OAKLAND -- Since the White Sox purchased his contract from Triple-A Charlotte on June 27, Erick Threets has been a solid option as a lefty out of the bullpen.Threets threw two scoreless innings in Saturday's 10-2 loss to the A's and has yet to allow a run for the White Sox in six appearances this season, a span of 7 1/3 innings. For Threets, he said his formula has been simple. "What I'm trying to do is just pound the strike zone," Threets said. "I've been effective enough with movement. I'm not overpowering people, and throwing the ball in the strike zone has been helping because I have a little cut to the fastball and I've been able to get outs." Threets' fastball usually runs in the 93-94-mph range, while he's relied solely on his slider as his secondary pitch this season, throwing it roughly 23 percent of the time. During his stints with the Giants in 2007-08, Threets also threw a changeup with some frequency. "Being out of the bullpen, it's not like I need to really expand with the pitches I throw," Threets said. "I've been effective with the fastball, slider all season. The changeup is good, I'm just a little hesitant." The weekend series against the A's has been something of homecoming for Threets, who still makes his offseason home in the Bay Area. Threets was raised in nearby Livermore, Calif., about a half-hour east of Oakland. "I've been leaving a lot of tickets these past three days," Threets said. "I've been going home after games so everything's been nice. It's good to see my family and friends -- I've been enjoying it. But after the game [Sunday] is back to reality."
Guillen: Central is 'there to take'
OAKLAND -- With the injury of Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez, he of a .303 average, 12 home runs and 59 RBIs, the dynamic of the American League Central has certainly changed. Not to mention Detroit teammate Carlos Guillen, who also landed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a calf strain.But don't expect Ozzie Guillen to throw a pity party for his division foe. "I feel bad for those two guys, but I don't feel sorry for Detroit," the White Sox manager said. "That's part of the game. I keep saying, whoever pitches better and has more people healthy is going to have a better chance." Ordonez, who played with the White Sox from 1997-2004, fractured his right ankle on Saturday trying to slide into home and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Still, Ozzie Guillen said he doesn't expect the Tigers to roll over. "I hope it's an advantage for us," Guillen said. "But I think if you have a couple guys up there, [Detroit manager] Jim Leyland will pull the right move and put Detroit through to get it going. But to have those two guys out of the lineup, obviously it's easier for whoever they're going to face." Entering play on Sunday, the White Sox led second-place Minnesota in the AL Central by two games and the Tigers by 2 1/2. Of Chicago's remaining 66 games, 14 will be against Detroit and nine will be against Minnesota. As the South Siders' skipper looks at his team now, he said he thinks it can win the AL Central, saying "it's there to take." Since June 9, the White Sox lead the Majors with a 29-10 record. Besides Saturday's 10-2 loss in Oakland, Chicago hasn't lost by more than three runs during that span. "The only game we lost when we didn't have a chance was yesterday," Guillen said. "We're always in the games, and that's a sign of a good ballclub. But believe me, those guys think we can win this thing."
Ozzie has no regrets regarding Thome
OAKLAND -- As the calendar creeps toward the July 31 Trade Deadline, the White Sox are rumored to be in the market for a left-handed bat. Such rumblings raise the question: Why didn't the team keep Jim Thome around?Thome, whom the White Sox traded to the Dodgers for Minor Leaguer Justin Fuller on Aug. 31, 2009, is batting .257 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs for the Twins this season. Fuller, meanwhile, has a .188 average in 25 games with Double-A Birmingham. "I never regret any [decision] I made with Thome," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Never, never. ... That was my job. I think we are where we are because we wanted to be this way." Given Thome's declining defensive skills, Guillen said he didn't wish to have a player who would exclusively serve as a designated hitter. That not to say Guillen doesn't miss Thome's veteran presence in the clubhouse. "I love Jim Thome and all you know it," Guillen said. "He knows, his wife knows, the players know, everybody knows how much we love him. But, meanwhile, we didn't want to go with a guy who can just DH. ... I think we are a better team without a very good ballplayer with us." Guillen said the combination of capable fielders like Brent Lillibridge, Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones has served the team well. "If I have to wear this the rest of my life [so be it]," Guillen said. "People talk about Jim Thome more than Frank Thomas, that's how much people love him here. That's pretty good company. But, in the meanwhile, I'm very happy with what we got. Even when we were struggling, I kept my head up and said we did the right thing."
First to Third
J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the A's and has now strung together 26 straight scoreless appearances. It's the longest such streak in the Majors. ... The White Sox have now lost six of their past nine games since winning nine straight. ... Dan Hudson has given up five runs in two of his three starts this season.
Alex Espinoza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.