08/19/11 9:59 PM ET
Ozzie, Williams shower praise on Hahn
By Brian Hedger / MLB.com
Hahn is in his 11th season in the White Sox front office and has become a hot name whenever Major League GM jobs open. In fact, Baseball America named him the top GM prospect in the game in March 2010.
When his name was brought up Friday in connection with the new Cubs opening, White Sox GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen did nothing but fan the flame about Hahn's qualifications.
"I've made no secret about it. Rick Hahn is, to me, one of the most qualified men to assume the position moving forward," Williams said. "What [Cubs owner Tom Ricketts] does is his own business. He's a guy that's had a lot of success in business and in his world, and his world over there is none of my business at this point in time. But if he called for a recommendation on Rick Hahn, I absolutely would give him my highest."
Guillen had high praise for Hahn, as well. Is he qualified for a job like the Cubs?
"Of course," Guillen said. "Easy. Not my department, but looking from the outside in, he's very prepared, he has gone through everything in the system, he knows baseball very well and helped this organization. This man is very prepared. I don't know if they are going to talk to him. I talk to Rick all the time. He knows baseball."
Williams: Beckham nearing crossroads
CHICAGO -- Nobody is more frustrated with his struggles at the plate than White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who is hitting just .238 and went 1-for-13 in his team's previous three-game series against the Indians.
Coming in a close second, however, might be general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen -- who both see Beckham falling victim to pitches out of the strike zone, particularly high ones.
Asked on Friday afternoon if it's still too early in Beckham's career to say he's nearing a crossroads, Williams didn't mince words.
"No, because with his current approach, I think they're going to continue to expose his weakness," Williams said. "As I've told him in the past, this is nothing he hasn't heard from me in the past, I liked the swing coming out of the University of Georgia -- the one that we saw when he first got here to the big leagues, where he was able to drive the ball and pound it into the right-center-field gap. And any high fastball, he could get on top if it with his top hand."
Guillen was also quick to point out the pitches Beckham's been swinging at are up in the zone.
"I think the only thing about Gordon is chasing bad pitches," Guillen said. "He can't lay off of the high ones, and the longer you do that, you're going to be in the same situation."
Williams, however, said he's trying not to get too involved with the situation.
"As the general manager, you sit back, you have to respect the work that your coaches do and you have to respect the desire from the player as to what he thinks will work," Williams said. "It doesn't matter what I think, it doesn't matter what you think or anybody else thinks. It's what he takes from that on-deck circle to the plate with the most confidence that's going to ultimately yield his failures or successes."
Thursday night's loss to the Indians was particularly galling for the 24-year old former No. 1 pick. Beckham, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, with the White Sox trailing by just two runs.
"I could not have been more frustrated," Beckham said. "I want to do well for these guys, the coaches and myself, and it didn't happen. I'm very frustrated. I wanted to break everything in the bat rack. I wanted to break everything in the cage until everything was broken, and that's basically the extent of my frustration [Thursday] night. But it's a new day, so I've got to put it behind me."
Beckham, who started at second base and hit ninth against the Rangers on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, took extra batting practice before the game and continues to search for answers at the plate.
"It's a matter of not swinging at balls," Beckham said. "Just swing at strikes. If I can swing at strikes, I'm going to be fine, but you know, you're 0-2 and you got there by swinging at two balls ... you know it's really hard to hit. You've just got to swing at strikes, and I've got to do a better job of it.
"I wish it didn't take this long and wish it wasn't happening right now, but I've still got a lot of time [in my career]. I've played good defense and I hang my hat on that right now, I guess. I've got to find a way to help this team. It's not about me. It's not about my stats or anything like that. We've got to win this division. I know if I can get going, I know I can help and be a force to help win it. That's the main goal. It's about winning games and that's why last night was so frustrating."
Pierzynski on track for return when eligible
CHICAGO -- The only catching that A.J. Pierzynski can do, for now, is tossing the baseball with his young son -- which he did at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday after going through rehab exercises in the training room.
Pierzynski, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday (retroactive to Aug. 13) with a fractured left thumb, said he's still planning to return on Sept. 1 when rosters expand.
"I'm not rushing it, because Sept. 1 is the day and it's still two weeks away," he said. "There's lots of time to get some work done. It's not like we have to get something done right away, so we're taking it slow and going from there."
Pierzynski said live catching should be added into his workout routine in a day or two, and he will start hitting off a tee soon.
"The biggest thing is that we did a bunch of stuff [Thursday] and there were no residual effects [on Friday]," Pierzynski said. "There was no new pain, there was no new soreness, there was no crunching and creaking in there, which is what they worried about when I started doing stuff. There was none of that, so hopefully we'll get more treatment after BP and we'll see how it feels [on Saturday]."
Kind words for Hendry
CHICAGO -- One of the biggest topics of discussion around U.S. Cellular Field on Friday afternoon was what happened on the North side of Chicago at Wrigley Field -- where the Cubs announced the firing of general manager Jim Hendry.
Both White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams expressed remorse for what happened. They also heaped a good amount of praise on Hendry for what he accomplished with the Cubs -- winning two National League Central titles and nearly getting the Cubs to their first World Series appearance since 1945.
"This man is a very great baseball man who has done a lot of great stuff in the past," Guillen said. "When you have that job, when you are not winning, you will at least take the blame. The way he left it shows how much class he has. He got fired before the Draft. He shows how much class he has to stay with the organization, to help them get better and make the organization move on without him. He's a better man than me. If that happens to me, I get fired? I leave the same day."
Williams said the same thing, noting that he'll most likely hit the nearest golf course if the day comes where he's asked to step down. Williams admires the aggressive attitude Hendry had in the GM role.
"He's one of the straight shooters and an easy person to pick up the phone and talk baseball with -- and definitely unafraid," Williams said. "He'll resurface, certainly, somewhere in baseball, because he's that well-thought of and he's good at what he does. Listen, the one thing you can appreciate from a person who is sitting in this chair and watching someone else go about his business is that he swung for the fences. When you swing for the fences, you're going to swing and miss. And sometimes you're going to miss terribly, especially if you've been on the job for a long time. That is the nature of the beast, and you're not going to avoid it.
"He set out and [darn] near did it, to make some change in that organization and get them to the World Series. And they were awfully close. Awfully close. And close enough to where I remember sitting on my couch and thinking this is going to be the time they're going to the World Series. You can appreciate the effort that the man put forth every single year."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.