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Sox waiting till next year
Any resemblance between the White Sox team that ran out on the field Thursday for its final home game and the one that started the season in Seattle is an optical illusion.
Magglio Ordonez, Frank Thomas and Jose Valentin were the only Opening Day starters in the lineup for the Comiskey Park finale, and Valentin had moved from third base to shortstop.
Whether they are revamped, reshuffled or just plain rejuvenated, the White Sox left Chicago on a positive note with a 3-2 victory over Boston.
Ordonez hit his 38th home run, Thomas drove in his 92nd run and Dan Wright (14-12) allowed two runs on three hits in 7 1/3 innings. The Sox finished with a 47-34 home record, have set a franchise record with 217 home runs and won for the 13th time in their last 17 games.
Wright ended the season with a 5.18 earned-run average but won his final four starts. He was 9-4 after the All-Star break.
"The biggest thing I've learned is when I got in trouble, I always wanted to put a little more on a fastball or breaking ball," Wright said. "Basically I learned to stick with what I had and try to locate it."
Keith Foulke notched his 100th career save with a perfect ninth inning, insisting he felt like a "rookie" going out in a save situation again.
Foulke isn't willing to wait until the off-season to find out whether the Sox are serious about him becoming a starter in 2003.
"The way I prefer it, when I leave on Sunday, that's when I want to know," Foulke said. "A lot of times you don't get what you want. Either way, I'm going to go out there and do my stuff."
General manager Ken Williams said Thursday the Sox are not looking to trade Foulke, even if he makes $6 million as a set-up man to Damaso Marte.
"I have no desire to leave," Foulke said.
The Sox drew 12,304 to their final home game, giving them an attendance of 1,676, 911, ranking 10th among the 14 AL teams. That's a modest 5 percent drop in attendance from 2001 and a 14 percent decrease from the division-winning season in 2000.
Next year's club will be expected to contend, assuming the addition of another starter or two and the maturation of Joe Crede, D'Angelo Jimenez and Aaron Rowand, among others.
"I know that the greater the excitement level, the greater the expectations, the better the chances are we will get our fans excited and more of them will come out," Williams said. "At this point in time, for me, from a baseball perspective, I choose to allow this particular group to grow without the pressures of those expectations in 2003."