Texas Rangers sign A.J. Pierzynski away from White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox are hoping that Tyler Flowers hits better than .100 next season, because he’s the new full time catcher on the south side. A.J. Pierzynski is off to the Texas Rangers, for a one year deal, pending the physical. His remarkable eight-year run with the White Sox is now over. When Opening Day comes next April, Paul Konerko will be the last remaining player from the 2005 World Series team still with the White Sox.

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Top 5 Chicago Sportscaster moments of 2012 (Video)

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It was an extremely eventful year for Chicago sportscasters. Jim Deshaies replaced Bob Brenly in the booth for Cubs broadcasts after Brenly left to take the Arizona Diamondbacks job.

Sarah Kustok left Comcast Sports Net Chicago for Yes Network. She was replaced by Susanna Collins. White Sox colorman Hawk Harrelson continued to be an intolerable abomination to broadcasting.

What follows is a list of 5 memorable moments that involved all these tv personalities.

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White Sox GM Rick Hahn discusses the club’s direction

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New White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn was very busy on Thursday. He did an interview on The Score, Chicago Tribune Live, and this conference call with us White Sox bloggers. It was all about getting the message out. He’s also been busy with transactions- re-signing Jake Peavy to a two year, $29 million dollar deal, and re-upping on Gavin Floyd.

I still question the Peavy move, with his injury history…anyways, Hahn has been very busy since taking over for Kenny Williams, one of the most successful GMs in Sox history. People are of course interested in the moves he hasn’t made yet- third base and catcher. And yes, those questions came up in conference call.

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White Sox Fans Need to Show Up or Shut Up for Tigers Series

Let’s be honest White Sox fans, despite our place in the standings, the Detroit Tigers have owned the Chicago White Sox this year in every sense of the word.  The Tigers have swept the Sox in back-to-back series, crushed us in home attendance and since the beginning of the season have received all of the attention, praise and post season backing from media outside of Chicago.  According to most fans, the White Sox are done and their upcoming series at U.S. Cellular Field will be the unofficial proclamation of death for our season.  Judging by the White Sox attendance the last two home stands, White Sox fans seem to agree.  Heck, if attendance were reflective of a fan base belief in a team, even the Chicago Cubs would have a better shot at the post season this year.

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White Sox A.J. Pierzynski PED Suspension Rumors

Rumors began to swirl on Chicago talk radio and in social media yesterday, that Chicago White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and would begin serving a 50-game suspension immediately, essentially being lost for the season.  With the White Sox clinging to a one-game lead over the Detroit Tigers, losing the veteran catcher for the season would be disastrous.

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White Sox Pierzynski gives Sarah Kustok cream pie sendoff

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Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski gave Sarah Kustok from Comcast Sports Net a proper send-off last night. In the middle of her doing her final interview for the station (Sox outfielder Alex Rios) Kustok got a cream pie to the face from the Sox most controversial player.

It was an exciting follow up to an 8-6 White Sox win over the L.A. Angels in 10 innings. Sarah Kustok got a new job out of market, which has not officially been announced yet.

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White Sox Marketing VP Brooks Boyer Creates Fireworks

The Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Brooks Boyer recently shared his opinions on the upcoming 2012 White Sox season, from the perspective of the fan experience.  What marketing fireworks might he be creating for the team in 2012?

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White Sox A.J. Pierzynski Could Require Surgery; Be Out for the Season

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Prior to last night’s thrilling extra inning walk-off win  vs. the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox placed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to August 13) with a fractured left wrist and purchased the contract of catcher Donny Lucy from Class AAA Charlotte.

Pierzynski, 34, suffered the injury on Friday vs. Kansas City when he was hit by a Bruce Chen pitch in the third inning.  He is batting .296 (110-371) with six home runs and 39 RBI in 105 games played this season, including a .326 (85-261) average in his last 74 contests.  Pierzynski had 11 hits in his last 18 at-bats prior to the injury.

This is the first significant time A.J. will miss in his career. Which is an amazing fact when you consider he plays catcher, and you know how much of a toll that has on the body. [Read more…]

Hold the Cheese: A Sox-Brewers Exchange

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By Soxman and Melissa S. Wollering

You have to reach back to years of California’s rolling blackouts, Mad Cow disease media-hype and the release of the very first Apple’s IPod for the last time the Chicago White Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers.  2001 was remarkable.  Fast-forward to 2009, as Soxman and Melissa cheese it up about the latest meeting between the two teams, sure to be as memorable as the smell of limburger left in a vehicle at 90 degrees for 8 hours.

(SM)  Nope, I’m not going to do it.  There will be absolutely no gloating by this White Sox super fan regarding our series sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Why?  Well, I have two reasons.  One: our victories actually helped the Cubs in the standings.  Two: the Brewers are my second favorite team in the National League.  Yes, for Soxman, there are other teams in baseball beyond the boys who protect the diamond at 35th and Shields.

The Brewers franchise is the little engine that could.  The small market team, built from home-grown prospects and complemented, not defined by free agents. I love their park and their fans, so you will not hear me “drop a beat down” on this team.

That said, to quote the 70’s sensation Meatloaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”  Any thoughts you would like to share overall on the competitive series that took place at Miller Park this weekend?

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(MW)  First off, I count a sweep as taking three of three.  Brewers won on Friday 7-2, so let’s say you ‘won the series’.  Your pitchers got it done when ours didn’t, your hardwood performance made our players appear to be using toothpicks, Pierzynski was ‘one to watch’ even though Paul M. Banks thought I was nuts for saying so last week.  To top it all off, you robbed Trevor Hoffman of a perfect ERA.  Robbing Hoffy made me feel as though the Sox had cursed death upon my future first-born child.  It left me that empty.

(SM) Okay, let’s look at each game in a little more detail.  The first game to me was not a loss by the White Sox as much as it was a loss to Ozzie Guillen.  He pulled Clayton Richard after pitching five solid innings and only giving up one earned run.  It  was also the start of a great series (and hopefully a hot streak) for Corey Hart.  A double, a triple, and 3 RBIs.  Our bullpen, which had been pretty automatic, gave up six earned runs.  For a final thought, where in the heck did former Cub, Casey McGehee come from?

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(MW) He came from Cubbie purgatory where if you vow to contribute to the Milwaukee Brewers after a life with the Cubs, then you reach heaven after your career is finished. Amen, brother! He got the leadoff spot in Sunday’s lineup and contributed to that game, too, before it took a Turnbow nosedive.

I also love pitchers that can get it done on both offense and defense. On Friday, Suppan retired the side in just 7 pitches in the 2nd inning. Then he stepped up to the plate in the 3rd and advanced Kendall to second with a nice Sac.   Richard doubled for his first major-league hit in the 5th, too. Ozzie pulled him for that error in the following inning, which I agree, wasn’t completely necessary. Still, Suppan and Richard impressed overall.

(SM) Game II.  Let’s just say your premonition regarding Manny Parra in last weeks exchange with Paul M. Banks was spot on.  Six earned runs in an inning and two-thirds pitched.  What is wrong with this guy?  With an ERA over seven, perhaps he’ll follow his opponent’s lead and figure everything out in the minors?  Did I mention that Jose Contreras appears to be back?  Eight innings of two-hit ball.  Bottom line, that was the story of this game.  Care to offer your perspective?

(MW) If you care to sweep Manny Parra’s glove and uniform under Miller Park’s bleachers, douse them with lighter fluid and start tailgating around them with a couple of Usinger’s famous bratwursts, then by all means SWEEP away. Let’s just say I awoke Sunday extremely unsurprised that he was sent down to AAA Nashville. 

What cracked me up though is that Macha is so disgusted, he currently does not give a rat’s rear-end about trying to replace him. We brought up the reliever Chris Narveson and will use Seth McClung to start if need be.  However, the next 8 games include two off days, so a 4-man rotation works until June 27th. Attanasio is probably doing some Father’s Day shopping in the starting pitching department, aisle better than a 7.52 ERA? You had to know this was coming.  It’s not IF, it’s WHEN with the Milwaukee Brewers and their pitching woes.

Contreras impressed with the number of innings pitched, copious amounts of strikeouts and no signs of returning ailments. That is a trifecta to me because those Achilles can take some time. Hey, come to think of it you know, we could use a starting pitcher…

(SM) Well, if we are going to tailgate, I’d prefer Johnsonville beer brats.  The series finale was like bizarro baseball world in my opinion.  Jim Thome attempts to bunt, Mark Buehrle homers and Trevor Hoffman gives up his first run of the season.  Corey Hart brought us back to reality by belting two homers and Casey McGehee appeared to be playing with Cubs ire as he went 3 for 4, falling a triple short of the cycle.  Thoughts ?

(MW) Hart does well in June, it’s his month.  It is the month of the harvest, when his ‘International Harvester’ as a batting song actually makes sense for 30 days.  JJ Hardy looked absolutely dismal.  He got shoved down the batting order to eighth on Monday as a direct result. He is something like 1 for 32 right now in at-bats.

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Buehrle surprised with his bat and I enjoyed watching White Sox fans cheer in utter shock!  I cheered with them.  Heck, who cares?  It was exciting. Looper didn’t deserve any cheering whatsoever, so…. 

Also, let’s describe how Melissa watched the 0.00 ERA on the gigantic wrap scoreboard flicker at status quo for the last time in Brewers history for Hoffman.  Let’s pause 30 seconds for silence.  Now let’s never speak of it again. I heard he was .8 innings away from making club history.  I said let’s never speak of it again! This is me, writing to myself in my alter ego.

(SM)  I actually did a Sox Exchange once with my alter ego Bruce Wayne Parker, so I know how these things go.  It will get better.  Earlier this season, I scouted the Brewers farm system, taking in Nashville Sounds game.  All the buzz surrounded super-prospect Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar, yet most of the return on investment thus far seems to be coming from McGehee, who only hit .167 with the Cubs last year despite driving in 92 runs for AAA Iowa.  Former Brewer Scotty Podsednik has been that guy for us.  Left for dead by the Colorado Rockies, Pods was out of work until mid-April when the Sox took a chance on him.  The 2005 World Series hero has made the  most of his second chance with Sox, posting a .360 OBP, and hitting .311, 1 HR, 13 RBI, and 8 SB.  The Brewers and Sox both have a history of getting the most out of frugal signings.  Do you think its that Midwest mentality or dumb luck ?

(MW) It’s karma…we lose people like Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins who go on to semi-resurrect their careers with other organizations.  But we also give away people like Scott Linebrink to the White Sox and watch him implode on himself, like he did Saturday. 

You win some, you lose some.  So, somewhere smack in the middle of Midwest mentality and sheer dumb luck. That dances around your question like a circus performer on hot coals. Sorry, Soxman. But I agree, kudos to the Sox for picking up Scotty Po Po.  I cheered for him this weekend and I was in the vast majority!  You would have been proud of my Milwaukee Brethren.

(SM)  Finally, lets play Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox (and Brewers) and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball… 

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White Sox pitching was good for Corey Hart.
 

(SM) Maybe, He was in a 2 for 23 slump on Wednesday, looks like Ryan Braun against the Sox. 

 

(MW) Mirage, it had nothing to do with the pitching. In June 2007, Hart batted .336 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs from the leadoff spot. June of ’08 was decent, too.

 Jose Contreras is back.
 

(SM) Maybe, 2 starts, 16 IP, zero ER, and three hits allowed.  Enough said. 

(MW) Maybe, watch his health, keep stretching that achilles and I don’t see why not.

The Brewers will be buyers at the trade deadline.

(SM) Maybe, they need another solid starting pitcher and perhaps a hitter hat can get on base. 

(MW)  Strong Maybe if not Definitely. For the first time in years, more MLB teams are looking to trade for bats. It may give us an advantage when seeking pitchers. Starting pitcher = happening for us.

 The Sox will be buyers at the trade deadline.

 (SM) Mirage, who are they going to give up on?  Sellers are a possibility. 

(MW:) Mirage, they’ll be selling to teams like the Brewers and salvaging the future. My sincere apologies, but…

The Brewers and the Sox will meet in the 2009 World Series.
 

(SM) Mirage.  Not unless we start scoring more runs. 

(MW)  I like your thinking!  But probably not, so mirage it is. Bless what we have in common until then–our hatred for the Cubs!

(SM) Great exchange Melissa!  Good luck to you guys down the stretch.

White Sox Can’t Buy a Run

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By Randy Satovitz

The last time the White Sox had a worse scoring pace than this year was 1986 when they scored 3.98 runs per game.  The Sox are scoring 4.15 runs per game which is good for 12th in the American League.   They were shutout in three games last week (2 vs. Oak, 1 vs. Cle).  Ironically, the Sox play at one of the best hitter friendly ballparks and are doing exactly what they have been doing for years- hitting the long ball.  The power numbers have never been a problem for the Sox, but getting a large number of runs across the plate certainly has been.  Carlos Quentin should be back by the end of the week, but that will not necessarily help the Sox score runs.

Of course there will be more home runs, but if Podsednik can’t handle center field, the outfield will be jammed up.  As much as I disliked Podsednik coming back to the Sox, he has become one of the lone bright spots in the lineup.  He is getting on base and becoming the great leadoff hitter he once was back in 2005 when he finished 12th in the MVP voting.
The pitching has not been as bad as it could be with a possible six-man rotation going on.  The Sox even decided to let Ozzie’s brother-in-law Freddy Garcia come back and give pitching one last try.  It seems the Sox give a lot of players second and third chances- even when their first chance was not too spectacular.  The hitting will come around, but scoring enough runs will still be a question mark.  The Sox walked 12 times Tue night and should have scored many more runs than they did.  When Ozzie Guillen came to the White Sox, he had them play a special style Sox fans called, ‘Ozzieball.’

Ozzieball was a way to generate runs by advancing players base by base as part of the run manufacturing process.   Some of called it “smartball” because it’s built around taking advantage of little situations and mistakes made by your opponent. (Recall the Tony Grafaninno error in the ’05 ALDS? A.J.’s base-running adventure and the dropped third strike in the ’05 ALCS?)

Basically, it’s ‘smallball,’ but since Ozzie is in charge, you might as well give him credit in the name. You don’t want him to curse at you, do you? Anyways, this idea flew out the window a couple of years ago and the Sox have never been the same team. And nowhere near as successful.  ozziescorebaord
The Sox need to score runs like they used to and get some wins on the board.  Sounds easier said than done, but if Ozzieball returns, watch out.  I don’t know how many times Ozzie has to lash out at his team and tell them to play better baseball.  Things aren’t clicking until the Sox start stealing more bases and laying down more bunts.  Even if it’s Jim Thome who’s trying to lay down that bunt for a base hit; because with the Thome shift, the third baseman is practically in the outfield almost every time.  Somebody is going to have to step up their game and focus on the team instead of padding their stats.  Once one person starts it, the others will follow in line.

The question is who?