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No end to their misadventures
Not only did this past weekend provide a bleak look at the present state of the White Sox, it also offered a realistically stark view of the future.
Losing to Boston 11-1 Sunday was the same old news, but left fielder Josh Fields letting the first popup that was hit to him plop to the ground came under the heading of bad new news.
With the White Sox trying out different personnel as they look ahead to next season, Fields was asked to begin his on-the-job training without an instruction manual.
It's an open-ended experiment, this switch of Fields from third base to left field.
What it means is that Joe Crede is expected to return healthy from back surgery next season and that Scott Podsednik, the oft-injured left fielder the last three seasons, probably won't be asked back.
"It's a decision for obvious reasons, for the future," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It gives [Fields] an opportunity to see if we can play him in the outfield if Joe Crede is coming back."
Fields' fielding error led to three unearned ninth-inning runs, but they were meaningless runs except for the final indignation.
The carnage of runs from the weekend: Red Sox 46, White Sox 7.
It was, according to Elias Sports Bureau, only the fourth time since 1900 that a major-league team had scored in double digits in each game of a four-game series. The others were the St. Louis Browns in 1920 and 1922 and the Colorado Rockies in 1996.
"Even if you tried, you couldn't play at this [terrible] level," Guillen said.
That level goes back even further than this past weekend for the last-place White Sox, who have lost 13 of their last 15.
And to think that Sunday was supposed to be the start of something special, what with Fields switching positions, apparently for the rest of the season.
"I don't think you'll see him at third base unless there's some extreme emergency," Guillen said. "I talked to him about it. I said, 'Whatever happens [in left], it's my fault.' "
Then Sunday's ninth-inning flub of David Ortiz's high fly ball can be considered Guillen's fault?
"I get one ball hit to me, two outs in the ninth inning," Fields said. "It waits that long to come out to me. It was just different. The ball kind of came back toward the infield and the wind blew it a little. Hopefully I won't make the same mistake tomorrow."
Fields had little time Sunday morning to make the adjustment, and playing on a sunny day in left field at U.S. Cellular Field is never easy.
"I don't worry about that," Guillen said of Fields' mistake. "I know this kid is going to be fine."
Podsednik probably won't be, left without a position when he returns from his strained rib-cage muscle. Guillen hardly gave him a ringing endorsement.
"When he's healthy, I'll give him some at-bats," he said. "I don't know how much I'll play him. When he's back and ready to go I'll pick my spots to play him."
Fields played left field in winter ball, some in spring training and one inning in his major-league debut last Sept. 13, so the position isn't completely foreign to him.
Guillen never was overwhelmed by Fields' play at third, despite his hard work to improve in the hopes of playing there permanently.
"Of course, you want to care where you are playing, but if they tell me to go play left, I'm not going to [gripe] about it," Fields said. "I'm in the big leagues. I'll play left, catch, whatever. I don't really have a preference."
Andy Gonzalez, who started Sunday's game, and Alex Cintron are expected to fill in at third the rest of the season.
Gonzalez was errorless Sunday, but it didn't really matter.
White Sox starter Javier Vazquez, who was 8-1 with a 2.94 ERA over his last 12 starts, allowed seven runs in six innings and gave up three homers, including two-run shots by Ortiz and Bobby Kielty.