6/18/2014 12:13 A.M. ET
El Duque emotional in remembering '05 title run
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who arguably pitched the most historic inning of relief in White Sox history during Game 3 of the 2005 American League Division Series at Fenway Park, returned to U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday for a panel discussion entitled "White Sox Baseball: A History of Cuban Stars."
Hernandez was joined on the panel by fellow Cuban natives Minnie Minoso, Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Adrian Nieto. But before discussing his life and answering questions, Hernandez took his first look at the World Series sculpture in front of U.S. Cellular Field immortalizing Hernandez from his moment against Boston and his teammates in their title run.
"It was very emotional," said a smiling Hernandez, who finished 9-9 with a 5.12 ERA over 24 games (22 starts) in '05, through an interpreter. "All that are there should give thanks to the White Sox for having it and keeping them in mind with regards to the sculpture. It was an important World Series win and it was nice commemorating the team."
After retiring following the '07 season, Hernandez now lives in Miami and works with Yankees Minor Leaguers. He's looking forward to the 10-year-anniversary celebration of the White Sox title, adding that he already had been extended an invitation for the January festivities that figure to coincide with SoxFest '15.
His sixth inning of ALDS relief against the Red Sox certainly will be talked about at that time. He replaced Damaso Marte with the bases loaded, nobody out and Jason Varitek at the plate in a 4-3 White Sox lead. Hernandez induced a foul popup to first from Varitek, got an infield popup from Tony Graffanino on a 3-2 pitch as the culmination of a 10-pitch at-bat and struck out Johnny Damon on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. The White Sox finished off the Red Sox, 5-3, after this memorable moment.
"I don't think about baseball from day to day," said Hernandez, who hugged executive vice president Ken Williams upon entering the Conference and Learning Center for Tuesday's event. "But I'll see Johnny Damon on occasion and it will kind of bring back the memories. I'm reminded of the team and the effort and everything that was put forth to get that World Series."
Abreu gets lesson from White Sox
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu didn't run out a wild pitch on a swinging strike three in the seventh inning of an 8-2 White Sox victory over the Giants on Tuesday and quickly heard about it from Mark Parent. The White Sox bench coach brought in Lino Diaz, the team's manager of cultural development and an interpreter, as he talked to a frustrated but clearly receptive Abreu at the left end of the dugout.
After the White Sox ended their four-game losing streak, with Abreu finishing 1-for-4 with a run scored, manager Robin Ventura spoke briefly on the topic.
"I don't think he saw it at first. ... So he'll be running," Ventura said.
When Ventura was asked if a conversation was had with Abreu, he responded, "Yeah, he'll be running. You talk to him. He'll run."
Abreu has served as the driving force at the center of the White Sox offense this season with 19 homers and 51 RBIs, not to mention presenting a tireless work ethic and a great clubhouse presence. But Abreu also failed to run out a popup toward first in a loss to the Royals on Sunday, which teetered between fair and foul ground, with Parent saying something briefly to him in the dugout.
Walks a concern to White Sox pitching coach
CHICAGO -- The White Sox entered Tuesday's Interleague contest against the Giants leading the Major Leagues with 271 walks issued by their pitchers.
They also sit 27th with 488 strikeouts from their hurlers. Add in a defense that has made the third-most errors in the Majors, and it becomes a little easier to understand why the pitching staff has a 4.37 ERA that ranks 26th overall.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper doesn't seem too worried about the defense behind his staff or the fact that Chris Sale stands as the team's only strikeout pitcher. But the walks are unacceptable in Cooper's mind.
"Walks [stink] no matter if we are catching every single ball," Cooper said. "It's something we've never led in and I don't like leading in. If you don't throw it over sooner or later, you can't be here.
"You have to throw it over. You can't be putting guys on base, especially in this park. We've known that for 100 years."
Cooper contends that walks stand out as more of an individual statistic than a team-wide problem. For example, Erik Johnson walked 15 over 23 2/3 innings before being optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, and Felipe Paulino walked 12 in 18 1/3 innings before being placed on the disabled list. John Danks leads the team with 32 walks in 82 innings but has issued just six free passes in his last 29 1/3 innings entering Tuesday, while Andre Rienzo has had location issues with 25 walks in 54 innings.
Both Daniel Webb (22 walks) and Jake Petricka (19) have had trouble with free passes in relief, but Cooper doesn't want these young and talented relievers backing off their stuff.
"I want them throwing their best stuff and we'll continue to work on more and more strikes with all of their pitches," Cooper said. "It's not a column I'm happy with, but that's more an individual thing and not a team thing."
White Sox share fond memories of Gwynn
CHICAGO -- Darrin Jackson was more than just Tony Gwynn's teammate from 1989-92. The White Sox radio analyst considered one of the game's greatest hitters a close friend, not to mention his fishing buddy and worthy pingpong opponent.
Bench coach Mark Parent's wife taught Gwynn's children how to swim when the two were teammates with the Padres and basically neighbors from 1986-90. These were two of the many memories shared Tuesday concerning Gwynn, who passed away Monday at the age of 54 due to cancer of the salivary gland.
"I was obviously very close to him but that's who he is --- Tony Gwynn," Jackson said. "He wasn't the superstar, .338 lifetime hitter, he was Tony Gwynn, just the person that is expected to be treated normal."
"[Paul] Konerko told me he could go 0-for-1,500 and still be a lifetime .300 hitter. You're never going to see that again," Parent said. "Especially for a guy who kept his nose clean, stayed in one city his whole career and what he meant to the city of San Diego. Whatever statue they have is not big enough."
Jackson told a story about going to a McDonald's on one occasion with Gwynn, and the kid manning the drive-through window was awestruck by Gwynn's presence. Gwynn smiled and said it was him, but he just wanted his hamburger.
"To him it was no big deal and that was Tony," Jackson said. "He used to make me laugh so much. We used to go back and forth all the time."
"Nobody worked harder at his craft," said Parent of Gwynn. "Funny guy, liked to smile and laugh. Him and [Giants manager Bruce Bochy] were good friends because they liked to joke a lot."
Both Parent and Jackson spoke of Gwynn sharing his hitting wisdom with them, but that Gwynn simply was on a different level. That fact held true as a player and as a person.
"I don't have a bad thing to say about the guy. I have a lot of good things to say about the guy," said Parent of Gwynn, for whom the White Sox held a moment of silence prior to Tuesday's contest. "He'll be sorely missed by a lot of people. Tony was quite a guy."
Field of Greens makes big charitable contribution
CHICAGO -- The White Sox Field of Greens Golf Outing for Charity, which took place Monday at Harborside International Golf Center in Chicago, netted $100,000 to benefit pediatric cancer treatment and research programs at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. That total was significantly more than last year and the second-best year ever for the team's golf or bowling events going back to '06.
"You have to remember what you're there for," said White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who joined manager Robin Ventura, members of Ventura's coaching staff, teammates and former players such as Carlton Fisk, Ron Kittle and Bo Jackson, to name a few, at the event. "Obviously, you're there to have a good time and play some golf, but the most important thing is to raise money, and I think they did a good job of that."
Third to first
• Paul Konerko ranks second on the White Sox all-time home run list at 431. Frank Thomas is the career leader with 448. Thomas hit 73 homers with Oakland and Toronto combined, with Konerko hit seven between stops with the Dodgers and Reds.
• The White Sox sent Jared Mitchell from Triple-A Charlotte to Double-A Birmingham, with newly acquired Michael Taylor activated by the Knights. Right-handed starter Tommy Hanson was placed on the disabled list, while right-handed pitcher Parker Frazier was moved from Birmingham to Charlotte.
Mitchell, the team's top pick in the '09 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .178 over his last two seasons, with 201 strikeouts and 25 stolen bases.
• In-stadium balloting at U.S. Cellular Field for the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis ends Wednesday. Fans still may vote for starters at whitesox.com until July 3 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Jose Abreu sits second at first base currently, while Alexei Ramirez ranks second at shortstop.