Results tagged ‘ A.J. Pierzynski ’

I’m back and ready to cover the World Series

I’m baaaaackkkkk!!! Don’t think just because I have been out of the country I haven’t been following some baseball. I know what’s been going on in the playoffs and all over the place.

On that note, ESPN has asked me to help them out during their World Series coverage, and I gladly accepted. I’m honored and excited to work as an analyst this year along side my man John Kruk and Barry Larkin. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I guarantee lots of laughing. Make sure you tune in; you just never know what’s going to happen. I will also be on SportsCenter a couple of times, so the whole thing should be a blast. Being around baseball is what I love and it’s what I always want to be doing. This is the second best way to be around the World Series; I’m just glad they picked me and wanted me to come on board.

Congrats to all the teams that made it. The Tigers — with all their injuries — put up an amazing fight. They deserve a lot of credit with all they had to put up with. I’m not surprised about Texas because they are a very good team. I’m happy for Wash (Ron Washington) and Michael Young since he has been their leader for so long. I’m a big fan of his.

I am a little surprised at how good the Cardinals’ bullpen has been. Wow. Tony LaRussa and his staff have done a great job working those guys in. As for the Phillies, I thought they would have moved past St. Louis with their pitching, but it wasn’t meant to be.

New teams and new cities getting excited about their teams is a good thing for baseball. If the Cubs pull off that deal for Theo Epstein, it would be awesome for them. The city of Chicago would definitely appreciate it, and he has a great history of winning, as we all know.

Also, I want to say great job by A.J. Pierzynski and Tito (Terry Francona) on FOX. They are doing a great job working with a great staff. Don’t think I forgot about Spain either. What an amazing time, but you guys have probably heard enough about that! See you at the World Series. I’ll be the guy in the nice suit (haha).  Let’s hope it goes seven games. Why not? I’m torn because I was an American League guy, but now for less than a month I am a National League guy.

Who do you think will win? That’s why they play the games. Feels good to be back in the U.S.!

Q&A: On Twitter, pitchers & 2-strike hitters

After enjoying a nice day off in Chicago before heading to Denver last night, I am rested and ready to go against the Rockies. Denver is a very nice city, I must say, even though we don’t get a chance to be here very often. I’m looking forward to a good series and an opportunity to see a good, young Venezuelan player in Carlos Gonzalez – who can be extremely dangerous — and one of my favorite players in Troy Tulowitzki.

We know we need to start swinging the bats better. In the American League, if you can’t swing the bats, you have no chance. I was happy with the way we played the game this weekend, and I’m glad we had that 6-man rotation. We can now fill-in John Danks’ spot, and I was very proud of Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy, who were all available to pitch this weekend out of the bullpen. I have a lot of respect for all those guys. I also have to mention how happy I am for Davey Johnson and hope he does some good things with the Nationals. They have some good, young talent over there.

So, I had a little more time and the questions keep coming into my website, so here are a couple more answers …

Q: Ozzie, you are my favorite person to follow on Twitter. Many of your tweets are pretty funny. Why did you decide to start an account, and why do you like to use Twitter? — Mike C. (Waukegan, Ill.)

A: I thought it was a fun way to connect with my family, friends, and fans. Glad you enjoy it.

Q: Why don’t managers let pitchers throw 300 innings in a year anymore? Roy Halladay could easily hit that mark if he was left in games a little longer. And why is that magic 100-pitch count held in such high regard? If a guy feels good, shouldn’t you let him keep throwing? – Wyatt F. (Owensboro, Ken.)

A: Because they play 162 games now. These players make a lot more money, and it’s a big risk if they get hurt. Also, pitchers are developed differently these days.

Q: Who is the best two-strike hitter in baseball? – Kevin M. (Atlanta)

A: The best I ever saw was Wade Boggs. Right now, it’s hard for me to say because I don’t see enough of everyone, but A.J. Pierzynski isn’t bad.

Q: What is the worst thing you did to get thrown out of a game? — Brian M. (New York)

A: I can say some pretty bad words to the umpire, I guess. Nothing sticks out.

Q: Dear Ozzie, just wanted to say great tweet to Sean Pean about Venezuela! You clearly have first-hand knowledge, and he is clearly not well-informed. Keep up the great work! – Helen G. (Glendora, Calif.)

A: Thank you very much for the support!

Q: Ozzie, are you going to manage the Venezuela team in 2013? Also, what do you think of the expansion of the tournament to 28 teams? Thanks! — Mark H. (Chicago)

A: I don’t think I’m allowed to manage the 2013 team because I am a current MLB manager. If they expand, it would be very cool, but that also means a lot more games, so there is a downside, as well. If it makes money, it makes sense (haha).

Thank you, everyone, for reading this blog and your support. Until next time …

– Ozzie

Watch Opening Day with The Ozzie Foundation

FINALLY … the day is here. Opening Day never gets old to me. I am and we are all blessed to have this chance to put on the
uniform and go out and play. I
have been around this game for a long time and every year Opening Day has the
same excitement. The thing about
this day that is so great is the hope that every team has. Every single team thinks they a have shot
at the World Series for maybe the only day all year.

Although I’m very excited, it’s also very cold here in
Cleveland. From what I heard, it’s
a little warmer back in Chicago. I hope you all will be watching today; we need
your support. If you are looking
for somewhere to watch the game, I would love for you to join my Foundation at
Public House (400 N. State Street). It’s going to be a great atmosphere to watch the game and we will be
raffling off some great prizes during and after the game. It’s going to be free to get in, so you
can just come and hang out if you want. Some of the raffle items include autographed bats from Adam Dunn, Alex
Rios
, A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez. Some of my friends from the Yankees were also nice enough to donate some
autographed memorabilia, so we will also have autographed baseballs from Andruw
Jones
, Jorge Posada, CC Sabathia and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. 

Thanks for all your support, and I really mean that. We are
going to need your support this year. 

PLAY BALL!

– Ozzie 

It’s crunch time here in Arizona!

Well … lets just say we have been a little busy over here in
Arizona. It’s coming down to the
end of Spring Training, and we as an organization have to make decisions based
on what we believe will give us the best chance to win. I want to say congrats to B-MO (Brent
Morel
) for making the team. I
think this kid will have a good career in the big leagues, and hopefully he
helps us like I think he can.

Everyone seems ready to go; we just need to get everyone
healthy and stay with it all the way to Cleveland. Some final roster choices will be made soon, and I will keep
you all posted. Yesterday, we had
one of our Cubs-Sox games and I got to see my good buddy Rick Sutcliffe before
the game. Always great to see him,
but I have to be honest, whenever we play the Cubs anywhere it’s always a big
pain in the butt. People make it
such a big deal and there is always so much stuff going on!

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Tomorrow I will be doing an interview with Esquire
Magazine. I’m very excited about
it. Very good magazine, and I enjoy the tough questions! Also, be on the lookout for an ESPN E:60 episode I
did down here in Arizona. I will
keep you up to date on when it airs. Should be very cool.

So that’s just a heads-up on what’s been going on down here
before we go to Cleveland, and in a way I will be with you guys in Chicago on
Opening Day, April 1. My Foundation is holding a viewing party for Opening Day at Public House
in downtown Chicago. I’m very
excited because this is the first of these kind of events we have ever
done. We will be doing a charity
raffle with a ton of great prizes, like signed baseball bats from Adam Dunn,
Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and a bunch of other great prizes. The best part is 100 percent of the raffle
donations go straight into the Chicago Community, and I am very proud of
that. So if you are looking for
something to do for Opening Day, I hope you can make it out!

Thank you all for your support. Wake up and get your dreams; anything is possible!

– Ozzie 

Well, that was a fun weekend…

WOW! What a crazy and awesome weekend! First of all, I want to thank everyone that wished me a Happy Birthday on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I spent some great time with my family, players and coaches, and it’s always awesome to see all the fans come out and support us during SoxFest.

January is always a crazy time in my family, not only because of SoxFest, but this year, Chicago Sports Radio 670 The Score held my Celebrity Roast. The Roast was awesome and everyone was very funny, except for a few drunk people. (haha) Thank you to everyone for coming, you all looked very sharp and it was just an amazing day. Some of my pictures from the weekend will be up in the photos section of my new website, so check them out.

As some of you know, my option for the 2012 season was picked up this weekend as well. I am very excited about this, and anyone who knows me knows I have said I want to be with the White Sox all the time, as long as it makes sense for both sides. I am glad I won’t have to answer questions about that anymore and now everyone can focus on baseball. It was great to see my players this weekend and get to hanging out with them. So glad we got the boys back, P.K. (Paul Konerko) and A.J. (A.J. Pierzynski). It was also nice to meet some of the new guys; that’s always fun. As you can tell, I am ready for the season to begin right now, just like Alexei Ramirez is. (haha)

Other than that, I got to finish up the weekend by relaxing and watching the Bears game. Chicago wants a winner, that’s it, so I was disappointed just like everyone else that they couldn’t pull it off.

I hope you all are enjoying the new website. I think it looks great, and I’m very grateful for the work that MLBAM and Triple Crown did for putting in the effort to make this possible. I will be uploading fresh stuff all the time — pictures, videos, behind-the-scenes looks at what’s going on in my life — so make sure you are ready!

Thanks again for all your support and always remember: If you want your dreams to come true, wake up and go get them!

– Ozzie 

Q&A: Arizona in the spring, Kenny Powers & Magglio

Hey, everyone! I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and ate a lot of turkey and mashed potatoes! Here are some more of your questions answered:

Q: Ozzie, what do you think about Arizona? Do you have any favorite restaurants down there, and how do you like having Spring Training there?

A: Arizona has great weather, even though it’s kind of weird because in the morning it’s freezing and then gets very, very warm during the day. I love the amazing golf courses they have out there, even though I need to get a lot better! Our Spring Training facilities are very good and convenient for the managers and players because they are all so close. It allows us to take batting practice in Glendale and then travel to our road games and back quickly. “Mastro’s” and “Mariscos Chihuahua” are my two favorite places to eat, and I go there often. In fact, I take the Arizona grounds-crew guys out to eat every year at one of those places. I love those guys.

Q: Will you invite Kenny Powers to camp next spring?

A: I would love to have Kenny Powers in camp. I also want that YouTube kid, Keenan Cahill — the little guy with the glasses. That guy is great! 

Q: Are A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko staying?

A: When you guys ask me questions about players, you guys are asking the wrong man.

Q: As a former resident of Berwyn, Ill., do you ever get a chance to make it back? Any favorite restaurants?

A: Yes, I have some good friends in the Berwyn Police — Jimmy Sassetti is my guy! My favorite place to go eat is :Mr. Tacos,” and I remember Orlando the Barber.

Q: Is there still heat between you and Magglio Ordonez?

A: No, me and Magglio did what we had to do. We moved on and respect one another. I’m happy when he does well.

Q: What are your thoughts on global warming?

A: To be honest, I really don’t know that much about global warming. I do know that we need to try and take a little better care of our environment, no matter what you believe.

Thanks for all the questions, and remember to keep them coming! 

– Ozzie

Reducing errors

More than once I have emphasized the need to reduce the number of defensive errors because they result in more work for the pitchers. As I write this column, the White Sox lead the American League in errors. Although our opponents don’t always score runs as a result, defensive errors force the pitcher to throw more pitches, which can limit the number of innings he throws. This can be very serious.

For this home stretch, we need all of our pitchers, both starters and relievers, to pitch effectively for as long as possible. For that they need help from our offense, but also from our defense. Pitchers seem larger than life when they have a solid team backing them from the first through the final inning.

Speaking of good outings, Freddy Garcia and Jake Peavy had great starts with the Charlotte Knights, our Triple-A affiliate, were very good. Freddy went 6.0 innings and although he took the loss, he allowed only two runs and struck out nine. Peavy also showed that he will be a big help when he joins our pitching staff. In 3.0 innings against Pawtucket, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, he allowed only one hit, walked one batter and recorded five strikeouts. Three of them came when he struck out the side in the first inning.

If Freddy and Peavy pitch according to their credentials, count the White Sox in the race for the American League Central title. It’s important, of course, that the rest of the players continue to do their jobs in terms of producing runs. To that end, the addition of Alex Rios should add great depth to the outfield and a respectable bat that should strengthen our lineup.

Anyway, there is a month and a half left in the season. The team’s management has made the necessary moves to strengthen our roster and our destiny is still in our hands. We hope to continue receiving support from our fans in Chicago and will keep giving our all on the field until the very end. Hopefully we’ll be battling in October to the satisfaction of our fans.

Now for some answers.

Angel Ramon Deonice of Carupano, Venezuela asks what motivated the White Sox to release Scott Podsednik in 2007 only to rehire him in 2009. Although I have said in the past that I have nothing to do with signings, I’d like to remind Angel Ramon that during the last two years that Podsednik was with us, his playing time was limited due to injuries. From there, the team decided to let him go. After the Colorado Rockies opted not to sign him for the 2009 season, Scott was willing to go to the minors to prove that he was in excellent health. If you take into account the trouble we had finding a leadoff hitter, you will understand why we re-signed him. I can honestly tell you that without Podsednik in our lineup we would not be contending for the division title.

Arturo Fadragas, a Cuban resident of Chicago, wants to know if his fellow countryman Jose Contreras is finished as a pitcher and if he figures in the White Sox’s plans for 2010.

Arturo is not the only Cuban who inquires about Contreras. Every week I get messages giving me suggestions as to how to deal with him, on what advice I should give him and how to support him. Some request that I order him to throw this pitch or that pitch at this or that angle. The truth is that upon his return from Charlotte, Contreras looked great and won some very important games. But his most recent starts have been a disaster, as Dr. Julio Antonio Machillanda of Porlamar points out. I really don’t know if it’s a lack of concentration or a lack of command of his best pitches, but the truth is that Jose is in the rotation right now because there is no other available option. His future with the White Sox will depend on what he does on the mound. Personally I hope that he gets out of this funk not only so that he can help us in the home stretch but because he is a hard worker and an excellent person.

Rafael Loretto of Valle La Pascua and Luis Manuel Ferrer Torres of Caracas ask about the famous “Guerrilla” of the 1980s with the Tiburones (Sharks) of La Guaira. At some point I will discuss this in the column that I write in Venezuela, but I will mention that, contrary to what has been said, the term “guerrilla” does not mean that the players played like hardened warriors but that there was much discord in the clubhouse among some of the players. So and so did not speak to so and so, so and so did not have a relationship with so and so, so and so hated so and so. Nonetheless, once the umpire said, “play ball,” the internal “warfare” did not keep the players from playing like professionals or from devoting themselves, body and soul, to the quest for victory. The result is known by Venezuelan fans, especially fans of los Tiburones of La Guaira.

Carlos Andrade of Maracay asks when Bartolo Colon will be ready to pitch for the White Sox. Carlos, I really don’t know and by the way, if you see him in Maracay, please give him my regards.

Marco Antonio Bonilla of San Diego, California, asks how many games I think Jake Peavy can win for the White Sox this year. Honestly, Marco Antonio, I hope he wins enough games to help us win the division title and the World Series. I would be satisfied with that.

Your question allows me to answer those who, like Wenceslao Moreno of Maracaibo, Oswaldo Peroza of Valencia and Juan Martin of Miami, wonder if it was a good idea to bring aboard an injured Peavy. Personally I think it was, not only because of the games he can win this year, but because of the message it sends to the team and to the Chicago fans. Peavy and Alex Rios, another acquisition for the second half of the season, have contracts that guarantee that they will remain in Chicago for several more years. This means that Kenny Williams is set on building a competitive team, not only for 2009, but for a long time. It’s true, as Martin points out, that we gave up valuable prospects, but in baseball you have to give something good to get something of equal value. Time will tell if it was a good decision, but right now it seems excellent.

Rafael Escalante of Valencia asks me if I would like to end my career with the White Sox. Definitely! I would like to be here for another 20 years or as long as my body can take it. However, the day that my work is poor or that I can no longer help the team win, they should send me home without contemplation. I hope I have grandchildren by then so I can drive them crazy!

An annoyed Victor Saldivia Simanca of Valencia wrote to complain that I have not responded to any of his questions. Although I was sure I had discussed his messages in previous columns, I nonetheless want to reiterate my appreciation. Your letters, more than questions, contain analysis and opinions that I respect although I may not always agree with them. For example, in one letter you suggest that Freddy was a warrior but that even warriors must meet their end. In your opinion, Freddy’s end has come. I hope that is not the case and that he can contribute this year. In any case, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the White Sox and Venezuelan baseball with me and for the advice you provided in your last message.

By the way, many encouraging messages have been sent to Freddy Garcia via this column and I will definitely pass those along to him. Like I said at the beginning, his starts in the minor leagues have been very good and we can only hope that he will exhibit that same intensity in the big leagues and show why he earned the nickname “Big Game Freddy.” In response to Hector Natera of Guayana, Anibal Contreras of Santa Teresa, Jaifre Gutierrez of Maracay, and Royer Cegarra and Juvenal Briceno of Caracas, who asked when Freddy will be back in the majors, based on what we has shown us up until now, it is likely that he will be back earlier than we expected. In conclusion, I want to respond to Jose Sanchez of Punto Fijo, who asked why we signed Freddy if we already traded him once. Well Jose, first of all, everyone deserves a second chance, especially Freddy, who achieved so many good things with this organization. But more important
ly, it was because we think that he can still help us win games. Let’s see how things go for him.

Pepin Hernandez of Tenerife, Spain, asks if there is tension on the bench between our American and Latin American players. Pepin brings up the incident between Alexei and Pierzynski in one of our games. Even in the best families sometimes there are arguments, Pepin, and that does not mean that there are problems. The team’s friendly atmosphere is the main weapon that allows us to battle as one. Remember that there are 25 players and 8 coaches each with a distinct personality. But the desire to win unites us and makes us a family in which each member protects the others regardless of whether they are rookies or veterans. Incidents and differences will always be present but in the end, after each storm, the sun rises once again.

Ramses Valladaras, a child from Ocumare de Tuy, writes to tell me about his dream of becoming a professional ballplayer and to send me many positive messages. Ramses, the key to achieving your dreams is to work hard and persevere. As you know, I too was born in Ocumare del Tuy and although many people didn’t think I was tall enough or strong enough or whatever to play professional baseball, thanks to my efforts I got to where I got. If I was able to do it, you can too, but it will depend on your perseverance and hard work. Hopefully I can be your manager in the big leagues one day.

Jose Jimenez, also of Ocumare del Tuy, writes to suggest that I build a baseball stadium in that town where I was born although, as Jose recalls, I was not raised there. If it were in my power, it is likely that I would build baseball stadiums in all the towns of Venezuela for children and young people to play sports and stay away from vices. But as I have said in the past, that task lies with the authorities, with the governors and mayors. They are the ones who are truly responsible for the health and wellbeing of the town that elected them. The Guillen Foundation unfortunately does not have the resources for an investment of that magnitude, which is why we use the little that we collect to help children and young people with health problems. My advice is that you demand that the authorities keep their promises and that they prioritize sport, which is the best way to combat poverty and delinquency.

Carlos Venot of Caracas and Carlos Ovalles of Mariara, Carabobo, asked when my contract with the White Sox expires and if I have received offers to manage other teams. Carlos, I should be in Chicago until 2012, which is the last year on my current contract. The rest of the teams cannot make me offers because it would be illegal, but I really hope to finish my career in this city.

Leonardo Araujo of Caracas wants to know which position on our team is the weakest and needs immediate attention. Well, Leonardo, the starting pitching needs to be more consistent if we aspire to make it to the postseason. The starters have done a good job, but have been unpredictable. In general, our defense needs to improve because the errors are hurting our pitchers. I reiterate that with the material we have we can be champions, but we need to do our job properly at every position.

Alejo Manriquez of Maturin suggests that we try to acquire Pablo Sandoval from the San Francisco Giants. Alejo, “Kung Fu Panda” has a long ways to go before becoming a free agent and I doubt that the Giants would be willing to trade him right now.

Angel Ramon Utrera Ovalles of San Juan de los Morros in Guarico brings me joy with his optimism. He asks what the White Sox’s rotation will look like for the postseason. I hope God hears you, Angel Ramon. First we have to get to the postseason before we think about rotations. If that is the case, I would welcome the headache that would result from having to choose four starters among an effective Burhle, Floyd, Danks, Contreras, Peavy and Freddy. The best four would be given the responsibility of guiding us to the title.

Maikel Ferreras, of Ciudad Bolivar, asks me three questions: What recommendations do I give to players who are starting their careers? That they work hard and never give up. What is, in my opinion, the best Venezuelan player right now? It’s impossible to answer, Maikel, because there are too many that are really good. And, why aren’t there more Venezuelans on the White Sox? Although I have addressed this in previous columns, you should know that in the minor leagues there are approximately a dozen of our fellow countrymen making strides towards the big leagues. Little by little, since I arrived in 2004, the number of Venezuelans that have been signed by our scouts has increased. Before then it was difficult to compete with Dominican Republic in signing talent, but we are on the right track.

Esteban Armando Marquez of La Guaira clearly has not read any of my other columns because he asks if there is a possibility that I will manage the Tiburones in the Venezuelan tournament. Although I usually “never say never,” the problem is that those are the months that I devote to my family. As long as I am working in the Major Leagues from February to October, it is impossible to think about managing in the Venezuelan baseball league even if I wanted to. That is not in my plans for the time being.

Angel Esnaldo Lopez of Santa Lucia wants to know if I have been asked to manage Team Venezuela in the two World Baseball Classics that have taken place. Angel, no I have not, because the event’s rules prohibit the participation of Major League managers. In the first tournament they asked me for advice, which I provided with much love, but they ignored me almost completely.

Well, that’s enough for today. Once again, I apologize to those who wrote to me and didn’t receive responses due to a lack of time. My sincere gratitude goes out to those who sent encouraging messages and their congratulations for our work. I would like to mention Tito Barrera, Randy Roy Ramirez, Neji Hyuga, Sergio Sequera and Hendrick Espiona of Maracaibo, Jose Alberto Soterano, Charle Rondon, Haydee Matey, Raul Castellanos and Newlson Gomez of Caracas, Douglas Mendoza of Miami, Yazmany Monarrez of Mexico, Raul Rojas of Charallaves, Jairo Parra of Barinas, Edwin Salinas of Anaco, Andres Avelino Faneite, Cesar Pirona and Alejandro Leon of Valencia, Geraro Prior Harris of Colombia, Santiago Quinto and Olivia Ortega of Maracay, Alberth Chirinos of Coro, Lino Bravo of Fort Lauderdale, Ricardo Olivero of Highwood, Illinois, Yorman Armas of Los Teques, Nelson Caraspe of Valle de La Pascua, José Montero of Cabimas and the hundreds of people who took a few minutes of their precious time to share something with me through whitesox.com.

A million thanks to everyone and keep following and supporting the White Sox!

Looking to improve at home

One of our worries at the start of the season was to improve our road record, because at home, with the support of our fans, we generally have a winning record. But this season has been a strange one for all of us. In our last 12 games at U.S. Cellular Field, we have a record of 4-8, while in our last nine road games we have seven wins and only two losses, including two wins this weekend against the leaders of the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers.

One of the strengths of this team, despite the ups and downs that have characterized us during the season, has been that it never gives up. No matter what, my players go out and battle every day. It’s true we haven’t had the consistency that we would like, and that even I have been confused by some of what I have seen, but overall we have won and lost as a team, as a group.

It’s important to highlight the performance of Jose Contreras, who started the season with a 0-5 record and who offered to go down to the minor leagues to get better prepared to return to the team in better shape. At that time when we were discussing the minor leagues, Jose told Kenny Williams and me that he needed to pitch in order to come back and help the team win. Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. Jose has two starts of 8 innings or more, giving up just three hits, and one against the Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers and two against the Brewers. It is very difficult to have the same level of consistency in every outing, but if he keeps it up, he will surely be one of the key pieces to winning the division title.

But, now, we need to improve our record at home. And I will repeat what I have said many times: we have the talent to win, but we have to be more consistent. We have to do the small things that are required to win, get the big hits, make the routine outs, and get the pressure outs. We have the players here who can do that and other that are learning to do that quickly. If we can stay healthy, free from injuries, and we play the baseball we know how to play, we will be battling until the very end. I still very much like the team that I have.

Now, let’s respond to some of the e-mails:

Melissa Cruz, de Yubacoa in Puerto Rico, asks about the trade that brought over catcher Ramon Castro from the Mets. It seems to me a good trade because Ramon will surely help us. With him, our starting catcher A.J. Pierzinski can get some much needed days off. It is not easy to be behind the plate every day, especially playing with the intensity that A.J does, who plays at 1000 percent every day.

Pedro Soto, of Chicago, asks “how can you ask a hitter to bunt with two strikes and one ball with no one out and a runner on first, late in a close ballgame?” I don’t know if this is a hypothetical question or if he is referring to specific play. In any case, I don’t think I would have done that, but if that did take place, I would have to look over the situation more closely to see what might have happened. I have always said the games are better analyzed the farther you are from the action. From the stands everything looks very easy and some things can look ridiculous without knowing what is going on in the dugout. And finally, don’t forget that I make mistakes just like everyone else. Jordy Perez of New York asks when is the list of 103 names going to be released. Jordy is asking about the 103 players who tested positive for using steroids during the 2003 season. Sorry Jordy, but honesty, I have no idea about that subject.

Carlos Luis Hidalgo, of Venezuela, asks if it is true what journalist Juan Vene wrote in his column about a “near brawl between the manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen and the 3B Josh Fields was broken up by the players.” That is absolutely false and Mr. Vene is clearly a liar. Fields is a very religious young man who is very well mannered, and I, even though many still don’t believe it, am too smart to get into a situation like that. Fields is upset because he has lost his starting job at third base and I have personally talked to him about the fact that his production hasn’t been what the team has expected. In terms of Vene, everyone in the journalism world knows him. He uses his column to discredit people who he doesn’t like, including using insulting nicknames for them. My friends in the media tell me he didn’t even go to the games in Yankee Stadium last year, meaning he has become one of those people that write from their house without stepping foot where the action takes place. Because of his bad attitude no Venezuelan media outlet wants him on their radio or TV stations. The Caribbean Confederation denied him a credential for the Caribbean World Series last year. Everyday more doors are closing for him. It is sad that someone with his background and long career in the business has resorted to lying.

Joel Rodriguez, of Caracas, asks why the White Sox don’t pick up Gregor Blanco from Atlanta to be our leadoff hitter. In reality Joel, I don’t have anything to do with the signing or trading of players. That is the job our GM Kenny Williams, who has a team of professionals in charge of evaluating and analyzing talent on other teams. Those are the people that really know about talent. I have no doubt that if Gregor was a player like you say that would be an “ideal leadoff hitter” then Kenny’s team is surely on top of the situation.

Duane Abreu, of Guacara en the Carabobo state of Venezuela, asks if I would like to have Bob Abreu on my roster. Any team would love to have Bob in its ranks.

Geovanis Lopez, of Havana, Cuba, and Manuel Gomez want to know why Dayan Viciedo has not been moved up to the Majors. Patience, Geovanis, patience. Dayan will be up when he is ready and when he will help us win games. In the mean time, it is better that he play every day, facing good pitching and preparing to improve every day.

Nancy Ward writes to me in English to ask some advice for her daughter and her fiancé, who are big White Sox fans. They don’t play baseball, but that they want is a “little marriage advice.” I have been married 26 years and I have to say that marriage is like baseball: there are many good days and some bad days. What is important is to love and respect your partner. The key is to not let the bad moments overshadow the thousands of happy moments you have spent together.

Ray Rojas, of Minnesota, asks why we don’t change starting pitchers in the first three innings if they are having a bad outing. I’ll repeat Ray, it’s not as easy as it seems from the outside. There are times that the bullpen is tired and we have to try to get five innings out of our starters. Each case is very different and every team manages its bullpen differently. We don’t work the same as other team because we have our own guidelines. For better or worse, in these last five year that we have worked together we have won a World Series and two division titles which could indicate that we are doing a good job. But thanks for your suggestions, and thanks to all that have taken some time to write in to wish me well during the season.

I can’t say goodbye without sending a shout out to Eduardo Flores, of Barquisimeto, and to all the members of the team “Bandidos de un Solo Brazo”, who have represented Venezuela so well in international competitions. I had the opportunity to spend some time with them in my house in Caracas and to play with them alongside of Bob Abreu, Freddy Garcia and Ugueth Urbina, and I will always remember them with great affection.

Good luck in your next tournaments.

I’ll be back in 15 days answering your questions and sharing my opinions, comments and criticisms. One more time, thanks for your participation.

Explanations from the cave

First off, I would like to thank everyone who took a few minutes of their time to send me their questions, opinions, congratulations and criticisms through this page. I am sure that this exchange between you and me will be very productive. In this second column I will respond to a couple of questions that were sent my way. I will also respond to a couple of comments that were made about the team, which, truthfully, is going through a tough time.

I am still optimistic, as are my players, and I think that at any moment now we will combine good pitching, with timely hitting and solid defense, to get back on track. Up until now that hasn’t happened with the consistency we would like. Miguel Monges asks if it is possible to be able to finish in first place even though we have started the season with so many injuries. It’s true Miguel, that when we put a team together in Spring Training, the last thing we think of is losing so many key pieces due to injury. In 2004, my first year as manager, we lost our third and fourth spot hitters because of injuries in the middle of season and that ended any dreams we had of the postseason. It wasn’t impossible, but it was really hard to score runs without Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas in the lineup. That’s why I always say one of the most important things is to stay healthy, especially because of the 162-game schedule we play.

Luis Angel Rodriguez asks that I keep a consistent lineup “as much as possible!” You are right Angel, that is the best scenario, but it’s not always possible because of injuries and the rest that some players that play almost every day need to get. When you have the goal of winning the World Series, you know that that effort will require an additional 11 wins in October, and it’s impossible to reach that goal without your key players in good condition and that means giving them a break from time to time. Additionally, losing your leadoff hitter because of injury during the first week of the season has forced us to experiment with different things in order to get each player in a spot where they will be productive. It hasn’t been easy, but I am confident that we will have a set lineup soon.

Fernando Bosch, Rafael Castro and Sergio Villareal are just some of you that have asked about Jose Contreras. Honestly, I have to tip my cap to him for his professionalism. If before I respected him as a player because of his work ethic and enthusiasm, now I admire and respect him even more after the way he has handled the start of the season. Nobody thought that he would be ready before July or August, but he arrived in Arizona in great shape. Perhaps his rehab wasn’t complete and we rushed in getting him back in the starting rotation. It was his own idea to go down to the minors to work on his mechanics and that is admirable and worth my respect. Anyone else might have stayed at home enjoying his guaranteed money. Contreras went to Charlotte to work because he wants to come back and help his team. I am sure that will happen, too.

Cristóbal Silva reminds me that we need a consistent leadoff hitter that doesn’t get hurt. It’s true Cristobal, and if you know where to find one, let me know and we’ll pick him up tomorrow!

Juan Moreno asks how I am going to get the White Sox to play my style if we have a team of sluggers. This season we added some speed to the lineup with players like Dewayne Wise and Chris Getz to add to Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin in order to let make us more aggressive on the base paths. Also, Josh Fields will add youth and power. Up until now, the injuries and low production hasn’t let us be more aggressive, but I am confident that we will be able to add the youth to the power and experience of players like Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and score some runs.

Smery Cortez and Carmelo Salazar have asked if Freddy Garcia is in our plans. A healthy Freddy Garcia, without a doubt, can help us a lot; I know better than most of his talent and what his is capable of doing in big games. Unfortunately, Freddy hasn’t been able to get the effectiveness back in his pitches because of injuries to his shoulder. I know that he is working hard and, personally, I hope he can soon get back to form because we are also great friends. The ultimate decision of his signing, though, would be the responsibility of our GM, Kenny Williams.

I’d also like to respond to Martin Quintero, who says ‘he has heard’ that my son was signed by the White Sox without being a good player, because I forced the team to do it, and that because of that we didn’t sign better players.

Martin, if you believe everything you hear you will end up going crazy. First off, I can say, that despite my excellent relationship with Jerry Reinsdorf, I don’t have the power to impose my wishes on this organization. My job has nothing to do with signing players.

Oney Robert, the son you are referring to, was signed in the 36th round of the 2007 draft because there were people in this organization that thought he had enough talent to be a professional baseball player, and I assure you that he didn’t take anyone else’s spot. As a father, I supported him just like any father would. It wasn’t going to be me that squashed his aspirations of being a Major League Baseball player, especially for a person who has been surrounded his whole life by baseball and the Majors. He was born in January of 1986, a few weeks after I was awarded the 1985 American League Rookie of the Year Award. He decided this year to let go of his dreams of being a Major Leaguer, but his talents now are being put to work in an office job. I think his two years as a professional baseball player was a good experience and that it will help him grow as a person.

I would love to have unlimited time and space to keep answering questions, but there are way too many of them. A couple questions that don’t have anything directly to do with me will be addressed by someone in the White Sox organization. Paul LaReau asks if there are White Sox signs and photos available for him to decorate his high school classroom in Indiana, Mavel Zubia wants to know about White Sox training clinics, Francisco Eduardo Arvayo inquired about if we are planning on playing in Hermosillo, Mexico again.

Several of you also sent congratulations and good wishes which I have taken to heart. Keep writing, because I do my best to respond to all the questions. And again, thanks for your support.

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