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What is wrong with Esteban Loaiza? He was so dominant last year, and this year he looks like the Loaiza that bounced around the majors for most of his career. Has he altered his approach to pitching? Is it a flaw in his delivery? If this trend continues, the Sox are going to need more than Freddy Garcia. --Adam Patai, Las Vegas, Nev.
Adam, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with Esteban Loaiza other than returning to the same form he displayed throughout his career up until last season. I think the more we see him the more it becomes apparent that last season was catching lightning in a bottle. Loaiza's numbers this season are almost identical to his career numbers, and since last season was his only "breakout" season, I think that was more outside the norm.
Many pitchers, like Mark Prior recently, experience "discomfort" in their elbow or shoulder. My questions is, what does "discomfort" really mean? Is it a searing pain? Is it a tingling feeling? Does it have more to do with the pain or with the inability to pitch effectively without pain? --Brent Ray, New York
I personally have never had discomfort in my elbow--typing doesn't put too much strain on the joints. Brent, I'm not sure there is one answer for that. I think it depends on the individual and his threshold of pain. I think a lot also has to do with pitchers being treated far more carefully today than 20 or 30 years ago. Sandy Koufax pitched complete games in spring training. There isn't a pitcher in the game who would pitch with the kind of soreness that Koufax threw complete games with.
Why not trade Ordonez and whoever else (Valentin, Gload, lefty reliever) to the Astros for Carlos Beltran? That would make Harris the permanent 2B, put Uribe at SS and make the OF more stable. Beltran has probably as good a bat as Maggs if not better, plus more speed. --Damon Robinson, Chicago
Damon, it's going to be tough to trade Ordonez now, obviously, but even healthy I'm not sure that's a deal the Sox would want to make. Like Ordonez, Beltran is a free agent at the end of the season, so if the Sox don't sign him they not only lose Beltran but the players they traded to get him. Is Beltran a guy that can put a team in a World Series? Not sure. He's a great player, but I don't know if you offer the roster and then risk losing him. And if the Sox are going to have a hard time signing Ordonez--and that situation might change with the injury--then they'll have an even harder time signing a younger Beltran.
Do you envision any scenario where the White Sox might try to get either Kip Wells or Josh Fogg back from Pittsburgh? I read recently that Texas was interested in Wells, leading me to believe that maybe he is available. -- Bob Gollner, San Antonio, Texas
Hard to see that happening, Bob. Kris Benson is the big fish everyone is trying to pry out of Pittsburgh. The Pirates have to keep some of their players around.
Miguel Olivo was a promising catcher with solid defensive skills, and was now beginning to hit. Do you think the Sox can be competitive with Alomar and Burke, or do you think they will try to acquire another catcher? --Chris Chinn, St. Paul, Minn.
Chris, I don't see them in the market for a catcher before the deadline, perhaps in the off-season. They seem to be pretty high on Jamie Burke and he's actually done a nice job when given the opportunity. But certainly that is an area they are going to have to address, likely in the off-season.