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The White Sox's vulnerability stood out Thursday night as they missed a chance to move into first place in the American League Central.
Shortly after manager Ozzie Guillen announced Rob Mackowiak would take over as the starting center fielder, the Sox's problems against left-handed starters continued as Kenny Rogers retired 17 consecutive batters in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers.
And after Mackowiak experienced defensive difficulties during the Tigers' four-run sixth inning, Guillen said he would give struggling rookie center fielder Brian Anderson another shot.
"In the meanwhile, I don't come here to develop," Guillen said. "I come here to win. If we have to do something about it, we will. But there's nothing out there."
Compounding the problem is Anderson, who is batting .158 but is the team's best defensive outfielder. He is hitting .121 against left-handed pitchers, and the Sox will face Cleveland left-handers Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia in the first two games of a weekend series before heading to Texas, where they are scheduled to face lefties John Koronka and John Rheinecker, who beat the Sox on Sunday.
"That's the problem," said Guillen, who is scheduled to meet Friday with general manager Ken Williams to discuss options that will include minor-league players. "We have a couple of pretty good outfielders (Jerry Owens and Ryan Sweeney), but they're left-handed hitters. I'd rather have this kid here from the right side and talk about different people. We're better off giving him the opportunity and see what happens."
The Sox (36-23) fell to 10-13 in games against left-handed starters, and the crafty Rogers limited the Sox's left-handed hitters to 2-for-12.
The Sox are batting .249 against left-handers this season, 26 points below their team average (.275).
The left-handed hitting Mackowiak was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Rogers and is batting .193 against lefties.
Mackowiak worked with minor-league outfield instructor Darryl Boston before the game, but Mackowiak doesn't possess the defensive skills Anderson has displayed, which have been good enough to keep him on the roster despite his low average.
That became apparent during the Tigers' four-run sixth that broke open a duel between Rogers and Jon Garland (4-3).
Mackowiak caught Magglio Ordonez's fly for the second out, but he didn't put himself in a strong throwing position so Ivan Rodriguez was able to tag up and advance to second.
Carlos Guillen followed with an RBI single and moved to second on Mackowiak's throw to the plate. The Tigers didn't let up, as Guillen scored all the way from second on Omar Infante's infield hit when Paul Konerko turned to look at the first-base umpire. Marcus Thames capped the rally with a two-run homer off Garland.
Anderson, 24, has struggled after batting .309 with no errors in spring training. He has been below .200 since April 12.
"This is all on me," Anderson said. "I've been given every opportunity to prove myself. It's just a tough pill for me to swallow right now. I did so well in spring training and had such good at-bats, but it's hard to get anything going."
The Sox failed to apply more damage to Rogers (8-3) after Konerko hit a two-run shot in the first.
After the game, Guillen said third baseman Joe Crede, who left in the top of the fourth because of back spasms suffered on a swing in the first inning, wouldn't start Friday night.