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White Sox stumbling into May

White Sox stumbling into May

White Sox stumbling into May
April 30th, 2007

(Sports Network) - With the season's first month coming to a close, the Chicago White Sox are still left pondering exactly what type of ball club they've got this season.

Sure, the team has little trouble disposing of lesser teams like the Kansas City Royals, who were just swept out of their own building in a two-game set with Chicago last Monday and Tuesday. But the White Sox followed that up with a loss to the Detroit Tigers, and then consecutive losses to the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels over the weekend.

"Obviously, this team can play a lot better," said center fielder Darin Erstad after Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Angels. "But we didn't dig ourselves a huge hole, and when you are not playing well, you need to (not) do that."

In Saturday's game against Anaheim, Chicago fell behind 3-0 after two innings, and the White Sox offense was blanked the rest of the way, managing only eight hits off of Jered Weaver and the rest of the Angels pitching staff.

Erstad has done his part, as he was able to pick up another two hits on Sunday against his former squad, extending his hit streak to seven games. Mark Buehrle took the loss Sunday, getting charged with three runs off nine hits in six innings of work. Other than a two-run third inning for Chicago, the White Sox offense provided virtually no threat, coming up with only four hits on the afternoon. It certainly was not the kind of performance manager Ozzie Guillen was hoping for one day after his team was shutout.

Chicago's early-season problems are quite simple for the most part -- the team is simply not hitting. The lineup is stock full of proven hitters in the big leagues, but few are getting the job done right now. Chicago is dead-last in the majors with a team batting average of just .225. The only players on the team hitting better than .300 are Jim Thome and Scott Podsednik, but both are on the shelf with injuries.

"Right now, we don't have anybody just getting hot at the same time," Guillen said after Saturday's 3-0 loss. "We don't have anyone really on fire."

First baseman Paul Konerko was similarly matter-of-fact about the team's early struggles, but he is not ready to hit the panic button just yet.

"There's a team out there hot right now, and they will have a bad August or September," Konerko said. "What are you going to do? (Bad) April, that's the way it is."


The White Sox placed designated hitter Jim Thome on the disabled list with a strained rib cage on Sunday. In his place, the team called up Ryan Sweeney from Triple-A Charlotte to fill out the roster.

Thome will shut it down and rest his ribs, then return to action possibly in a couple weeks.

"Rest is the main thing," said Thome. "You can't keep aggravating it, so there's nothing, really, you can do. It's frustrating, because I do so much work to try and prevent that, you know. Sometimes you're dealt the hand that you're dealt. You just have to stay positive, move on and do what you have to do to come back."


It appears the Brian Anderson experiment has officially come to an end. The outfielder was sent packing to Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday after receiving only 17 at-bats (two hits) this April.

Originally thought of as a possible successor to Aaron Rowand after the Thome trade, Anderson struggled last season with a .225 batting average. And obviously, he wasn't getting much work this season. The plan is to find more at-bats down in Charlotte for the team's first-round pick of the 2003 First- Year Player Draft.

"I keep saying it's not easy for him or us to sit there," Guillen said. "It's not easy to go out as a player and read about yourself, or when you come to the ballpark you don't know if your uniform is still hanging in your locker.

"We sent him down because we need him to get back to what he was. This guy had a tough two years, but he needs to fight for a new way to play."


Tough to pencil in anyone here, but Erstad is tops on the list with his seven- game hitting streak.


The entire offense. Also, Jose Contreras (2-2, 5.68) has looked nothing like the pitcher he did during the first half of last season, when he was making a case for Cy Young Award consideration.


The team is off Monday, followed by a two-game set at Seattle, then another off day Thursday before a weekend series with the Angels. It will be Javier Vazquez (2-0, 3.75) versus Jarrod Washburn (1-2, 2.96) on Tuesday, and John Danks (0-3, 5.32) versus Miguel Batista (2-2, 7.54) on Wednesday.

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