Podsednik returns to White Sox
Former World Series hero bats ninth against Rangers
ARLINGTON -- There's only one way Scott Podsednik's Friday night reunion with the White Sox at Rangers Ballpark could play out any better for the 33-year-old.
The fleet-footed left-handed hitter would need to recreate his walk-off home run from Game 2 of the 2005 World Series sweep of Houston. His first at-bat ended in a popup to third baseman Michael Young, but there's no denying the stars truly have aligned for Podsednik's return.
"It's really crazy, for lack of a better term," said an upbeat Podsednik, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte prior to the series opener against the Rangers, with Jerry Owens being outrighted to Charlotte.
"But it's good to see the guys," Podsednik said. "You create a strong bond with the guys you won a World Series with, and it will be fun to get back to the city. I've always loved Chicago. We got a good feel for the city, my wife and I did, and it's good to be back."
Podsednik, wearing jersey No. 1 with Josh Fields sporting his original White Sox number of 22, moved right into the starting lineup. His presence became necessary with Brian Anderson being placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right oblique suffered during Wednesday's victory over Seattle.
Anderson did not make the trip to Texas with the team, staying back in Chicago to get treatment. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't expect his center fielder to miss any more time past his stint on the disabled list, but didn't want to take any chances with this injury getting worse by Anderson coming back too quickly.
"Those kinds of injuries, you never know what's going to happen," said Guillen of Anderson's oblique strain. "Hopefully, you do it right the first time and it [doesn't] come back. When that thing [comes] back, it could be a long one. That's what we are trying to prevent from happening."
So Podsednik, hitting .262 with one stolen bases over 10 games for the Knights after signing a Minor League deal with the White Sox, became the natural replacement in center field. With Chris Getz returning from a five-game absence caused by a fracture at the tip of his right middle finger, Guillen placed his second baseman back at the top of the batting order.
Guillen started Podsednik in the nine hole, giving the White Sox that double-leadoff sort of combination they featured when Dewayne Wise was healthy. Jayson Nix joined Podsednik on his trip from Charlotte to Texas, with the infielder returning from his rehabilitation assignment and being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list.
Nix was hampered by a right quadriceps strain for most of Spring Training, but said he started to feel back at 100 percent a few weeks ago while taking part in extended spring training. If not for the injury, Nix certainly was in the picture to break camp with the White sox.
"That's tough to swallow, but it's part of the game and something you have to try to deal with," Nix said. "You do your best to get through it as quick as you can and get better."
Sunday night's contest should be Nix's first start with the White Sox, with left-hander Matt Harrison on the mound. Guillen plans to use the right-handed-hitting Nix at second against certain southpaws, but also will have him take grounders at third base just as a safety measure.
Center field stands as Podsednik's position, although he played just 10 games there over three years during his first stint for the White Sox. But as Guillen said Friday, Podsednik stands as the team's only option right now, with Brent Lillibridge serving as his backup.
When Colorado cut Podsednik at the end of Spring Training, he returned home and didn't necessarily have the White Sox on his mind. Instead, Podsednik surveyed the landscape with his agent, Ryan Gleichowski, and waited for a potential spot to open.
"This happened to come up," Podsednik said. "And here we are."
Along with rejoining the team with which he found fame and fortune, Podsednik also had the chance to start back up at home. It's an important note since his wife, Lisa, is due to have the couple's first child in mid-May and he can share this weekend with her at home.
"Pods is going to bring some energy," Guillen said. "He's excited to be here and his teammates are excited to have him. Hopefully he [will] play good for us. Hopefully, he brings us what we want to get. There's no doubt he's going to bring excitement."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.