-- Tom Pappalardo
I love De Aza in the leadoff spot. He's one of the
's must underrated players on the roster. As for Rios batting second, I think it's best for now to keep the middle of the order (
and Rios) intact for a while. Rios might see more fastballs in the second spot, but teams might be more inclined to pitch around A.J. to get to the hitter behind him.
-- Mike, Orland Park
How much longer do you believe that the Sox can afford to keep Viciedo, Morel and Beckham on the roster? We need help at the bottom of the lineup!
-- Allman of Tempe; Tempe, Ariz.
We've seen Robin pinch-hit for Viciedo, Morel and Beckham more liberally in late-inning situations. So I'd say the clock has started to tick to some extent,
The middle infielders at Triple-A Charlotte haven't been overwhelming. I like what Robin did on Sunday, moving Lillibridge from third base to left field after Viciedo came out, and I'm sure he would have moved him back to third had the Sox tied the game or went ahead in the ninth inning.
So I could see a situation where Lillibridge could get more playing time at second or third in this scenario, but he has to cut down his strikeouts.
Third baseman Dallas McPherson and outfielder Jordan Danks have played well at Charlotte, but I believe Robin is going to be more patient with Viciedo and Morel, to a somewhat lesser extent.
-- Howard; Columbus, Ohio
When I watch Santiago pitch, it seems to me that all he does is throw one fastball after another. You see the speed on TV -- 94, 95, 94, 95 mph, etc. Why aren't they letting him throw his other pitches with more timely frequency -- especially the screwball? It just seems that the hitters are lining him up with the steady diet of fastballs.
-- Cary, Grayslake
Hector's location hasn't been the greatest, and that's what's hurt him the most (as evidenced by his hits, homers and walks allowed in 10 innings). He's got the stuff to be a closer, but I think his best long-term role is as a starter because he has four pitches. He's going to be an interesting study in the next few weeks with
moving to closer and a logjam of relievers -- particularly from the left side.
-- Michael Carl; Billings, Mont.
I still believe Beckham can be a good, if not great offensive player. It seems his problems are more in the head than anything. Wouldn't it do him good to be sent down for a few weeks, work on his swing and confidence and then come back up?
-- John D., Mt. Prospect
In the case of the Sox, there hasn't been a strong alternative in the minors to Beckham.
And yes, I'm very surprised Lillibridge and Fukudome haven't played more.
I'm writing to you again out of total frustration. How can the Sox win when five starters are batting under 200. They only have two hitters, Konerko and A.J. What is wrong with the rest of them? Something tells me they are in for a long year. They must do something about Beckham, Morel and Rios. Their replacements aren't any better. Now Ramirez has gone sour. He wants to hit a homer every time he's at bat. Just totally frustrated again.
-- Ted Cee, Las Vegas
When Alexei decides to take a pitch and stands up out of his crouch and puts the bat on his shoulder, what's the percentage of those pitches being called strikes? 99.8? 99.9?
-- Brian, Lemont
Alexei has come up with a few big hits that have been overshadowed by game-ending home runs by the opponents, and he's provided
-caliber defense. But his lack of production has been as disappointing as the bottom three hitters.
How long do give Robin to stick with Morel? I know we need to be patient with younger players, but he looks over-matched through April.
-- Keek; Tucson, Ariz.
Everyone talks about Beckham's failure, but what about Morel? How long do the Sox stay with him and what other options do they have inside OR outside the organization?
-- Irv Kaage, Park Ridge
Do the White Sox have any other alternative to Morel at third base? Is the Sox farm system void of talent?
-- F. Wisin, Westchester
Of the players who have struggled through the first five weeks, Morel's woes might have surprised me the most. He might have peaked too early in
, or too much might have been made out of his production in September.
But he looked so ready for a productive season with a compact swing and good plate discipline this spring. I'm extremely baffled by this.
It's an important draft for the Sox, and they could use plenty of infield prospects.
-- Ike; Manalapan, NJ
I saw a tremendous dedication to harnessing the running game in spring training, and that's continued in pre-series planning meetings. Bench coach Mark Parent has played a big role in the improvement.
In fairness to the previous regime, there were some pitchers who were very deliberate to the plate and were content to concentrate on the batter.
Did the rules change when tagging out a runner? I saw a game recently where the fielder tagged the runner with his glove while the ball was clearly in his hand, I thought the ball had to be in the glove. Why is the ball changed if it strikes the dirt around home plate whether batted or pitched but not on an infield grounder?
-- Scot, Braidwood
Sounds like the umpire blew the call on the tag. The rules didn't change.
There are some amazing tricks that pitchers can do with a ball that is scuffed by the dirt after throwing it 90 mph or faster.
-- Jim Fainter, Denver
Kenny Williams Jr. is actually 25-years-old. But he's batting .175 with 17 strikeouts in 57 at-bats. After extended spring ends and the June amateur draft is completed, I'd be surprised if he's still in the organization unless his production picks up dramatically.
-- Jimmy D; Sugar Land, Tex.
I think Roy wants to pitch for a bonafide playoff contender, and he seems very comfortable in the
I don't think the rotation is as big of a problem as the offense. I don't think the Sox are in a position to add a free agent unless attendance picks up. I would never tell fans how to spend their money. It's just likely that they'll subtract and not add around the trading deadline if their play and home attendance doesn't improve.
-- Kurt Livingston; Marion, Iowa
The Sox drafted Chris with long-term intentions of him being a starter. The workload that accompanies the transition was just too much at this point. I'd like to see them revisit him being a starter in the future.
Could this end up being another Gossage (Reed)/Forster (Sale) setup? Just a thought.
Or how about Reed being a starter if he's not given a chance to close at any point in 2012? He was the Friday night starter at San Diego State in his junior season.
-- Bob Sagen; Fort Mohave, Ariz.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to bring up an extra player from the minors when playing doubleheaders to give the pitching staff a little relief. Does this use up one of the players' options?
-- Brian Levy; Woodridge
If a player is optioned to the minors and spends at least 20 days there, then the option kicks in. It doesn't have to be 20 consecutive days, just 20 day over the course of a season.
FOX had exclusive television rights to Humber's perfect game. By the way, I'm a big fan of David Benzer, a Bay Area-based cameraman who is in his 30th season. David recently beat stage 4
and returned to work this season. In the past, David has worked the post-season and