Notes: Guillen aware of trade rumors
White Sox manager says no deals currently are in the works
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen sat at lunch with his family Wednesday afternoon, when a call came in from his son, Oney, who currently is playing for the White Sox Appalachian League entry in Bristol.
"Oney said, 'You guys making a couple of trades?' and I was like, 'Oh, god. I have to be at the ballpark,'" said Guillen with a laugh. "I came in and see [general manager] Kenny [Williams] sitting there, and he said there was nothing."
Guillen said he can laugh at the rumors, ranging from the Angels' interest in Paul Konerko to the Mets' possible pursuit of Tadahito Iguchi to replace the injured Jose Valentin, because the White Sox manager knows the inside scoop. That inside information still has Guillen's team not close to consummating a deal before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.
Prior to Thursday afternoon's series finale against Detroit, Guillen was asked about having any untouchables on the White Sox roster. Instead of categorically stating a given player definitely would not be moved, Guillen talked more about the nature of contracts in regard to certain players' value not being as high.
"Some guys I don't think you can move for different reasons," Guillen said. "I'm not going to say anyone is on the trade block, but if you ask me which players we think are untouchables and the process why, I don't think Kenny will have any problem to do that. We're not talking about not moving this guy or not moving that guy.
"If something is there and Kenny thinks it will help this ballclub in the close future, he will think about it. Right now, we [haven't talked] about any trade. There are a lot of rumors, but it's going to be that way until [July] 31."
Examining the team's big picture for the future already has begun, but it won't move into full force until the offseason. For now, Guillen intends to manage whoever he has on the roster, with the present and far-ranging focus staying pretty much the same.
"Any team that will be here, I guarantee it's going to compete," Guillen said. "We are going to do something different here, and obviously there's going to be new blood.
"That makes you go to ... school earlier. I guarantee you Kenny is doing that. He knows what we want and the budget. He knows more than I do. I just sit here managing the ballclub."
Change of venue: Jose Contreras' recent struggles, with a 1-9 record and 8.27 ERA in his last 11 starts, could lead to his move from the rotation to the bullpen. Contreras made nine appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees in 2003, when he finished with a 2.78 ERA, and made eight in relief during the postseason in that season.
But Guillen cautioned Thursday how Contreras' present slump does not necessarily indicate a time to give up on the talented hurler.
"We talk about seeing how he feels on the side," said Guillen of Contreras. "If we are going to keep [Gavin] Floyd here, I don't know what spot he's going to take. But we have to make the decision. [We're not] saying anything about moving Jose yet.
"It's too early to move him right after he had a bad outing. It's not respectful. We have to wait a couple of more days to talk about the issue."
Contreras employs an extensive pregame routine in order to get loose, making him an iffy proposition for relief. But Guillen still believes he has value to the White Sox, as well as possible value to other Major League teams who have been scouting him.
"If scouts are looking at him, the velocity was there, not bad, but the command was real bad," Guillen said. "You can say, 'Can we fix it or might he pitch better against particular teams?'"
Moving on: Roland Hemond, the White Sox highly respected executive advisor, has been named assistant to Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall. Hemond previously served as Arizona's senior executive vice president from 1996-2000.
Even with Hemond's return to the area where he currently resides, the longtime White Sox official and ambassador of baseball still will make White Sox appearances at events such as SoxFest.
In limbo: Talk by Guillen of Darin Erstad's return to the White Sox from his Minor League rehab assignment over the next few days might have to be temporarily tabled.
According to reports out of Buffalo, where Triple-A Charlotte currently is playing, Erstad was a late scratch from Wednesday's contest after feeling some stiffness in his neck following batting practice. Erstad reportedly had difficulty lifting his head when he was taking fly balls.
Erstad did not start Thursday's afternoon contest for the Knights.
Consistent approach: Two perfect innings of relief from Ryan Bukvich on Wednesday gave the reliever scoreless outings in 13 of his last 15 appearances. The right-hander, whose ERA sits at 3.38, has given up two earned runs over his last 12 innings by moving away from a steady diet of fastballs.
"I mixed it up well, rather than getting caught up throwing fastballs and falling behind," Bukvich said. "I threw first-pitch breaking balls for strikes and kept them off balance a little bit."
Around the horn: The White Sox had a 41-42 record against American League opponents entering Thursday afternoon, but Guillen believes the team's 4-14 Interleague mark ultimately might define its downfall. "No doubt. When we played Interleague games, it killed us," said Guillen, whose team was 14-4 against the National League in 2006. "We [didn't] perform the way we thought. That can be the difference between six or seven games out and being 11 under .500." ... Jim Thome's 50 career home runs against the Tigers mark the highest total for any active opponent against Detroit. Thome trails only Harmon Killebrew and Carl Yastrzemski for the most all-time long balls when facing the Tigers.
Down on the farm: Aaron Poreda, the White Sox top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, continues to produce for Rookie Level Great Falls out of the bullpen. Poreda struck out three in two scoreless innings on Wednesday during Great Falls' 7-6 loss to Orem, lowering his ERA to 1.29. Poreda has fanned 14 and walked one over 12 innings. ... Lance Broadway struck out seven over six innings, leading Charlotte to a 5-3 win at Buffalo. David Aardsma earned his fifth save. ... Clayton Richard yielded just three hits and no earned runs over eight innings, and David Cook launched his 15th home run as part of Class A Winston-Salem's 3-1 victory. ... Six players for Double-A Birmingham had at least two hits in the Barons' 13-8 win over West Tennessee.
On deck: With a 1-2 record and 9.43 ERA over his last four starts, Jon Garland (7-7, 4.15 ERA) will look to find greater consistency Friday night against Toronto. Opponents are hitting .356 against Garland during those four starts. Josh Towers (5-6, 4.97 ERA) will start the 7:11 p.m. CT game at U.S. Cellular Field for the Blue Jays.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.