Notes: Vazquez hoping to stay put
With three moves in three seasons, hurler wants stability
CHICAGO -- Javier Vazquez has lived a bit of a transient baseball life over the past three years, with part of that constant change being his own doing. But he hopes that can change.
Vazquez began the 2004 season with the New York Yankees, after being traded from Montreal in the previous offseason. He started 2005 with Arizona, when the Yankees shipped him out as part of the Randy Johnson deal. And, of course, Vazquez became part of the White Sox starting rotation on Dec. 20, 2005, after requesting a trade to move closer to his family.
While some consider change to be a positive in life, Vazquez has expressed hope that the 2007 season does not bring his fourth team in four seasons. Simply put, the right-hander wants to stay settled on the South Side of Chicago.
"Definitely, because I feel good here," said Vazquez, when asked about remaining with the White Sox. "It's tough, being on three different teams in three years.
"Last year was my call, and I did that based on family mostly. But I definitely hope to stay here longer."
Featuring an 11-9 record and a 4.80 ERA moving into Sunday's series finale against C.C. Sabathia and the Indians, Vazquez has been a bit of a disappointment only based on his strong start to the 2006 campaign and his vast talent. Much has been made concerning Vazquez's difficulties during the third time through the opposition's lineup, but he has seemed to turn a corner with three straight solid starts against the Twins, Devil Rays and Red Sox.
Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Fenway Park, when he allowed one run on three hits over eight innings while striking out 11, just might have been Vazquez's best start as a member of the White Sox. But even with this recent performance elevation, Vazquez knows there's a strong chance at least one starter will be moved in the offseason in order to make room for Brandon McCarthy.
After packing his bags and relocating during the past two seasons, Vazquez hopes he's not the odd man out. Then again, he doesn't look at these final four September starts as any sort of 2007 audition.
"I've been in the big leagues long enough where I don't have to prove anything to anybody," said Vazquez, who will earn $12.5 million in the final year of his contract in 2007, with part of the salary paid by Arizona. "They have a decision to make and it's not my call, so all I can do is just go out and keep pitching.
"There's no doubt I like this team. They all have treated me well in the organization, and the city is awesome. I hope I can stay here."
Strange splits: The difference between McCarthy's effort at home and his performance on the road is hard for the right-hander to explain. Suffice it say, the young hurler prefers to pitch at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
McCarthy has a 3-3 record and 2.93 ERA in 24 games and 43 innings pitched at home, limiting the opposition to a .197 average. During 23 appearances and 29 1/3 innings away from home, McCarthy holds a 0-3 record with a 6.14 ERA and a .284 opponents average against.
"I don't know if there is a reason for it, except that I'm always more comfortable at home and feel a little more familiar with the set up," McCarthy said. "I can find a groove a little easier here, but that's about it."
With four runs on five hits allowed in his last 1 2/3 innings, McCarthy is searching to find a new groove on the mound. But in this year-long learning experience of relief pitching, McCarthy once again has witnessed the difference in immediacy between working out of the bullpen and in the rotation.
Take Monday's game, for example. As a starter, giving up a home run to the first batter faced still gives a pitcher 27 outs to develop a high-quality start. On Monday in Boston, that same home run served as a game-winner for Carlos Pena leading off the 10th inning.
"It's definitely different and something I continuously have to adjust to," said McCarthy of pitching in relief. "I won't say I'm not as comfortable as I thought I was.
"But there are still times where you don't realize it's as immediate as it is. It's something I have to try to get through to myself."
Who's on third? For the second straight game, Joe Crede found himself out of the starting lineup due to tightness in his lower back. But Ozzie Guillen mentioned during Thursday's postgame interview session how he planned to rest Crede against right-hander Paul Byrd, and added during Friday's pregame session that Crede is expected back Saturday.
With Crede out of action, Rob Mackowiak moved from left field to third base for his second 2006 start at the hot corner.
"That's what [I was] brought in for, [my] versatility," Mackowiak said. "It helps out the manager because he can put you in different positions on different days.
"I don't mind it," added Mackowiak of his spot start at third. "I guess playing there [two] times this year is a little more difficult than being there on a little bit more of a regular basis. It's part of your job, so you get out there and do it."
With lefties hitting .371 against Byrd, Guillen also opted to play switch-hitting Alex Cintron at second and rookie Ryan Sweeney in center
"Right now, I need to score the most runs I can," Guillen said. "Besides yesterday, I think we've been pitching pretty well, but we haven't scored any runs."
Down on the farm: Josh Fields tripled home two runs, but that hit served as the lone highlight for Triple-A Charlotte during its 6-2 loss at Toledo on Thursday. The Knights' best-of-five, first-round series in the International League playoffs is tied at one. Valerio De Los Santos took the loss, despite striking out nine over 6 1/3 innings ... The White Sox and Knights announced Friday that they have extended their player development contract through the 2010 season. Charlotte has served as the organization's top Minor League affiliate for the last eight seasons ... Christian Marrero had three hits during rookie level Great Falls' 6-5 loss to Billings in 10 innings.
Up next: After allowing one run on five hits over six innings during his Monday start at Fenway Park, Jon Garland (16-4, 4.37) deserved a better fate than a no-decision against the Red Sox. Garland goes in search of his 13th win in 14 decisions Saturday, carrying a 3.00 ERA over his last 15 starts. The Indians counter with Fausto Carmona (1-8, 5.76 ERA) in the 6:05 p.m. CT first pitch.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.