08/19/11 2:09 AM ET
Williams counting on strong stretch run
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
On Thursday, general manager Ken Williams echoed his manager's sentiment with a bit more displeasure.
"Go get the inspirational speeches from someone else. I'm [angry]," Williams told MLB.com, responding to a question concerning the White Sox chances to claim an American League Central over the final 40 games. "This team should be 10 games over .500 right now.
"That's the bad news. The good news is we still have time to right the ship. But if you are looking for inspiration, or anyone is, or pats on the back from this recent surge, you are looking at the wrong person. I'll give you a pat on the back if you end up in first place."
Williams said that anything short of winning the division would be an obvious disappointment, adding that winning the division really isn't even good enough in the White Sox championship-oriented minds. He acknowledged, as an example, being impressed by Alejandro De Aza's play since called up to the big league club, as the outfielder is batting .310 and infusing life into the White Sox lineup.
But he added that he'll be more impressed if De Aza keeps it up.
"Nothing is going to impress me the rest of the year unless we are in first place at the end," Williams said. "Other than that, it's just find a way to win today."
Many reasons exist for the 61-61 record of the third-place White Sox. The bullpen struggled at the start of the campaign, while Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, two high-profile players brought in by Williams, have done next to nothing offensively. Yet, this team still has battled back from an 11-22 start and an 11-game AL Central deficit in early May.
When asked why he believed the 2011 White Sox were a .500 team, Williams responded that they've lost an equal amount of games as they had won without much of an attempt at humor.
When pressed further for reasons, he provided the following response: "There are plenty of them," Williams said. "Starting with me."
Pierzynski set to resume baseball activities
CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski made a brief visit to see a hand specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio on Thursday, seeking another opinion on his fractured left wrist. The backstop was originally checked out at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
"Both sets of doctors were awesome, and they both came to form the same opinion. It was good news," said Pierzynski, who was back at U.S. Cellular Field in time for Thursday's game. "We're going to check it in a week, but hopefully start baseball stuff tomorrow."
The best news for Pierzynski was that he can't do any more damage to the wrist. As for baseball activity, he's going to start slow by swinging a lighter bat to get him from 90 percent range of motion back to 100 percent.
Pierzynski isn't eligible to come off the disabled list -- his first career trip -- until Aug. 28, and he might have to go on a brief Minor League rehab assignment, if all goes well, before returning for a Sept. 2 contest in Detroit.
A cast currently on Pierzynski's left wrist will stay there to protect it from being accidentally hit.
"But I take it off and walk around and it's fine," Pierzynski said. "They actually encourage me to do that and work on the motion. Other than that, keep it on, especially when I'm out and not in a controlled environment."
Timing is everything for De Aza
CHICAGO -- After hitting .322 with 29 doubles and 22 stolen bases over 99 games for Triple-A Charlotte, Alejandro De Aza has not missed a beat since his July 27 promotion to the White Sox.
De Aza carries a .289 average following his start in right field during Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Indians and has provided a strong presence in the lineup's two-hole.
De Aza, 27, is in his 10th professional season, but he had just 194 Major League at-bats prior to 2011. The left-handed hitter doesn't attribute his success to any significant changes to his approach at the plate.
"Just timing. I started working hard on my timing at the plate," De Aza said. "Before, I tried to rush right across the ball. Now, I just try to use my hands and use my speed.
"I don't feel pressure. I just try to play the game the right way. And hopefully good things can happen, you know."
Ozzie Guillen knows De Aza from their Marlins' days together, and the skipper likes the lineup flexibility he provides. Guillen also likes that De Aza can execute the hit-and-run or swipe a base at the top of the order.
"Now he's got a shot to play, I don't want to say every day, most of the time," Guillen said. "I hope he continues to play like that."
Quentin given mental breather Thursday
CHICAGO -- Carlos Quentin's 3-for-18 showing on the current homestand initially earned him a night off Thursday, though the slugger came on to pinch-hit in the 7th inning of a 4-2 loss to the Indians and finished 0-for-2.
Also contributing to Quentin's breather was his 1-for-19 run with eight strikeouts lifetime against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson
"He's not swinging the bat right now. He's kind of lost a little bit at the plate," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
"Plus, he's been playing a lot. That's a guy we have to take care of physically. Give him a break mentally and be ready for tomorrow."
Third to first
Zach Stewart ultimately could end up as part of the White Sox starting rotation. But after recording five outs via strikeout in relief during Wednesday's 4-1 loss, he's enjoying pitching out of the bullpen for a playoff contender.
"I'm just glad I have this opportunity to get in more games," Stewart said. "Obviously we're making the playoff push and trying to win the division, so it's nice to be able to contribute and get out there whenever they need me."
Stewart made an unexpected appearance in Thursday's finale against the Indians, entering with one out in the second after Philip Humber was struck in the head by a line drive.
X-rays were negative on the right hand of Dayan Viciedo, who hurt the hand on a third-inning dive for the baseball in right field for Triple-A Charlotte at Norfolk on Wednesday. He is listed as day to day, and did not start Thursday.
FOX is picking up the White Sox home contest against the Indians on Sept. 10, moving the start time from 6:10 p.m. CT to 3:10 p.m. CT. The game will not be carried on WGN as originally scheduled. Wednesday's game in Anaheim will be shown nationally on ESPN2.