Notes: Anderson unsure of his future
Williams may not stand pat; Contreras to remain in rotation
SEATTLE -- Brian Anderson does not believe he will play again during the 2007 regular season. But that decision will be made during a doctor's visit to examine his left wrist early next week in Charlotte.
As for Anderson being part of the White Sox organization in 2008, let alone once again playing an integral big league role, that ultimate call also is out of his hands.
"You know what? I couldn't tell you because it really is not my decision," said Anderson via cell phone Saturday, en route to Charlotte. "I want to be in the big leagues for the rest of my career, and I want to play in the big leagues next year.
"If it's with the White Sox, then that's awesome. If it's not, then so be it."
Anderson hasn't played in a game for Triple-A Charlotte since July 6 against Columbus, when he took a swing and something in his left wrist popped. The possibility of surgery exists, as six weeks later, he's still feeling serious discomfort.
This injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Anderson, who was 8-for-17 with four home runs and eight RBIs over his previous five games leading into the injury. Anderson actually had refocused on baseball after the White Sox top pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft dealt with being sent down to the Minors for the second straight season.
"I kind of quit throwing a pity party," said Anderson of his change at the plate. "I said to myself, 'I need to start turning this on. This is ridiculous. I can't hit .230 in Triple-A.'
"When I'm confident at the plate, I don't care. Nobody can get me out. Last year was the first time I got on myself. I threw a year away feeling sorry for myself."
The only gripe Anderson has with the White Sox deals with not getting a "fair shot" at the start of this season, when Anderson hit .117 in 17 at-bats as the team's 25th man. Anderson felt more opportunities should have been afforded him to hit against left-handed pitchers.
After being sent down to the Minors, the 25-year-old also didn't understand how Luis Terrero was called up to play the same role after Anderson beat him out in Spring Training. With no disrespect to Terrero, Anderson called the move "a low blow."
General manager Ken Williams answered Anderson's questions, adding that he hopes this top prospect's unbreakable spirit to stay at the Major League level plays out like those in the same situation before him such as Joe Crede, Jon Garland and Aaron Rowand.
"I've explained that situation to him personally on a number of occasions," said Williams, responding to Anderson's comments. "If he doesn't get it by now, maybe I'll have to put it in a form letter to him so he can re-read it over and over.
"But Brian is a talent that should not be just another Major League player. He can be a special Major League player for a long time. If he's committed and focused, he's always been a hard worker, but sometimes it takes taking a step back to take two steps forward."
Trial and error: The contract extensions for Mark Buehrle and Jermaine Dye and the trades of Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak and for Danny Richar might not be Williams' only transactions engineered before the end of the regular season.
"We may look to trade, we may look to sign a guy available that we see as a fit. Call somebody up," Williams said. "Yeah, I want to try some different things, rather than wait until Spring Training."
Williams already has confidence in his rotation and his core lineup, not to mention the growth of young players during the past few weeks. He also likes the bullpen's recent improvement, with a 1.71 ERA over the last 14 games.
"There are a lot of things to be optimistic about in my opinion," said Williams, pausing and then smiling. "And I know I can find a whole bunch of people to disagree with me."
Starting over: After watching Jose Contreras make a solid return to the rotation Friday night at Safeco Field, on the heels of two successful relief appearances, manager Ozzie Guillen will stick with his plan to keep the big right-hander as part of the starting five.
"Right now, I don't think we should switch those guys back and forth," said Guillen, referring to Contreras and Gavin Floyd. "We aren't doing them any good and we aren't doing us any good.
"I like what Jose [brought] to the game yesterday. Hopefully, he can stay at that level and he will help us to win games. He hasn't pitched like that in a little while from a starting point, and everyone should be happy about what he did."
Williams seemed satisfied by Contreras' seven-inning effort, in which he retired the last seven hitters he faced. But Williams quickly added how Contreras' stuff is good enough that the drop in velocity should have not caused his immense, season-long struggles.
"There are still some things we're trying to figure out with Jose," Williams said. "From what I see, the arm is still there, but I'm not so sure he's fallen into a habit that we haven't picked up yet out of the stretch more. I don't see people getting fooled as much out of the stretch as I do out of the windup. There's an obvious problem."
Around the horn: Prior to his ninth-inning walk Friday, Josh Fields had not reached base in his last 10 at-bats. The rookie third baseman struck out six times and hit two grounders back to the pitcher during that stretch, but also has four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last nine games. ... Twelve of the White Sox last 13 games entering Saturday have been decided by three runs or fewer. The White Sox are 5-7 in those games and 11-19 overall in one-run decisions. ... Contreras has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning this season, allowing 22 runs in 22 innings, compared to a 5.64 ERA from the second inning on.
Down on the farm: Shortstop Victor Mercedes launched a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to give Double-A Birmingham a 10-6 victory over Mobile on Friday. Kyle McCulloch, the team's top pick in the 2006 Draft, struck out six over five innings, giving up two earned runs. ... Making his sixth start with Charlotte, Nick Masset yielded five runs on nine hits over five innings in a no-decision as part of the Knights' 12-9 loss to Louisville. The right-hander also allowed three home runs while fanning four. The Knights knocked out 17 hits as a team. ... Derek Rodriguez threw a two-hit shutout, striking out seven, and Micah Schnurstein added his 22nd home run during Class A Winston-Salem's 2-0 win over Salem. Rodriguez permitted two singles and walked two, improving to 11-5. ... Juan Moreno struck out seven in six innings, leading Great Falls to a 4-1 victory over Idaho Falls. Moreno has 64 strikeouts and nine walks 72 1/3 innings.
On deck: Opponents are hitting .346 against Jon Garland (8-8, 4.63 ERA) over his last eight starts, with the right-hander taking the mound Sunday afternoon for his 25th start this season. Garland has not faced the Mariners in 2007 but has a 2-3 mark with an 8.50 ERA over his last eight trips to the mound. First pitch for the series finale is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.