Notes: Uribe wants to stay in Chicago
Haeger catches up with mentor; Danks trying to limit homers
BOSTON -- The statistics don't lie where Juan Uribe's declining on-field performance is concerned.
Uribe doesn't have the speed, high average and on-base potential like other frontline shortstops such as Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, Hanley Ramirez or even Michael Young. He also doesn't pack the Most Valuable Player-type of power or RBI punch of a healthy Miguel Tejada, as an example.
But one day after manager Ozzie Guillen expressed a strong desire for Uribe to alter his free-wheeling style at the plate in order for the team to pick up his $5 million option and bring him back in 2008, Uribe countered slightly with his belief that a switch in focus or approach ultimately might not matter where his ongoing stint with the White Sox is concerned.
"It really doesn't matter if I play to my potential, because they might not want me next year," said Uribe through translator Ozney Guillen. "I could hit 30 home runs and that might not be what they are looking for.
"All I can do is go out and play hard and try my best. I really like it here. I really like the city and I like the way they treat me. I like the fans. I have nothing to complain about. But if that's not what they want, I have nothing else to do."
Uribe, 28, entered the four-game set with the Red Sox carrying a .218 average, eight home runs and 32 RBIs. It's the second straight subpar season for the White Sox shortstop, whose average dropped from .283 in 2004 to .252 in 2005 to .235 in 2006. Uribe's unorthodox style in the field still plays well defensively, but the White Sox know there is untapped potential within Uribe to the point where he could end up a consistent 25-home run, 80-RBI force.
Guillen either wants the power or the speed from Uribe, but overall, he wants higher quality at-bats. Even with these perceived shortcomings, Uribe might still be the best option for the team next season. As of Thursday, though, Uribe had very little idea as to where his baseball future will play out.
"Right now, with all the trade talks going on, you can't really judge who is going to be here and who is not going to be here," Uribe said. "Everyone right now is probably on the market. I just want to be here. I have no problem with anyone here or anything. I just have to play my best and hopefully they want me back.
"The way of changing my style of play really doesn't matter. I might not be here next year. I might be. It all depends on what the team wants to do with me."
Refresher course: Thursday's rain delay put a damper on Charlie Haeger's evening for reasons other than a late start to the scheduled baseball game. Haeger was hoping to watch Boston's Tim Wakefield, his knuckleball mentor, throw a side session before the contest, but it was cancelled by the inclement weather.
"Just watching him throw has been helpful," said Haeger, who talked with Wakefield in the weight room Thursday. "I try to take his mechanics and put them into mine a little bit.
"He saw me throw yesterday on television and he said he liked what he saw. He said I wasn't throwing enough strikes, which I wasn't. He said keep it up."
Haeger has thrown four straight scoreless innings in relief, but he dismissed the notion of earning greater confidence from Guillen in such a short period of time. Guillen mentioned Haeger as a strong possibility to start one of the doubleheader games Tuesday against Detroit, which would give Haeger a chance to throw against his hometown team, growing up 25 miles away in Plymouth, Mich. A Minor League callup also stands as an alternative, depending on how much Haeger throws against Boston.
Varying the responsibilities doesn't matter to Haeger. He just wants to pitch.
"Just give me the ball and let me do my best," Haeger said. "That's how I look at it."
Not digging the long ball: As John Danks has found out during the early stages of his big-leaguer career, there are far worse players he could emulate than Mark Buehrle. In fact, Danks' style is reminiscent of a slightly unpolished version of the White Sox ace.
But Danks has taken this similar style a little too far. Buehrle yielded a career-high 36 home runs in 2006, and Danks currently has the team lead with 18 long balls given up -- ranking third-worst in the American League.
"I've been joking with Buehrle that I'm well on pace to breaking his [total] from last year," said Danks with a laugh. "I'm going to give up home runs but I have to limit them to solo shots.
"The way to combat that is to be ahead in the count and limit the walks," Danks added.
Danks has been touched for 105 hits in 95 1/3 innings this season. But he has done a better job of late attacking the strike zone and managing his pitch count deeper into the game.
Around the horn: Playing in the same lineup for just the eighth time this season, Darin Erstad (1-for-5) and Scott Podsednik combined to finish 1-for-10 at the top of the order for Triple-A Charlotte during the Knights' 3-2 victory over Buffalo in 12 innings on Wednesday. Guillen does not expect either player to join the White Sox in Boston. "They're playing. They feel fine," Guillen said. "[They need] a couple more at-bats to see how they get." ... The White Sox have hit 24 home runs in their last 16 games and 29 in their last 21. Their 24 home runs in July are the most in the Majors. ... Colin Hay and O.A.R. will perform before back-to-back games next week at U.S. Cellular Field. Hay, formerly of Men at Work fame, is scheduled for an acoustic set Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. CT. O.A.R. will perform at 12:40 p.m. before next Thursday's series finale against Detroit.
Down on the farm: Gavin Floyd struck out 10 and allowed two runs on three hits over eight innings but left with a no-decision during Charlotte's victory. Floyd has a 6-0 record with a 2.49 ERA and 66 strikeouts over his last 68 2/3 innings. Carlos Vasquez pitched three hitless innings in relief, striking out three. ... Maurice Gartrell launched his 12th home run and drove in his 50th run, but Class A Kannapolis fell short in a 4-2 loss at Charleston. ... Christian Marrero has a .388 average during a 17-game hitting streak for Great Falls in the Pioneer League.
On deck: A change of teams has led to a change in results for Jose Contreras (5-11, 5.32 ERA) when facing the Red Sox. After finishing 0-5 with a 13.95 ERA when starting for the Yankees against Boston, Contreras will try to build on his 4-0 record and 3.51 ERA against the same opposition with the White Sox during Friday's 6:05 p.m. start.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.