The Tribune's Mark Gonzales answers questions about home runs surrendered by Mark Buehrle to punch-and-Judy hitters, the White Sox's roster once Mark Teahen returns and the White Sox's 2011 interleague opponents.
Are we ever going to get rid of Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone? They only barely come alive where there is some action. They are not announcers, and they are lazy. Harry Caray was on every pitch, and he made it tense and exciting. These two are the worst in the majors.
-- Robert Humphrey; Sacramento
Hawk and Steve are institutions, regardless of whether you like them or not. Ranking broadcasters is subjective, but these guys are far from the worst. When the Sox are playing poorly, Hawk has gotten on the players. And Steve does his homework as well as any analyst in the game.
I do have the MLB Extra Innings package at home, and I'm glad they finally give you an option of which telecast to watch because there are some broadcasters I can't listen to.
I'm a Sox fan living in South Korea now. With the trading deadline passed, is it possible that the Sox are still searching for that left-handed batter through the waiver wire? I'm thinking an experienced batter like Jim Edmonds can do the trick.
-- Randy K; Westmont
The Sox are still searching, but it's a narrow list. And Ken Williams would have to be overwhelmed in order to make a move. I'm not sure Edmonds is the answer on this club.
With the home run he gave up to Chone Figgins back on July 28, four of the eleven homers Makr Buehrle has given up this year have been that players' first of the season with only of those coming in April. So what is it with guys with no pop taking him deep?
-- Brian; Lemont
I don't know, but Mark can't blame me for Felix Pie's solo shot Sunday. Mark suggested I was a jinx because I had mentioned that John Danks did well against Ichiro before Ichiro got three hits off him in two games. They also tried to blame me for Gavin Floyd's steak without allowing a home run ending, but I had asked Floyd about it in late June, and he went another month without allowing a home run.
How about a little love for Juan Pierre! The guy plays every day, works deep into counts, slaps the ball to all fields, leads the league in stolen bases, and plays a decent left field. I'd say he is a key ingredient in this year's turnaround but rarely gets any comment.
-- Richard; Moline
I have pointed out Juan's exceptional defense because that was one part of his game that got knocked. As for his offense, he's been pretty steady (a current 15-game hitting streak) and hasn't fallen into any lengthy slumps.
When the Sox send a player to Triple-A Charlotte, do the Knights have to make an adjustment in their roster and send someone down to AA? Also, sometimes a team will call someone up from a minor league team and sometimes they purchase someone and bring him up. What's the difference?
-- Terrence Brejla; San Francisco
Rosters at the Triple and Double A levels sometimes are smaller than the major league rosters. They also have a seven-day disabled list, as opposed to the majors' 15-day list.
When a team purchases the contract of a player from the minors to the major league roster, that means he is now placed on the 40-man roster and subject to options, etc. A player who is simply called up or promoted is on the 40-man roster.
I've been a White Sox fan for a long time, but living in Tampa, the Rays are my No. 2 team. I've noticed that this year the Sox are playing very similar to the way the Rays have played for the last few years. Consistent pitching, team speed, good fielding most days, a fair/good offense. The only clear advantage that I see the Rays having is their abundance of young players, which means they'll be good for a while. Are there any clear advantages that the Sox have that may trump the Rays in the playoffs and in the future?
-- Jim Kessler; Tampa
If it comes down to a White Sox-Rays playoff, I like the fact that Danks and Buehrle are left-handed although the Rays have done a better job against left-handed pitchers than in past years. The Sox also have a better bullpen than the Rays, but the Rays' speed is pretty impressive.
Any guess who gets sent down when Mark Teahen comes back?
-- Shawn; Chicago
I'm still concerned about breaking up this team's chemistry when Mark Teahen is ready to come off the DL. With Brent Lillibridge showing he can now come off the bench and contribute defensive at several positions and his hitting well to "The Tank" crushing the ball on almost every at bat, do we need him back? I know it's hard to pay a multi-million dollar salary to a minor leaguer, but this team took off when Teahen left.
-- Garry Loucks; Tucson
If they had to make a decision now, I'd say Viciedo. But stranger things have happened (Erick Threets' injury), so I think the Sox will use every day they can with Teahen in the midst of a 20-day rehabilitation assignment before they make a decision.
This team has been sculpted a lot better since opening day, although I'm glad Jayson Nix is getting more playing time with Cleveland.
Would love an update on Jared Mitchell's rehab progress. Also anything you can share on the progress of the others in that draft class would be appreciated.
-- Frank Saran; Arlington,TX
What's the current status of that phenom from spring training, Jared Mitchell?
-- Mickey; Mount Desert, ME
from his severe ankle injury last March. He is performing baseball drills in a controlled setting at Class-A Winston-Salem, and he appears on schedule to resume playing next month in the Instructional League in Arizona next month.
What is your assessment of Tony Pena's pitching performance this season? Would the White Sox had been better off keeping Octavio Dotel instead?
-- Perry, California
Pena has shown some flashes of promise as a middle reliever, and sometimes he has bouts of wildness. He was a big-time prospect in the Arizona organization, but I'm not sure he will fulfill that promise.
I think the Sox made an big upgrade with J.J. Putz over Dotel, who got a chance to close games in Pittsburgh and now is getting a chance to pitch late with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I know Scott Linebrink hasn't seen a lot of action lately. But he seems to have pitched better over the past month or so. Have you noticed anything different with him?
-- David C.; Grand Rapids, MI
Scott needs to throw his other pitches (split-finger fastball, slider and curve) for strikes so opponents can't sit on his fastball.
Can you tell me why Dayan Viciedo is not the full-time DH?
-- William Sherry; Las Vegas
I wonder why the Sox called up Viciedo to the majors if he doesn't play every day? I know Omar Vizquel blah blah blah, but do you see the Sluggin' Cuban?
-- Pepin; Tenerife, Spain
As of now, it's because Ozzie Guillen would prefer to not overexpose Viciedo, whose flashes of brilliance are tempered by quick outs. I would like to see him be the DH against left-handers, but then you cut into Andruw Jones' at-bats.
I'm originally from Chicago Heights and been a Sox fan my entire life. Whenever I have the chance to watch a game on WGN and we are winning, and they bring Jenks in for the save. I want to shut the game off. Because it seems like he is always getting himself into trouble and we end up losing the game. Is it me or am I missing something here?
-- Larry Suhrbier; Las Vegas
What are we going to do with Jenks? Every third or fourth time out he implodes. I DON'T TRUST HIM. A closer with an ERA over 5? Come on. When I look ahead to the playoffs, he's the worst closer of the group. The Sox have better options with Putz, Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton, and who knows, maybe Chris Sale could be what Jenks was in '05.
-- Al Hart; Land O Lakes, FL
When will Coop start calling pitches for Bobby? You can't keep getting beat with your third best pitch.
-- Bob Belke
Jenks was great the night before, and he wasn't as sharp the next day. How is he doing, when closing back-to-back? Is he an every other day closer? Is he better back-to back night games? How has he done closing night games than a day game?
-- Bob M.; Wildwood, MO
Bobby has converted 14 of 15 save chances to go with a 2.28 ERA in night games, compared to a 9.18 ERA and nine saves in 11 chances in day games. He did pretty well in June, earning saves in three consecutive games against Atlanta and earning saves on consecutive nights at Pittsburgh and Washington.
I'm curious to see if his pitches start to be called from the bench, especially after his pitch selection has been questioned twice in the second half.
Bobby Jenks throwing 'sinkers'? Really? Who thought that was a good plan? It seems now he's back to throwing his four-seamer and having success. Do we know if it was Jenks' idea to throw 92 mph sinkers rather than his 98 mph four-seamer?
-- Cliff Jordan; Chicago
The pitcher must have thought it was a good idea to throw sinkers. In his defense, his chances of a ground ball double play were enhanced by the sinker. But it wouldn't have been my choice. As you observed, he is throwing hard and is effective when he throws his fastball.
According to ESPN, Manny Ramirez is still on the board for the Sox. If this is true who would they have to give up in exchange?
-- Allman, Tempe
I would believe that the Dodgers would look for pitching, as they did when they traded Pierre to the Sox. And if they simply give him away to somebody, then you know they're looking to cut pay and look to 2011.
Please help me understand -- when Carlos Quentin is replaced late in the game, why do the Sox TV announcers say Jones comes in "defensively" in right field? Quentin is younger, faster, more athletic, can cover more ground, and has a much stronger arm? The inference by Hawk and Steve is something is going to happen in right field that Quentin can't handle and that's why he was replaced. It drives me nuts and it's insulting to Quentin. Why don't they just say "now playing right field - Andruw Jones."
-- Mary; Chicago
Carlos has played very well in right field and looks very comfortable there. However, he has been coping with a lot of nagging injuries. If the Sox are ahead late in games, then they need defense more than offense.
That's where Jones comes in. Jones missed the cutoff man last Tuesday in Detroit, but he's still the superior defender. I point to his 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards and his effortless plays as proof.
Any info on who the Sox will play in interleague in 2011 besides the Cubs? Looks like it is NL West; only team I have seen listed is Diamondbacks hosting the Sox.
-- Mark; Bloomington
This is all tentative and subject to change. As of now, it looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington will play at U.S. Cellular Field, with the Sox heading to Wrigley, Arizona (tentatively scheduled for June 17-19) and either San Francisco or San Diego. The Sox played at San Diego in 2005 and at San Francisco in 2008. Let's hope Pittsburgh doesn't make its way onto the finalized schedule.
And Charley of Chicago points out that Nancy Faust Day will be held September 18, with Nancy Faust bobblehead dolls distributed.