Notes: Ejection stokes Guillen's fire
Manager wants league to examine umpires' actions
NEW YORK -- Wednesday's pregame came and went without any contact made by Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Office with Ozzie Guillen.
But if a judgment of fine or suspension gets handed down for Guillen's postgame diatribe aimed at umpire Phil Cuzzi on Tuesday night, the White Sox manager appears more than ready to defend himself.
"No, my comments were right. It wasn't against them," Guillen said. "I just told the Commissioner's Office to take a look at the video and see this guy react the way he's reacting. I have a lot of years in the big leagues, and the umpire has the right to be mad. But the umpire doesn't have the right to challenge players and coaches.
"That's what my point was. If the umpire talks back to you, that's part of the game. If I call you a name, I don't expect you to call me Ozzie. If I call you so-and-so, you should call me so-and-so. I respect that. But when you challenge people on the bench, every two seconds you're looking at the bench, looking for whatever reason it is, then the Major League office has to think about what I say."
Cuzzi ejected Guillen during the Yankees' second batter of Tuesday night's 16-3 loss to New York, when Guillen objected to a call made concerning a Derek Jeter checked swing. Guillen voiced his displeasure from the top step of the White Sox dugout, with nothing more demonstrative than a hand wave, before Cuzzi tossed him from the game.
First baseman Paul Konerko was ejected by Cuzzi in the sixth inning, when he disputed a called third strike. Konerko's ejection also came about when he was back in the dugout.
A calmer Guillen once again pointed out Wednesday how umpires should not provoke or stoke on-field confrontations, and that Cuzzi spent too much time looking into the White Sox dugout for more trouble after the initial disagreement. This sort of defense is what Guillen will provide if action comes against him.
"It's easy to make a decision and punish the guy out of mercy when somebody else is the one provoking the circumstance, and that's what I told Major League Baseball," Guillen said. "They can go get me. I expect that. If they think I'm wrong, they've got to explain to me why I was wrong. I said they should do this. They should look at these people.
"I don't say punish him. I don't say Major League Baseball isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing, but they should look at those things and make sure they are aggressive and on top of that situation. Because we get suspended, but what do they get?
"That's my point. Before, I made a mistake. Two years ago, they were right because I said that," Guillen added. "But this particular time, I was walking off the field and he called me another name. I don't think it was right to take abuse about that kind of situation."
Spraying to all fields: Darin Erstad referred to his left ankle as a little "cranky" in getting going, but as far as baseball activity, he's at full speed and ready for action. The veteran also fully understands his new role, getting a chance to play all over the outfield, as well as some games at first base.
"That's fine," Erstad said. "Jerry [Owens] is at a point in his career where he needs to play in the big leagues. He's proven what he needs to prove at Triple-A, and he's doing a great job. I was in that same situation.
"He's a great guy and he does everything the right way. I couldn't be happier for him."
Erstad also had to endure a two-day bout with a stiff neck before making his return to the White Sox. As for how his current job title will affect his employment status for 2008, with the team holding a $3.5 million option, Erstad refuses to think that far ahead.
"Next year is so far off the radar," Erstad said. "I'm just trying to have these two months here and just stay healthy for two months and prove I'm healthy going into the offseason. I don't have to worry about surgeries or stuff like that.
"I'm trying to build momentum going into next year. Whatever facet Ozzie tries to use me, I'm all for it."
Better than ever? Mike MacDougal was called back from his Minor League rehab stint on Wednesday and was to be reinstated after the Wednesday's game. Charlie Haeger or Ehren Wasserman stand as the primary options to be reassigned to Triple-A Charlotte, although Wasserman has been very effective of late against right-handed hitters.
During Sunday's appearance with the Knights, MacDougal struck out five over two scoreless innings. MacDougal has been on the disabled list since July 6 with right shoulder inflammation but said Wednesday he feels pain-free for the first time since early on in the 2007 season.
"I had pain pretty much all year until the last few weeks," MacDougal said. "Not necessarily serious, but now I feel free and clear. My arm has felt healthy for the last four or five days or the last week or so. It's feeling good."
MacDougal's 6.23 ERA over 31 games with the White Sox has been a major problem in the team's overall bullpen alignment. MacDougal was slotted in as the White Sox right-handed setup man.
Around the horn: The White Sox finished 14-15 in July, marking their third consecutive losing month. They ranked second in the American League with 40 home runs and third with 149 runs scored and a .447 slugging percentage. ... New York and the White Sox are the only teams in Major League history to hit at least 200 home runs in seven straight seasons. The Yankees have 127 home runs this season, and the White Sox have 112.
Down on the farm: Andrew Sisco continued to show improvement as a starter, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings, during Charlotte's victory on Tuesday night. Sisco dropped his ERA to 4.18, striking out three and walking three. David Aardsma earned his seventh save. ... Gio Gonzalez fanned six and yielded one run on three hits over seven innings but finished with a no-decision in Double-A Birmingham's 6-2 loss to Montgomery. Gonzalez leads the Southern League with 148 strikeouts and ranks third with a 2.94 ERA. ... John Ely improved to 3-0 with a six-strikeout performance over five innings, in leading Great Falls to a 9-5 victory at Billings. Christian Marrero finished a triple short of hitting for the cycle, driving home two.
On deck: Jon Garland (8-7, 4.12 ERA) has dominated the Yankees during two starts this season, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.17 ERA. He makes start No. 3 during Thursday's 12:05 p.m. CT series finale, with Roger Clemens getting the call for the Yankees. Garland and Clemens were scheduled to do battle on June 4 at U.S. Cellular Field, marking Clemens' 2007 return, but the Yankees' right-hander was scratched from the start.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.