06/17/2003 9:58 PM ET
Notes: Gordon nears milestone
Reliever one save shy of 100 saves and 100 wins
CHICAGO -- Tom Gordon earned his 99th career save in Monday’s victory, one save shy of becoming the 14th pitcher in baseball history to have 100 victories and 100 saves. Despite Gordon’s ninth-inning appearance, Billy Koch remains the team’s closer.
“Koch is still the primary closer,” Manuel said. “He had pitched three straight nights. To face Nomar (Garciaparra), Manny (Ramirez) and (David) Ortiz on a fourth night might not have been the best thing for us. There are certain nights you can get away with it, but with them swinging good bats, we went to someone fresh.
“Like I said, you need more than one guy closing games. We have a lot of guys who can contribute.”
Pair of aces: With the Cubs-White Sox series falling on back-to-back weekends, there’s a good chance the South Siders will face Kerry Wood or Mark Prior in only one of the six games. That’s not a problem for Manuel.
“No, not at all,” said Manuel with a smile. “Those two are some of the elite pitchers in the National League.
“Prior is a guy that has come on very strong. We saw him in the Spring, and he was very impressive in Arizona’s thin air. Kerry Wood has that electric stuff. We are also right-handed.
“But that’s not to take anything away from (Matt) Clement or (Carlos) Zambrano,” Manuel added. “I don’t really know (Shawn) Estes as well, but they are outstanding pitchers. It probably doesn’t matter to (Cubs manager Dusty Baker) one way or another which ones he has out there.”
Clement and Zambrano figure to start four of the six games against the White Sox.
Minor moves: Promotions were the order of the day for some of the top prospects in the White Sox system.
Ryan Hankins was moved up to Triple-A Charlotte following Monday’s 6-4 victory by Double-A Birmingham over Chattanooga. Hankins, a 13th-round pick in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, hit .288 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs as the Barons’ first baseman.
Byeong Hak An and Jeremy Reed were promoted Tuesday from Single-A Winston-Salem to Birmingham. Reed, a second-round draft pick in 2002, was hitting .333 with four home runs and 52 RBIs for the Warthogs. He plays all three outfield positions and had 27 stolen bases.
An, acquired with Frankie Francisco from Boston in a July 31 trade for Bob Howry last season, had an 8-4 record with a 3.16 ERA in the Carolina League. The native of Bu Chun City, Korea allowed 66 hits in 68 1/3 innings pitched.
Neal Cotts, the left-hander from Belleville, Ill., who was acquired as part of the Billy Koch trade, was activated from the disabled list by Birmingham. Cotts had a 7-2 record, with a 2.11 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings when he was shut down for precautionary measures with shoulder stiffness.
Cliff Brumbaugh, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, had his contract sold to a professional team in Korea. Brumbaugh hit .309 with nine home runs in 62 games for the Knights.
Down on the farm: Royce Ring bounced back Monday night for his 15th save in Birmingham’s victory. Ring allowed four runs on six hits in one-third of an inning during his previous appearance for the Barons.
Danny Sandoval, Juan Piniella, Gabe Alvarez and Guillermo Reyes had two hits apiece.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com