CHICAGO -- Alejandro De Aza made his first 2011 start in center field for the White Sox during Wednesday afternoon's 2-1 victory over the Tigers, with his callup from Triple-A Charlotte made possible by the trade of Mark Teahen to Toronto.
Judging by general manager Ken Williams' comments before the contest, coupled with De Aza's first big league homer coming in the second inning off Detroit starter Max Scherzer in his first 2011 at-bat and serving as Wednesday's game-winning blast, it won't be De Aza's last.
If the fleet-footed De Aza can provide a spark to the White Sox lineup, after hitting .322 over 98 games for Triple-A Charlotte, then the struggling Alex Rios will have his playing time reduced.
"Here's what I told Ozzie: 'Do not worry about the size of the contracts,'" Williams said. "Just worry about putting the players out there on a given day that can help him win. The size of the contract is not Ozzie's problem. It's not [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf's] problems. It's not the coaches' problems. That's my problem.
"Put the players on the field that can win. I don't give a darn if one guy is making $400,000 and the other guy is making $12 million. Throw the contracts and salaries aside. If we've got $20 [million] or $30 million sitting on the bench, then that's a Kenny Williams problem. That's not Ozzie's problem. We'll have pretty good pinch-hitters."
Rios is hitting .208 with just six homers and 23 RBIs in this dismal season. Designated hitter Adam Dunn, the club's big splash in the offseason free-agent market, entered Wednesday's contest with a .161 average, 10 homers, 38 RBIs and 130 strikeouts.
But manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't seem inclined to even label Rios as a bench player at this point.
"Right now, I cannot say," Guillen said. "[On Friday,] we've got a knuckleball pitcher [Tim Wakefield], and the next two days are lefties. I'm going to make the lineup like I always make. I'm going to make the best lineup I think is going to help this ballclub and see what happens.
"Every move people make, they're always going to blame somebody else, just because the players don't produce, the players don't do what they're supposed to do. In the meanwhile, I don't worry about making lineups. I know how to handle players. I know how to get the best out of them. Today, [De Aza] is playing."
Williams high on Stewart's potential
CHICAGO -- Although Jason Frasor was the key to the Edwin Jackson/Mark Teahen deal with the Blue Jays, a move officially approved on Wednesday morning, White Sox general manager Ken Williams has high hopes for Minor League right-hander Zach Stewart, who was included in the deal.
"Zack Stewart has been on our radar for a long time, particularly last year, when he was doing some special things in Double-A," said Williams of Stewart, who was ranked by MLB.com as the Blue Jays' fourth-best prospect. "He's shown us he has four average pitches and a power changeup to go with the 90-94 mph fastball with sink and fade on it as well."
Williams believes Stewart will be in the Majors in some role before the end of the 2011 season. He also compared Stewart's big league preparedness to that of John Danks when the White Sox acquired the southpaw from Texas, despite Stewart's 4.20 ERA for Double-A New Hampshire this season.
"We see where he was last year," Williams said. "He's had a couple of trips up, and we've been able to identify exactly what we think he needs to do to realize the talent that he is."
Fresh Santos welcomes reinforcement
CHICAGO -- Over Sergio Santos' past six outings, he has pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings, covering 39 pitches, and has recorded three saves. That run includes the closer's last three trips to the mound, where he had to retire two batters, two batters and just Brennan Boesch on Wednesday to close out a 2-1 victory over Detroit.
"That was a little weird," said a smiling Santos of his short save work. "But look, at the end of the day, we are trying to win a ballgame. You get a little bit of work but you also get your rest and are not being overused."
Adding Jason Frasor from the Blue Jays as part of the Edwin Jackson/Mark Teahen deal provides bullpen reinforcement to Santos and his comrades. Santos and Frasor spent time together with Toronto, when Santos was an infielder, and the White Sox hurler knows Frasor will be a definite plus.
"Everybody is throwing the ball pretty well," Santos said. "And Frasor is one heck of a relief pitcher. If that's a piece that can help us out, we are more than welcoming to have him in our bullpen and continue to do what he's been doing."
Third to first
Dayan Viciedo's bruised right thumb, which has kept him out of Triple-A Charlotte's lineup since he was removed from Saturday's game, continues to improve, according to general manager Ken Williams.
"But he's not quite yet ready," said Williams of the slugging outfielder. "I'm not going to bring a guy who is hurt here." The White Sox finished their 18-game run against the American League Central (one postponement in Cleveland) with a 9-9 record. They have won four of their last five series, but are at the same 3 1/2-game deficit as when this stretch started. Chris Sale has posted a 1.19 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings over his last 22 games. Adam Dunn has reached base safely in seven of his last 10 plate appearances.