while, but word is that there is at least one serious suitor–his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks. Paulie, who lives in Scottsdale and grew up in that area, certainly could be tempted to stay home as opposed to re-upping with the Sox.

Pal Joey

Unless something surprising happens, Joey Cora will be back as the White Sox bench coach. Just last week he came in second to Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke for the Milwaukee Brewers managing job.

Peavy on the Mend

Because his shoulder injury is so rare, no one knows when and, frankly, if Jake Peavy will come back close to his Cy Young form. Latest word is that he’s working hard in rehab and it won’t be long until he starts soft-tossing.

Sox Seek New AAA Skipper

The White Sox are looking for a new manager at AAA Charlotte. The previous incumbent, Chris Chambliss, best known for his pennant-winning homer for the Yankees in the 1976 ALCS, is the new hitting coach for the Mariners under new skipper Eric Wedge.
Lucy, Williams Minor League Free Agents

The Sox have outrighted both catcher Donny Lucy and lefty reliever Randy Williams to Charlotte. They are now off the 40-man roster and qualify as minor league free agents.
Rising Stars: White Sox Style

Three White Sox prospects were named to last Saturday’s Rising Stars Game, the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star Game.
Those Sox chosen were standout shortstop Eduardo Escobar (pictured below), right-handed pitcher Anthony Carter and the club’s 2009 No. 1 draft pick, Jared Mitchell.
Thus far, Escobar has been far and away the most impressive of the trio in the AFL. He is hitting .377 with an outstanding OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) while leading the league with four homers along with great play in the field. For the record, he has also added four doubles and four triples.
Carter has recorded two saves while striking out 12 in seven innings of work while Mitchell, sans the gaudy stats, is still making significant progress after missing the entire 2010 season due to a leg injury.
In the Rising Stars Game itself, Escobar and Mitchell were both 0 for 1 and Carter pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. Their team, the West, nipped the East, 3-2.
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Dayan for a Victory

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In this season of White Sox schizophrenia, a constant has been the club’s ability to rebound from early deficits. It happened again last night as Dayan Viciedo lined a ninth-inning RBI single to leftfield for the 5-4 walkoff win against the Bostonians.
The South Siders were indeed “Dayan” for a win, having lost seven straight games at 
home–three to the Twins, three to the Tigers and the series opener against the Red Sox.
Sign him up:  As the speculation heats up about the futures of free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, one of the most valuable Sox of 2010, Omar Vizquel, has said he wants to come back.
“I got used to the city and the teammates,” Vizquel said. “And it’s nice to come back to a team where they know what to expect from you, and what kind of personality you have. In my career, I really have been jumping from team-to-team, and you always want to feel comfortable in a place you like. I like it here, so I hope they maybe can think about having me back.”

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Second Place, Manny and Looking Ahead to 2011

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Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?

–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?

–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?

–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?

–What will become of Freddy Garcia?

–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?

–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?

–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?

–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?

–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman? 

–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?

–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back? 
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
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Konerko and the “R” Word Sum Up Sox Season

If we didn’t know it before, we know it now. The Twins are clearly the best team in the A.L. Central. It was never more apparent than it was this week as Minnesota not only swept the White Sox, but outscored them 26-11 and increased their division lead to nine games.

The fact that the Sox aren’t going to the postseason doesn’t mean we can’t have some good feelings about this season. Granted, the horrible start, the inconsistent pitching, porous defense and the lack of clutch hitting was exasperating. But how about the 25-5 run before the All-Star Game and the seven-game winning streak just a few weeks ago?
In the end, the identity of this team wasn’t about championships, but rather about its fight. Time after time they showed resiliency after getting down early in games. They may not have won all of those contests, but their heads and hearts were always in the game. 
And then there was last night. While the Sox fell to the Twins, 8-5, a incident involving Paul Konerko best illustrates what the 2010 Pale Hose have been all about. 
In the first inning, with two outs and Omar Vizquel at first base, a Carl Pavano pitch collided with Konerko’s face. Being led off the field by Ozzie and trainer Herm Schneider, Paulie refused to come out of the game and jogged to first, fat lip and all. Then, in the third frame, Konerko got the appropriate revenge by smashing his 37th homer of the season. 
You can make the case that this scenario is the Sox season in a nutshell. It can be summed up this way: resiliency, resiliency, resiliency. 
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56202734.jpgHere it is. Paulie gets clocked, then rebounds with No. 37 two innings later.


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I’ve Seen Enough of Mark Teahen

Being a glass half-full guy, I don’t believe I’ve ever been as critical of a White Sox player in this blog as I’m going to be today. 
As they say, there’s a first time for everything.
Mark Teahen contributes very little offensively and is a horror show at third base. Contrary to what others might believe, it is no coincidence that the Sox surge began when Teahen hit the DL in June and Omar Vizquel took over at third. Unfortunately for us, all those years of losing in Kansas City seems to have shaped his baseball persona.
Tonight, Teahen’s throwing error on what appeared to be a routine double play ball in the fourth inning (his second throwing miscue of the game) opened the door for four Tiger 
runs–three unearned–paving the way for the 5-1 Sox loss, their second in as many nights in Detroit after the seven-game winning streak.
A major league team can’t afford to play a third baseman in a pennant race who can’t defend his position. Kenny Williams was fooled on this one when he dealt Chris Getz and Josh Fields for Teahen and then signed him to a three-year contract. Getz and Fields are no huge losses, but Teahen has been a disaster and, worse yet, it might be difficult to get rid of his contract after this year.
But he needs to go. I want 2010 to be the last year I see him in this uniform.
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