Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:15 pm
If the Twins do opt to deal Jim Thome, who reportedly is on waivers through Thursday, it's hard to imagine a better way for Thome's career to end than him taking one last victory lap in Cleveland.
Thome certainly would fit with the Indians, with Travis Hafner possibly out for the season with a foot injury.
But here's a thought: What if another of Thome's ex-teams is in position to claim him first?
Hello, disappointing Chicago White Sox.
Any interest there?
"I'd love to have Jim Thome back," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Tuesday night's series opener against the Angels in Anaheim. "I've said day-in and day-out, he's one of my favorite guys in baseball.
"But that's up to Kenny [Williams, Sox general manager]."
The Sox are still hanging in there in a tepid AL Central in the midst of a disappointing, mediocre (63-63) season.
Free agent slugger Adam Dunn (.169, 11 homers, 40 RBI) has been one of the game's most disappointing players. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski currently is on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. Outfielder Carlos Quentin (.255, 24 homers, 77 RBI) was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game Tuesday with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder suffered Saturday against Texas.
"If you ask anybody wearing this uniform if they would want Jim Thome back, they would say, 'Yes'," Guillen said.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:51 pm
"Things are going great," Crain says. "I'm getting along with the guys real well. They have a great bunch of guys here.
"You never look at it that way from the other side. You think they're a bunch of jerks."
When you cross the Great Divide in a bitter rivalry, sometimes that happens.
Crain spent the past seven seasons working on the other side of the AL Central, in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen.
Now with the White Sox, some of the right-hander's perceptions are changing.
"Because of the rivalry, I never really knew anybody over here," Crain says. "We didn't really talk before games. Usually, with every team you know a couple of guys. But not with these guys. The only guy I kind of knew was Mark Teahen, because I played on Team Canada with him."
So. From the Twins' side, which White Sox did Crain view as perhaps the biggest jerk (or two)?
Crain and Pierzynski, though, have one thing in common: They each cut their teeth in the Twins' organization.
But Konerko as a jerk? Really? He's considered as one of the game's class acts.
"I don't even know why I thought that about Paulie," Crain says. "I never got to first base, of course, so I never talked to him there. I was always facing him, and I'd see him get mad when things didn't go well at the plate.
"But this guy's a ballplayer. He's tough. He's soft spoken. He's the Captain.
"I think [learning that Konerko is not a jerk] has been my biggest shock. I haven't even told him that yet."
No need anymore, Jesse. Allow us to take care of that right now.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:39 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 11:01 pm
PHOENIX -- Outtakes from the Wonderful World of Oz(zie Guillen) and the White Sox Camp:
-- Catcher A.J. Pierzynski breaks down four strong arms that should give opponents late-inning fits this summer:
On lefty Matt Thornton: "Easy gas. He throws the easiest 97, 98 m.p.h. there is. It's amazing how he can have that motion, and then all of a sudden 97, 98 comes out of it."
On lefty Chris Sale: "Amazing. As skinny as he is, with such a slight frame, to do what he's done in less than a year is incredible."
On righty Sergio Santos: "Great story, switching positions (from shortstop to pitcher). He's got a full year in the bigs now, and his stuff translates. It's a great story. I remember watching Sergio Santos when he was a shortstop and they had him throw in the bullpen. We all watched because we knew about his arm strength. I was like, 'I wish I had his arm. I'd be a pitcher.'"
On righty Jesse Crain: "Thank God he's not on the Twins anymore. Him and Matt Guerrier killed us. It seemed like they pitched every game against us. He's bigger than I thought. His stuff is good and he goes about his job the way you should. It's a testament to his coming up with the Twins."
On lefty Will Ohman: "I haven't seen him pitch yet this spring, but he knows what it takes and he's got a great track record against left-handers. He can throw every day. It'll be interesting to see how Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] and Ozzie [Guillen, manager] manage the left-handers."
-- Mark Teahen, in Year Two of a three-year, $14 million deal, is having a scorching spring (10 for 26, one homer). But there appears to be no room for him the lineup: The Sox really like Brent Morel, and Guillen has informed the kid that he's won the third base job.
"If Morel is on the club, he has to play every day," Guillen told me earlier this week.
So, where does that leave Teahen? As a bat off the bench to provide depth? On the trading block? It would be a tough contract to trade.
As for Morel, the Sox's lineup is strong enough that he should be fairly well shielded. Their expectation isn't gaudy numbers. It's that he simply battles each at-bat, handles himself well and shows some progress. As long as he does that and catches balls at third base, the Sox will be happy.
Sunblock Day? Gray skies for the first time in three weeks in Arizona. Temps in the low 60s. Brrrr.
Likes: Great vibe in the White Sox clubhouse this spring. This is a team that knows it is good. Very good. ... Ozzie Guillen's coaching staff is underrated. Very high on pitching coach Don Cooper and hitting coach Greg Walker. ... The Pinenut sea bass topped with an orange sauce that was a bit sweet and a bit spicy at Rokerij in Phoenix the other night with the chile potato and the prickly pear margarita. Outstanding. ... Warren Zevon's Mr. Bad Example. ... A big good luck to the Falcons of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central High in their state quarterfinal game against undefeated Schoolcraft High on Tuesday night in the Michigan High School Boys' Basketball Tournament. It's been an extraordinary athletic year for that fine school, and here's hoping the Falcons extend their season.
Dislikes: Twice in recent days a motorcycle rider has passed me on the freeway without wearing a helmet. I know Arizona's got other issues, but this state needs to pass a law requiring cycle riders to wear helmets. That, or the riders need to smarten up. Last thing I want to see is a wreck on the freeway where some motorcycle rider's head explodes like a pumpkin.
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:13 am
Yes, that one pitch techinically came in the dramatic one-game playoff last Sept. 30, when Jim Thome drove a Nick Blackburn pitch over the center-field wall in U.S. Cellular Field to clinch the AL Central title with a 1-0 victory.
But it could have been any number of one other pitches during the month of September as the Twins made their unlikely charge.
"I had a tough stretch during that long road trip," says closer Joe Nathan, referring to the late September swing through Baltimore, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, a trip during which the Twins went 4-6. "We kicked the ball around a little emore than usual. I threw one away."
Nathan cited those as moments that gnaw at him, moments that continue to motivate him.
Generally speaking in professional sports, teams drawing motivation from the previous season and carrying it forward is overblown. Players change teams, they move on. Other things in life come up.
In the Twins' case, however, they may take a bit of motivation from the sudden-death ending to their 2008 season.
"For me, that's over with," manager Ron Gardenhire says. "It's a whole new year in front of us. You can't relieve the past.
"You can use it as a learning experience. It was one pitch. One big hit could have made the difference for us."
Especially for younger players such as outfielders Carlos Gomez and Denard Span, and Blackburn, who is expected to be a mainstay in this year's rotation, the highs and lows of last September can't hurt in 2009.
"It was a good experience for them," Gardenhire says. "That was a big stage. Everyone was watching us. We were it. We were watched. It was fun."
Likes: Minnesota skipper Ron Gardenhire when asked whether last year's one-game playoff with the White Sox will intensify the Sox-Twins rivalry. "Only with us and A.J.," the manager quipped, referring to former Twin and current Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "Him showing the ball to our dugout (after holding onto it when Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at the plate to end the fifth inning). Guys were saying, 'Boy, he really pisses us off.' That's what he does best. We know it. He knows it. That's why we love him."
Dislikes: The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News filing for bankruptcy the other day. Several other newspapers having filed for bankruptcy. The bad news in the auto industry. The banking situation. Foreclosures. Thank goodness for spring training. Can we start getting some good news sometime soon?
Sunblock day? Eventually. It's really cool in the mornings this week -- like, wear-a-jacket cool -- but toward late morning the warm sun takes over.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day
"City girls seem to find out early
-- The Eagles, Lyin' Eyes