Notes: Dugout exchange downplayed
Pierzynski and hitting coach Walker agree it's no big deal
CHICAGO -- Even the closest of families have a disagreement or two from time to time.
It's just that the argument between White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker and catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the home dugout during Sunday's 11-1 loss to Boston was caught on regional television.
After the heated exchange of words in the seventh inning was shown on the Red Sox broadcast on NESN and then talked about briefly during Pierzynski's Monday morning appearance on The Score, 670 AM, it was played down for the most part by all parties involved.
"It's just A.J. being A.J. and Walk being Walk," said Walker, who declined to go into any further details about matters that take place in the dugout.
"If you think this is the first time Walker and I have gotten into a shouting match, then you're going to be wrong," Pierzynski added. "Just one of those things that's not a big deal at all. Walk and I have gotten into it before, and today we're fine."
Manager Ozzie Guillen provided some broad stroke details of the incident. Pierzynski grounded out against Manny Delcarmen to lead off the seventh, and according to Guillen, came back to the dugout and said that he didn't know Delcarmen threw a cutter. The groundout was Pierzynski's third career hitless at-bat against the Boston reliever.
Guillen explained how the comment bothered Walker because it suggested his hitters weren't prepared and it was made in front of the team's manager. Guillen sided with Walker in this dugout issue, and Pierzynski said what he said was misunderstood by Walker.
But Pierzynski also took responsibility for the escalation of words.
"I'll apologize or whatever," Pierzynski said. "But it wasn't like there were punches thrown or anybody was fighting or anything like that. Like I said, it's not the first time we got into a shouting match, and I'm sure it won't be the last."
"I'm not protecting Greg Walker, but I think Greg Walker was right," Guillen added. "I love [Pierzynski], but he was wrong and has to admit he was wrong.
"I make mistakes in my life. I say stuff I'm not supposed to say and I do stuff I'm not supposed to do. I always blame myself. Some time you regret it and some time you don't."
Pierzynski remains friends with Walker and said they still will talk. Guillen said there's no reason to get involved in this minor uprising, although he added the players should appreciate a coaching staff that shoulders most of the blame for the team's shortcomings. Everyone involved agreed that this particular argument would not have been a story if not for the team's seasonlong struggles taking the focus off of baseball.
"It's an issue that shouldn't be brought up but is going to be because of the way we're playing," said Pierzynski, who added he has the utmost respect for Walker and hopes Walker feels the same way in regard to him.
A true letdown: With just 246 at-bats and 68 games under his belt during the 2007 season, Darin Erstad found a perfect way to describe his first year with the White Sox.
"I feel cheated," said Erstad. "You know, I put a lot of work in this winter to overcome ankle surgery and felt great and started to get it rolling.
"Then, I had that freak thing happen, and sometimes, you can't make sense of it. I worked hard to get back and I feel good. I wish it could have a different shake out, but it's not the way it went. You have to take the good with the bad."
Erstad has been on the disabled twice in 2007 with a left ankle injury, the first stint coming on a sprain off of a swinging strike against Roy Halladay on May 31 in Toronto. The White Sox hold a $3.5 million option on Erstad for 2008, but he has not yet begun to think about next season with 31 games remaining.
"Nope," Erstad said. "I live day-to-day and I think day-to-day."
Still in place, moving forward: The 2007 results for the White Sox have been far below the liking of anyone involved in the team, but Guillen certainly doesn't see any changes coming amongst his coaching staff for 2008.
"Those guys are doing their job," Guillen said. "As long as they keep working the way they are, as long as they can still help us, I don't see why not. I don't think I'm going to blame the coaching staff because of the way we played. I blame myself. I take full responsibility because I know those guys do everything in their power to make those guys get better."
Guillen doesn't intend to make Walker a scapegoat for the American League's worst offense and feels the same way about pitching Don Cooper and his staff with a 5.00 ERA. Guillen sees them working and teaching on a daily basis. As long as that effort continues, Guillen likes the staff he has.
"Obviously, I don't think they should be the problem," added Guillen of his coaches. "When we win, I don't see anybody, any of the players, anybody say, 'Wow, thank God for Greg Walker, Don Cooper. We win.'
"And well, we're losing and now they're saying, 'Greg Walker and Don Cooper and all those guys, it's everyone's fault besides them,'" Guillen added.
Around the horn: Pablo Ozuna, out with a fractured right fibula since May 28, plans to start hitting in Texas. The team has a 32-53 record in Ozuna's absence. ... Josh Fields ranks tied for eighth for the highest rookie home run output in a single season for the White Sox, although he is the only player in the top 10 with less than 100 games played.
Down on the farm: Lance Broadway allowed two hits over eight scoreless innings Sunday, during Triple-A Charlotte's 1-0 victory at Richmond. Broadway improved to 8-8 and lowered his ERA to 4.32 by striking out six and walking one. Jason Bourgeois drove in the game's only run with his seventh home run. ... David Cook finished a home run short of hitting for the cycle, driving in three, as Double-A Birmingham topped Mississippi, 6-5. ... Micah Schnurstein launched his 23rd home run and picked up his 78th RBI as part of Class A Winston-Salem's 4-3 loss to Salem. ... Chris Carter drove in his 88th and 89th runs and Brandon Allen homered and increased his RBI total to 86 during Class A Kannapolis' doubleheader sweep of Greenville.
On deck: Gavin Floyd (1-2, 7.36) carries a 1-2 record and 7.87 ERA as a starter into his fourth start of the season on Tuesday night in Texas. Floyd has given up 12 home runs over 33 innings this season.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.