04/29/10 12:44 AM ET
Guillen defends struggling Beckham
White Sox manager doesn't expect youngster to carry club
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
But when White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thought about Gordon Beckham's ongoing struggles after Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers, he decided to give his second baseman the night off instead. Guillen stressed this absence would cover just one game for Beckham, hitting .205 with one home run and three RBIs entering Wednesday.
Guillen also explained, in almost defiant tones, how before Beckham is anointed "the man of this ballclub," coming on the heels of winning two American League Rookie of the Year awards in 2009, remember his promising career is just beginning.
"This kid has a long way to go," Guillen said. "Couple of years ago he was playing college, and I think we did something that I don't think we should have been doing, which is put this kid like he's the savior of the White Sox for the next 30 years. It's not easy to handle that, and I hope that if he's struggling right now and it doesn't carry on to him to be the man.
"He's not the man, and he never will be the man. As long as I manage this ballclub, nobody is the man. There are 25 men out there, not just one, because it will take 25 guys to win this thing, not one or a couple to win it. This kid has potential to be a great one, but when you're struggling you've got to sit back and relax, don't forget where you come from and do the same thing you've been doing your whole life.
"It's easy to play the game when you don't have to worry about anything, and that's what I told those guys out there," Guillen said. "Everybody has to pitch, everybody has to hit, it's not about one or two guys."
As for Beckham's struggles, leaving him mired in a 4-for-33 slump, Guillen believes the 23-year-old is mentally strong enough to handle any sort of prolonged slump. After all, he fought through a 2-for-28 start as a rookie.
A main concern for Guillen is to make sure Beckham doesn't try to carry this team upon his shoulders.
"I don't want him thinking about, 'I'm the man here, I gotta do this, hit .350, I gotta do this, I gotta be the MVP,'" Guillen said. "No, he's got to go out and play his game the way he did when he was a little kid. I don't think just Gordon, I think a few guys here are trying to do too much and are not getting to the point they want to get.
"Like I keep saying every day, you cannot come here and think you're carrying this ballclub. If anyone out there thinks they're going to carry this ballclub, they're wrong. I'm not going to say it's because they're not that good, but baseball is too tough to do that every day, day in and day out. [Beckham] is trying to do too much. He's desperate to try and do good. This game is a marathon, it's not a sprint."
Buehrle reaches dubious milestone
ARLINGTON -- Tuesday's setback was charged against Mark Buehrle's ledger, meaning the left-hander suffered the 100th loss of his career against 137 wins. Sitting 37 games above .500 still qualifies Buehrle among Major League Baseball's starting elite, but Buehrle didn't seem quite as certain.
"I'm at  and 99, and I'm a great pitcher," said a smiling Buehrle. "But I'm  and 100, and I'm [garbage].
"It would have been nice to have that in two digits and not triple digits. I'm not complaining, but it doesn't seem like someone who has that good of a career having 100 losses."
Of course, Buehrle's career ranks among the top five or six pitchers in the history of the White Sox franchise. And the 100 losses actually point up a positive, of sorts, for Buehrle, in that he consistently works deep enough into games to factor in the decisions.
"Your longevity and you are going deep in games and giving the team a chance to win," said Buehrle, as to what 100 losses indicate.
White Sox catcher Lucy ready for anything
ARLINGTON -- The news of Ramon Castro's injury rehab assignment beginning Tuesday night with Triple-A Charlotte actually was broken to Donny Lucy by his sister via a Wednesday morning phone call. But Lucy only can focus on what's happening in the present regarding his Major League career.
"That's part of the game I can't control," Lucy said of the possible Castro return as the backup to A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate. "Whatever they are going to do, they are going to do. All I can do is do my best up here. I understand the situation so I'm prepared for whatever happens."
Coming into this past Spring Training, Lucy didn't really factor into the White Sox catching picture -- unless that picture involved playing behind Tyler Flowers in Charlotte. But Castro's bruised right heel left him on the disabled list at the season's outset, and Lucy stepped in more than admirably to the vacancy.
From this least-likely scenario of breaking camp with the team, Lucy has hit .333 with his first career home run in six games. He also has gained valuable catching experience sure to help him in future big league endeavors, even if those ultimately aren't with the White Sox.
"Being able to catch in some of these games early in the year, just learn about more hitters in the league and kind of how everything works and our staff, that's really invaluable," Lucy said. "Especially as my career goes on, being known as a guy who has some big league time, that's helpful for a guy in my situation."
Harrelson sends his best to Uecker
ARLINGTON -- Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson, the television voice for the White Sox for the past 20 years and in his seventh decade associated with baseball, has known Bob Uecker for close to the past 50 years. He fully expects his friend to be back in the Milwaukee broadcast booth after heart surgery Friday and a projected 10-12 weeks away from Milwaukee's season.
"People don't understand how tough Bob Uecker is," Harrelson said. "That's one of the reasons he stayed on the ballclub in Milwaukee. He was a bodyguard to all those guys.
"He's in my prayers and I have no doubt we'll see him right back doing the same thing for a long time. One of the best guys you ever want to meet. He's the only one that came out of that mold."
Third to first
ARLINGTON -- Juan Pierre grounded into two double plays for the first time in his Major League career during Wednesday's 6-5 loss. He has grounded into three double plays in the series, after grounding into seven all last season. ... Ramon Castro continued his rehab work with Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon by going hitless in three at-bats and catching six innings in a 4-2 loss to Columbus. ... Manager Ozzie Guillen still needs three victories to pass Tony La Russa for third place on the franchise's managerial list with 523. Jimmy Dykes leads all White Sox managers with 899 wins, followed by 840 for Al Lopez, LaRussa (522) and Guillen (520). ... The White Sox are 6-15 in Arlington since 2005.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.