Ozzie: expect something crazy
Ozzie Guillen already has a promise for the 2010 season, his seventh as manager of the Chicago White Sox: Fans can expect to see unconventional baseball early on from his revamped team.
The talkative and sometimes controversial manager made his comments Friday during the team's annual winter convention at a downtown hotel.
``We're going to find out and see if I can manage here or not. Early you might see stupid things on the field and I will be second guessed. But I will take my chances,'' Guillen said.
``We are going to play aggressive and that will start in spring training. We are going to do some crazy stuff. ... I'm going to try to put everything in motion. Get used to it. Sometimes it's going to work, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we are going to run with no outs - triple play. I will be criticized.''
The new-look White Sox were formed by a busy offseason.
Slugger Jermaine Dye was not re-signed. The White Sox added a third baseman in Mark Teahen and a new left fielder and leadoff hitter in Juan Pierre. They signed veterans Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel, while bringing back another veteran, Mark Kotsay, to strengthen their bench. They added J.J. Putz to the bullpen.
They're counting on an injury-free season from Carlos Quentin and a better performance from Alex Rios, who struggled greatly after being signed off the waiver wire from Toronto in August.
And Gordon Beckham, who had a strong rookie season after being called up in June, has been moved to second base from third.
Guillen says the White Sox will run the bases more aggressively and create more scoring opportunities. And they should play better defense after making 113 errors last season. Jones in center and Viquel in the infield should help.
``We just got to get used to playing a different ballgame and that's what we're going to do,'' Guillen said.
``I'd rather have Rios steal 50 bases than hit 50 home runs. I want production,'' Guillen said. ``Last year we were making errors in the wrong place, we were throwing the ball to the wrong base, a lot of mistakes on the bases and a lot of hits where we don't score.''
The result was a 79-83 finish.
With a healthy Jake Peavy, who missed three months last season while recovering from an ankle injury, Chicago's starting rotation should be strong. Peavy, who won all three of his starts for the White Sox after being acquired from the Padres, is the expected ace.
Williams joked Friday that Peavy could draw the first fine of 2010 for wearing jeans with holes in them to the festival.
But if Peavy pitches like the former Cy Young Award winner he is, his attire won't matter much.
Joining Peavy is lefty Mark Buehrle, who pitched a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23 and then went 2-7 over his final 13 starts, lefty John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia.
``It's taken a long time for us to get to the point where 1 through 5 we feel we can match up on any given day with anyone in the league,'' Williams said.
Peavy and Buehrle were already trading compliments.
Although logic says Peavy will be the opening day starter, the right-hander was deferring to Buehrle. Buehrle has already started seven season openers for the White Sox, tying Billy Pierce for most in team history.
``I believe this is Mark Buehrle's staff and I said that from Day One,'' Peavy said, adding it would be fine with him if Buehrle starts the opener April 5 against Cleveland. ``He's been the face of this franchise.''
Buehrle, who has pitched 200 innings or more in nine straight seasons, has been doing arm-strenghtening work during the offseason to give him more durability in the second half.
His pick would be Peavy.
``If I get it and break the record it would be good, but if I retire tied with the record I'm not going to be upset. ... I think he is better than me, so I'd put him out there. If I were the manager, he'd be starting opening day for me.''