I think they believe that Iguchi is better suited for the No. 2 spot because he has better bat control, and I fully understand this. If Podsednik drops to No. 2, then you have consecutive left-handers in Pods and Thome and it helps opposing managers in late-inning situations.
Players can be placed on waivers after July 31. If a team claims that player, the team that currently owns that player can make a deal with that club, pull him off waivers and keep him, or allow that team to claim him and keep him and his salary. A team can make a deal with any team involving a player who clears waivers. I think the Sox are satisfied with their current make up.
Why is it that everybody forgets that we were at the top of baseball in home runs last year? --Leo Carlson-Tessler, Chicago
Because the Sox didn't lead the American League in homers. Texas hit 260 last year, compared to the Sox's 200.
Hey, Mark, you said that it's too late to stretch out Brandon McCarthy to be a starter. But just this week pitching coach Don Cooper said that if Javier Vazquez struggles much more that they might have to consider making Brandon a starter. Who's right? --Shamus, Chicago
Ozzie's right. He took care of that last week by saying there was no thought to putting McCarthy in the rotation this season.
Scott Podsednik's continued decrease in playing time, primarily against lefties, is disconcerting and makes me wonder if he'll be back next year. He's batting only .239 against lefties and his speed seems to be down, which is partly evident in his decreased stolen-base totals. Do you think the Sox will re-sign him, or will they look to a player like minor-leaguer Jerry Owens to bat leadoff next year? Also, will Jermaine Dye be back? How far away is an Owens-Anderson-Sweeney outfield? --Josh J., Hartland, Mich.
Before you run Podsednik out of town, keep in mind that there aren't many good, pure leadoff hitters. Jerry Owens struggled initially but is starting to make big strides at Triple-A Charlotte. This could be a big winter for him. Jermaine Dye's 2007 option ($6 million is very affordable), but I don't think we're that far away from an Owens-Anderson-Sweeney outfield.
I noticed that A.J., Crede, and Freddy have trimmed their hair even more than when Sox management ordered their initial clean up. I am curious was this latest cut job also ordered by management or did the players do this on their own? --Katie Chinn, Cottage Grove, Minn.
The players recently did this on their own. The heat and humidity in Baltimore and Kansas City was brutal, so it was a matter of doing anything to stay cool.
Mark, I think your right that next year might be a good time to move a lefty out of the bullpen and put him into the starting rotation to make room for Boone Logan. But not Neal Cotts, he's been getting rocked lately. I'd rather see Matt Thornton in there. Does Matt need another pitch to be a starter and do you think it could happen next year or in the near future? --James, Chicago
I think the Sox have to be careful with Thornton. I like him in the bullpen. Other than Billy Wagner, there aren't too many left-handed relievers who throw harder than 95 mph. I think we're going to see a stronger Neal Cotts in 2007, and I wouldn't rule out a return to the rotation if Boone Logan continues to show progress.
I find it exasperating to watch the base running of Jim Thome, Scott Podsednik, Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak as they refuse to watch the ball until they know they can make it. Where is Joey Cora on these mistakes? Doesn't Ozzie give signals or does he simply wait to see if they do it as he wishes? Another huge issue is the pitching getting careless and not bearing down on each pitch. Watch Jose Contreras when he is in trouble versus when he thinks he has a safe lead. Unless the Sox move runners along, play each inning as if their season depends on it, they will not make the playoffs and my heart will break. --James Poulsen, Viera, Fla.
The base running has been brutal at times. I think there will be an increased emphasis on smarter base running next spring.
Mark Buehrle is pitching like he is hurt. His command, location and break on his pitches is not what it was earlier in the year. It does look like the innings have caught up with him. What are you hearing? --Howard Dock, Columbus, Ohio
I think Buehrle was handled the right way on Saturday, pitching six innings and getting him out of there. Buehrle's velocity has been down, but a bigger factor is how much slower his curve and change-up are from his fastball. If he can vary the speeds, he's OK. There's been a sameness to all his pitches in past starts, and he paid the price.
Hey mark, we realize that the only questions that you'll answer are the easy ones from individuals who like your shirt so here goes: Red is really your color, Mark, but we don't understand why you would think that Kenny Williams would bring up players from AAA Charlotte in September. Charlotte is probably going to be in the playoffs, and we would guess, those players would dream of having a cup of coffee with Oz, if they're out of contention, but Kenny Williams, Ozzie, Thome, Konerko, and Dye said that they didn't need major league help for the last two months, and if the White Sox are going for a wild card spot wouldn't you think a better choice of call up come in the form of a catcher from Birmingham. --Frank Bartos, West Dundee, Ill.