Notes: Guillen concerned about Ozuna
Manager hopes injury won't affect infielder's legs long-term
MINNEAPOLIS -- When Ozzie Guillen received the medical update regarding Pablo Ozuna during Sunday's 11-5 loss to Tampa Bay -- news indicating Ozuna suffering a fractured right fibula and his ensuing absence for the next three months -- the White Sox manager admitted his attention immediately was diverted.
"Oh my God. From the time I had the information, I spent the whole game thinking, 'Who are we going to call up?'" said Guillen, during his talk with the media before Monday afternoon's series opener at the Metrodome. "This kid, from a manager's point, he resolved a lot of problems.
"He was a guy with speed. He did a lot of good things for us. Are we going to miss him? Yeah. We're going to miss him like any of the guys, because he's a big piece in the club. Now, we have to move on. We're not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves."
Ozuna underwent surgery to repair the right deltoid ligament Monday morning at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, a procedure performed by Dr. Charles Bush Joseph, Dr. Nick Verma and Dr. Simon Lee (foot and ankle specialist). The injured area was fixated with a plate and three screws, according to information released by the White Sox, and Ozuna will begin non-weight bearing rehabilitation in approximately three weeks.
The valuable infielder/outfielder served as the team's spark plug and also was a valuable bat against tough left-handed pitchers, such as Minnesota's Johan Santana, who started on Monday. Ozuna has 10 hits in 34 career at-bats against the reigning American League Cy Young winner.
Before the start of the 2007 season, Ozuna agreed to a contract extension that will pay him $1.25 million in 2008, plus a club option for $1.2 million in 2009 (club buyout of $200,000). Ozuna has an $800,000 salary for 2007.
While Ozuna's three-month absence would put him on schedule to return in September, Guillen seemed more concerned about how the injury would affect Ozuna's long-term effectiveness with his success predicated a great deal on the strength of his legs.
In the meanwhile ... With Ozuna placed on the 15-day disabled list before Monday's contest, infielder/outfielder Andy Gonzalez was called up from Triple-A Charlotte. Gonzalez already was with the White Sox from April 22-26 and May 12-16, while Alex Cintron was on the bereavement list.
Guillen said the decision was made to go with Gonzalez, as opposed to outfielders such as Jerry Owens, Brian Anderson or Ryan Sweeney, because the team needed an infielder. Rob Mackowiak and Luis Terrero will split time in left field, with Terrero hitting his third home run in the third inning Monday.
"If that doesn't work, we maybe call BA or somebody else," said Guillen of Anderson's possible return.
"Right now, we don't know what's going to happen with [Juan] Uribe's mom," added Guillen, explaining the reason for Gonzalez's addition. "We have to give a couple days off to Cintron because of his arm. Every time he plays he gets sore."
Cintron had offseason surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow.
Left is right: The .292 average posted by left-handed hitters against Matt Thornton seems to indicate the White Sox left-handed setup man has struggled this season fulfilling his most important role. But Thornton cautioned appearances just might be deceiving due to his first-week struggles against lefties.
"It's a little blown out of proportion," said Thornton, who has limited right-handed hitters to a .214 average. "I started out with [Cleveland's Grady] Sizemore hitting the home run [to win the season's second game], and then Travis Hafner hit the double over the bag. Sizemore blooped a slider the next time.
"Take away those three hits at the start of the year, and it drops down. It's one of those things where it's like, 'How is he struggling against lefties?' But I'm not. Over the last month, I've gotten back to what I do against lefties and it's going pretty good."
Thornton had a stretch of 11 straight scoreless appearances, covering 8 1/3 innings, end on Sunday when he gave up one run in one inning of relief against Tampa Bay. Thornton also yielded left-handed-hitting Carl Crawford's go-ahead triple in the seventh, putting the loss on Javier Vazquez.
While Thornton's velocity has not yet climbed into the 98-99 mph range, his mound fortunes have improved simply by making higher quality pitches. It's a needed adjustment, with opposing hitters realizing Thornton's bouts of wildness are a thing of the past. Ultimately, Thornton wants to face hitters from both sides of the plate as a setup man, but he takes pride in shutting down the left-handers.
"I have the Randy Johnson mentality of it's almost an insult that you don't pinch-hit for the lefty when I come into the game," Thornton said. "I understand there are big bats from the left side, and managers won't pinch-hit for [Joe] Mauer, [Justin] Morneau or Sizemore, but that's fine. It's another challenge."
Future help: First baseman/outfielder Craig Wilson signed a Minor League contract with the White Sox, a team spokesman confirmed Monday. The 30-year-old was released by the Braves on May 17, after hitting .172 over 58 at-bats. Wilson is a career .262 hitter with 99 home runs and 292 RBIs, and hit .278 against left-handed pitching in 2006. He will report to Charlotte.
Around the horn: Jermaine Dye stretched his hit streak to 14 games with a first-inning single. ... Darin Erstad trailed only the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki and the Twins' Luis Castillo for top averages from the leadoff position in the lineup. Erstad, who leads the team in hits, average and stolen bases, has a .315 average in the top slot and extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single off Santana to start Monday's action. ... The White Sox are 4-7 vs. left-handed starters this season. They are hitting .191 with six home runs and 53 strikeouts, after posting a 31-34 record against southpaw starters in 2006.
Down on the farm: Josh Fields extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 straight games with one hit and one walk during Charlotte's 2-1 victory Sunday. Fields started Sunday's game at shortstop and raised his average to .284, while Lance Broadway allowed one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. ... Cole Armstrong homered during Class A Winston-Salem's 7-2 loss at Kinston. ... Faustino De Los Santos gave up three runs in six innings, striking out eight, as Class A Kannapolis claimed a 6-5 victory over Greensboro. De Los Santos has an ERA of 2.08.
On deck: Rookie left-hander John Danks (3-4, 3.78) carries a three-game win streak into Tuesday night's start against the Twins and Boof Bonser (3-1, 3.88). Danks has a 1-1 record with a 2.84 ERA over two starts this season when facing Minnesota.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.