Notes: Everett sits at NL ballpark
White Sox DH takes news in stride on Monday
HOUSTON -- Carl Everett's only current connections to the Houston Astros hang on the left-center field wall at Minute Maid Park, under the large Citgo sign and the much-talked-about train that travels across the top.
They are banners representing Houston's first-place squads in the National League Central during the 1998 and 1999 campaigns, teams in which Everett was a featured performer. In fact, his .325 average, 25 home runs, 108 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 1999 arguably comprise the best season of his career.
But playing as part of the first World Series in Texas holds no extra meaning for Everett. In fact, the switch-hitter won't even be an active part of these next three games in Houston, with the designated hitter being replaced by pitchers hitting.
Manager Ozzie Guillen stated directly on Sunday that he didn't need to tell Everett, or any player, for that matter, that he wasn't playing in a given game. On Monday, Everett had no problem whatsoever with his manager's expected decision.
"No, not at all," said Everett, who is hitting .289 with three RBIs during the postseason. "We are here to win, and no matter how we win or who's on the field when we win, we all win together. That's how we have done it all year long, and it's certainly not going to change now."
Everett figures to get a few pinch-hitting opportunities over the next three games. But his single to right and ensuing caught-stealing at second in the seventh inning Sunday night at U.S. Cellular Field could be two of his last on-field moves with the White Sox, if the team holding a 2-0 lead closes out the World Series in Houston.
The White Sox hold a club option for the switch-hitter in 2006. Although he is the sort of fierce competitor general manager Kenny Williams covets and had a productive year with 87 RBIs in 2005, it seems unlikely the White Sox will bring back Everett at $5 million. Chicago would be more inclined to use a $500,000 buyout.
If Everett had a choice, he would remain a part of this special group. But Everett is a realist and understands he has no real say in the matter.
"I made the choice to come back this year," said Everett, who exercised a $4 million player option for 2005. "I could have opted out, but I wanted to be here. So, that should tell you that if I had a choice, I would be back.
"I'm quite sure every player on this team would like to be back. It's a great baseball team, and I don't think many adjustments need to be made. It's proven. But I'll make the best out of whatever decision is made. If Kenny and [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] say, 'Yes, we want him back,' then I'm back."
Something special: When Scott Podsednik was a Little Leaguer in West, Texas, he never could have imagined being part of a World Series in his home state, hitting the 14th walk-off home run in World Series history or having a direct link to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In one weekend, Podsednik hit all three objectives.
The bat used by Podsednik for his game-winning drive off closer Brad Lidge has been shipped to Cooperstown, despite Podsednik's request to use it again in Houston. This particular honor was the culmination of a whirlwind 24-hour period for Podsednik.
"I never grew up thinking of anything close to something like that happening," said Podsednik of his bat's induction into the Hall of Fame. "To have a bat of mine go into the Hall of Fame was pretty special.
"It was a special time for me. It was the biggest at-bat and biggest hit of my career, without a doubt."
And it's an at-bat that almost didn't take place because of the left fielder's defense. Podsednik had a chance to end the game in the top of the ninth on Jose Vizcaino's pinch-hit single to left off closer Bobby Jenks, but his throw to the plate barely missed nailing trail runner Chris Burke at the plate.
Vizcaino's single tied the game, setting up arguably the most memorable home run in White Sox history.
"To be honest, when the throw left my hand, I thought we had him and the game might be over," Podsednik said. "I don't have the strongest arm and I'm not going to throw a lot of people out. But I thought we did have a shot at him."
Added responsibilities: Guillen didn't seem very worried about Jon Garland or Freddy Garcia, the White Sox starters for Game 3 and 4, respectively, picking up a bat against Houston. But if Game 5 is necessary on Thursday night, Jose Contreras could be a different story without a background as a hitter.
The offensive expectations aren't set very high for the pitchers at the plate. Guillen simply wants good, productive at-bats.
"When you're a pitcher here, you have to help yourself," Guillen said. "People moving over, bunting. Hopefully, we'll do it."
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski pointed out having pitchers in the batting order changes the game defensively, more than anything else.
"You always have to keep in mind where the pitcher is and if they are going to use a pinch hitter," Pierzynski said. "There's a lot more bunting and strategy.
"Getting the pitcher up in big situations helps a little bit. But pitchers do get hits."
Not a fan: While Podsednik compared playing at Minute Maid Park as something akin to playing at Fenway Park in Boston, Everett voiced his displeasure over some of the park's more unique features.
"That mockery in center field, that's terrible," said Everett of the hill in center, with a flagpole in play near the 436-foot mark. "It's not baseball. It's all architectural.
"I actually like the Astrodome better. I liked the gaps. I believe singles and doubles are more important than home runs."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.