07/04/10 12:17 AM ET
Garcia plays skid stopper for White Sox
Right-hander owns 7-1 record in starts after Chicago losses
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
"Lucky," Garcia said with a smile. "That's it."
The big right-hander clearly underestimates his value. In nine starts after White Sox setbacks, Garcia has produced a 7-1 record. He didn't get the decision during Friday's 5-3 victory for the White Sox but once again gave the team a chance to come through late.
Ozzie Guillen, Garcia's manager and friend, chalks up part of Garcia's success in these crucial situations to being in the right place at the right time. But even Guillen is a bit surprised by Garcia's eight wins and 11 quality starts overall through the first half.
"Personally, I never thought he would pitch this way, but we knew he could help us if he was healthy," Guillen said of Garcia, who makes his final start before the All-Star break on Wednesday at home against the Angels. "He's pitching well, and for one reason or another, the team is playing better behind him. But the team is playing better because he always keeps the team in the game.
"When that happens, the opportunities are there and hopefully someone can grab them. The way he pitches, he gives us 90 percent of the time a good chance to win. That's all every starter tries to do."
Guillen hopes to get Jones on right track
ARLINGTON -- At-bats turned out to be scarce for Andruw Jones during June, as did hits.
The veteran outfielder, who had nine home runs by May 5, has hit just one since that home victory over Kansas City and watched his average drop from the .270 range to a season-low .194 after finishing 0-for-4 in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Rangers. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gave Jones a start in right for Saturday's contest, resting Carlos Quentin, who had a bit of a left elbow bruise after getting hit by a Neftali Feliz pitch in the ninth inning of Friday's 5-3 win.
Along with allowing Quentin to recover, Guillen also hopes to get Jones going again.
"He went down pretty fast," Guillen said of Jones, who has three hits in 44 at-bats over his past 19 games. "In the meanwhile, when Andruw was struggling, a couple of guys started swinging the bats better, making it not too comfortable for him. I have to start playing those guys.
"Hopefully, Andruw will start swinging the bat better. I know when you are not playing and you have one at-bat every other week, it's not easy to go out there and perform. That's why it will be tough for him.
"I'll try to find a place to play him back-to back days to see what he can do," Guillen said. "In the meanwhile, it's hard because guys are swinging the bats good. But when you're not playing every day, especially in the American League, I don't expect any guy to go out there and have a career night."
Jones' recent slump, factored in with Mark Teahen returning from the disabled list shortly after the All-Star break, could leave the slugger sitting two home runs short of 400 for his career on the proverbial roster bubble. While Guillen said it's too early to even think about such a decision, with Brent Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo also lumped in that mix, Jones figures to stay on as the team's lone true fourth outfielder and possibly its best defensive player at that position.
Guillen would like to see Jones' bat once again have close to the same impact as his glove.
"He's going through a tough time," Guillen said. "Hopefully, he'll come out there and get good at-bats. If he does, I might get him back-to-back games and keep him in the lineup."
Viciedo making himself tougher out
ARLINGTON -- Dayan Viciedo joined the White Sox along with praise coming from general manager Ken Williams of being the most dangerous he has been with the bat since joining the organization. Viciedo's innate ability is evident by watching him through just two or three at-bats, but his increased knowledge of his swing and offensive approach have made Viciedo a much tougher out.
"One of the biggest things I've adjusted to is not putting the same swing on every ball," said Viciedo, through translator and bullpen coach Juan Nieves. "On certain swings, I stay inside the ball. The pitch dictates how hard of a swing you put on, not swinging at every pitch as hard as I can.
"Video is one of my biggest assets. And one of the biggest adjustments I've had to make throughout my career is swinging at strikes and being more selective."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen saw Viciedo take batting practice before Spring Training and felt the corner infielder was ready to take off as a pretty good hitter. As for his ultimate potential, Guillen wasn't ready to label Viciedo as a middle-of-the-order sort of run producer, instead giving him greater time to develop.
"This isn't Cuban baseball. This is the big leagues," said Guillen, who has managed four Cuban players. "People think Cuba has great players and Cuban baseball is the best baseball. That's a bunch of [garbage].
"Few Cuban players come to the United States and develop right away. Maybe one or two, [Alexei] Ramirez, everyone else takes a long time. You see the kid from Anaheim [Kendry Morales] took five to six years to develop. It's a different ballgame."
White Sox used to rain in Arlington
ARLINGTON -- Tropical storm Alex is not the only reason why White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen expected inclement weather throughout his team's weekend stay near Dallas.
"Every time we come here, especially in the summer, in the middle of the summer, the weather is always like that," Guillen said. "You have to be prepared and aware about that. I thought it was going to be very, very, very bad here. I was in Kansas City watching the weather and I thought it would be tough to play a couple of games. We were lucky to play last night."
The start of Friday's game was delayed 2 hours, 25 minutes by a torrential downpour.
Third to first
The White Sox slipped to 21-19 on the road but stand as one of just five American League teams with a winning record away from home. ... John Danks dropped to 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA lifetime against the Rangers, the team that originally drafted him in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, after giving up two runs over six innings in Saturday's 3-1 loss. ... Danks has factored in 11 straight decisions and has only two no-decisions all season. ... Juan Pierre is 5-for-8 in the first two games of the Rangers series. ... The White Sox are 8-2 in their last 10 games without hitting a home run.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.