Skip to content
Can you tell me when Kenny Williams is going to quit trying to prove himself right by continuing to play Billy Koch? Isn't it about time that he swallows his pride and admits that he made a terrible decision trading Koch for Keith Foulke? --Scott Pulcini, Chicago
Scott, admitting he made a mistake and continuing to pitch Koch are two different things. Since Koch is virtually untradeable, the Sox have no choice but to try and get as much as they can out of him for the rest of this season. Certainly the numbers indicate that the trade was a mistake from the Sox end, even though they probably weren't going to re-sign Foulke anyway. It appears that closers can be developed from within and can come from unlikely places, so it's debatable whether it's a wise move to trade for or sign a closer from another team.
Based on your experience and the Sox schedule, is there a series that will be a "gut check" for us Sox fans? And Bob, love that baseball retro haircut. --Rich Borowski, Normal, Ill.
Rich, I think the seven games in May against Minnesota--especially the four games in Minneapolis May 20-23--will give a clear indication of whether this Sox team can be a contender. The Twins are still the team to beat in the Central Division and the Sox play 10 games there. They need to prove to the Twins--and more importantly to themselves--that they can compete up there.
Is there any chance that, should Frank Thomas' hamstring injury be serious enough to put him on the disabled list, the team would bring up Jeremy Reed? Also, any chance Ozzie would move Neal Cotts to the rotation and Danny Wright to the pen? --Todd Feurer, Chicago
Todd, obviously Thomas returned to the lineup last weekend, so there was no need to put him on the disabled list. Guillen has been solidly behind Wright from spring training and his outing Saturday was his best of the season, but certainly having Cotts on the roster made the option available. At some point, the Sox are going to have to get some wins when the fifth starter is pitching, whether the starter gets credit for them or not.
Not sure why the media isn't crucifying Kenny Williams for this Jose Valentin fiasco. Could have let him walk and let someone like Uribe or Graffinino play shortstop. Now we are stuck with THE WORST defensive shortstop in the league, and who's average is still not that great. All you ever hear is, "He has left-handed power." Who cares? --Jason Ellis, Deerfield, Ill.
Did you care about Valentin's left-handed power when he homered to beat the Cubs last June? Graffanino isn't an everyday player; never has been, never will be. Uribe will be the likely everyday shortstop next season--unless the Sox need him to be the everyday second baseman. Jason, Valentin isn't going to win any Gold Gloves, but I'm not sure he's the worst shortstop in the American League and I'm not sure there is a guy in that clubhouse who I would want to deliver a clutch hit. Plus, he's a great team guy and leader. He's one of those players who has a lot of intangibles that help during the course of a season.
What's your opinion of Willie Harris? Is he the real deal and, if so, how much do you expect him to accomplish this season? --Don Pressman, New York
Every time I'm ready to jump on the Harris bandwagon, he pulls off to the side of the road. I think, at best, he's a .275-.280 hitter with above-average defense. Don, he needs to increase his on-base percentage and he has to do a better job taking advantage of his speed. Right now, he's only a so-so base stealer. That's not good enough for someone who doesn't have any power.
Why has Frank Thomas batted worse when hitting cleanup vs. third? Is there another place in the lineup that he could bat and be effective (fifth or sixth maybe)? --D. Battle, Mishawaka, Ind.
That's a very good question, which is hard to answer. Perhaps Thomas just got into a better rhythm knowing that he was going to hit in the first inning of every game, and when he hits fourth, that's not always the case. I think it's more of a comfort level that he had in the third spot that he may still be trying to find.
I was looking through the Sox minor league players and I noticed Corwin Malone is on the disabled list and doesn't travel with the team, so I assume that means he has a long-term injury. Since he is our top pitching prospect, I am concerned that his injury may be career-threatening. Can you go into some detail of what happened to him? --Howard Pennington, Park Ridge, Ill.
Howard, Malone had elbow surgery in March and is out for the season. It's the second surgery he's had, so I don't think it's a stretch to say his career may be in question. He won't begin throwing again for another couple months.
Just wondering what your thoughts are about Shingo Takatsu. With the unstable relief corps that the Sox have, do you see him being thrown into the mix and possibly emerging as the team's closer at some point this season? --Joe Savoy, Miramichi, Canada
Takatsu is someone that is always going to worry people because he doesn't throw hard. He doesn't have much margin for error, but he knows how to pitch. Joe, I think Damaso Marte, Mike Jackson and maybe even Jon Adkins would be called on to close before Takatsu, but I think his experience will give the Sox some innings this season.
Former top prospect Joe Borchard seems to be getting worse every year instead of better. At 25, he would seem to be at the make-or-break point in his career. Will he ever be able to hit in the major leagues? Or should he follow in the footsteps of Drew Henson and Chad Hutchinson and return to football? --Craig Robinson, Orland Park, Ill.
Craig, I'm not sure football is a viable option for Borchard at this point. I agree with this being a make-or-break year, especially with the plethora of young outfield prospects the Sox have who may already have passed him by.