Notes: Injury woes continue with Thome
Slugger scratched from Tuesday's game with back issues
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen took a quick walk through the training room in the White Sox clubhouse a few hours prior to Tuesday's first pitch against the Marlins and had only one basic reaction to what he witnessed.
"I just started laughing," said the White Sox manager with a smile. "I told Hermie [White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider], 'You should be paid more money than me. You have more people there than I have in the lineup.' We have people laying on tables here and then someone else laying over there."
That injury list grew by one on Tuesday, as Jim Thome was scratched from a possible start when he woke up with a bad back. Thome was available to hit Tuesday night, although Guillen wasn't sure as to whether Thome would start Wednesday afternoon's series finale with a day off coming Thursday prior to the weekend series against the Cubs.
Guillen believes the one start at first base made by Thome last Wednesday in Philadelphia might have produced the back issue for his designated hitter. That cause and effect leaves Guillen hopeful that Thome won't be out of action for a prolonged period.
"Everything started when [Thome] played first base in Philadelphia," said Guillen. "[He] started getting sore. People think he only played one game, but you bend down 100 or 200 pitches, the way we pitched that day, maybe 300 pitches, and that kills you. Every pitch, you have to squat and be ready."
While Thome was replaced by Alex Cintron, Jermaine Dye opted to play through a strained right quadriceps, suffered last weekend in Pittsburgh. Dye tweaked the injury making two diving catches during Monday's victory and left the contest in the bottom of the fourth. But he didn't feel as if one or even two days' rest would make much a difference in the healing process.
When a player exits a game early during Guillen's regime, he almost always sits out the next day as a precautionary measure. But Guillen felt as if the right-handed-hitting Dye was needed against Dontrelle Willis. The Marlins' starter lasted only one inning due to a tight left forearm.
"I'm going to play until it blows. I'm going to play until I can't play," said Dye, who mentioned the injury is felt most when he runs. "Either that, or go on the disabled list. I don't want to go on the DL."
"I just have to be cautious with what I do and guard it," Dye added.
Five White Sox players currently are on the disabled list: Joe Crede, Dewon Day, Darin Erstad, Pablo Ozuna and Scott Podsednik. Numerous others are battling through nagging maladies, much like Thome and Dye.
But for a team trying to fight its way near contention, there's no real time for key cogs to completely recover.
"It doesn't feel normal, but you roll the dice," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "Sometimes you do that, and have your best games. Of course, it can go the other way."
Youthful indiscretions: Getting picked off base in the middle of a major scoring opportunity can make for an embarrassing on-field moment, as Josh Fields found out in the seventh inning of Monday's 10-6 victory, after Florida catcher Miguel Olivo caught him leaning off second. Jerry Owens experienced the same feeling two batters later.
Chalk up the miscues to part of the rookie learning process. But Fields explained that the strength of Olivo's throwing arm certainly wasn't a surprise to players who haven't seen him in action very often.
"All baseball knows he has a cannon," said Fields of Olivo. "I was thinking, 'Get a big lead, because we have been hitting the ball well and try to score on a base hit.' But I was out by at least two feet.
"The two rookies screw up, not only in the same game, but in the same inning," added Fields with a resigned smile. "It makes us both look really bad."
Fields picked up an important piece of information regarding the difference in leads on the basepaths from Monday's mistake.
"They want me to get big leads and I'm working on it," Fields said. "But one of two things can happen. I can get a big lead and not a big secondary, or a short lead and a big secondary. I have to choose one or the other and go with it and not get picked again."
Collegiate connection: The 2007 First-Year Player Draft class for the White Sox has been well-represented during the College World Series.
Infielder Logan Johnson (20th round) of Louisville knocked out three home runs, drove in five and scored four for the Cardinals, before they were eliminated Tuesday. The second baseman's power potential, not to mention his 62 RBIs and .363 average from this past season, has a team short of middle-infield prospects excited by the selection.
"If he's not an every day guy, then he certainly can be a utility guy," said Duane Shaffer, Chicago's senior director of amateur scouting, to MILB.com concerning Johnson, who will start out with Bristol of the Appalachian League. "He has some juice in his bat and he has a chance to play two or three positions. So when we drafted him, we obviously looked at that.
"Hopefully we have a diamond in the rough. I like him at second or third. We hope he can play the middle infield because that will only add to his value. We think he can. We'll send him out and see where he fits in. But his bat is the key."
Catcher John Curtis (14th round) and outfielder Nick Mahin (16th round) combined to go 7-for-18 with three RBIs before Cal-State Fullerton was eliminated.
Around the horn: Prior to Tuesday's game, reliever Brett Prinz cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte. Prinz has until Thursday to accept the assignment or become a free agent. ... Dick Vitale threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches on Tuesday. ... Mark Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, spent time with pediatric patients at the University of Chicago Corner Children's hospital earlier on Tuesday. ... Closer Bobby Jenks shaved his head during Spring Training as part of the St. Baldrick's Foundation drive to raise money for kids' cancer research. The act also was done in conjunction with the eighth graders at Most Holy Redemeer in Evergreen Park, Ill., who were shaving their heads in support of classmate Michael Healy and his battle with bone cancer. Jenks met Healy and his friends Monday night, presenting them with autographed photos.
Down on the farm: Charlie Haeger slipped to 3-9 overall following Charlotte's 3-0 loss at Norfolk on Monday. Haeger, who was one of the prime fifth starter candidates for the White Sox during Spring Training, allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, while fanning seven. ... Gavin Floyd has put himself into strong Major League consideration with a 3-0 record and 2.62 ERA over his last five starts. Floyd has 32 strikeouts over 34 1/3 innings during this stretch.
On deck: Starting Wednesday against Florida during the day could be quite a boon for Jon Garland (4-4, 3.59). The right-hander, who allowed a season-high 11 hits in his last start on Friday in Pittsburgh, has a 10-0 record with a 4.32 ERA in his last 17 appearances during the day.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.