Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.
Based on his major league performance last year, the last person I expected–and wanted–to see in a White Sox uniform in 2010 was Brent Lillibridge. Both at bat and in the field he looked overmatched in ’09 before being sent to Charlotte, where he spent most of the summer.
That said, Lillibridge’s revival this season has been remarkable. Since being promoted to the Sox after Mark Teahen was placed on the DL he has been a solid contributor, batting .387 as a spot starter and utility man off of the bench. Even more important than the average is the fact he has come up with a number of clutch hits–none more important than his three-run triple this afternoon against Gio Gonzalez and the A’s to pace Gavin Floyd and the South Siders to the 4-1 victory. With the Twins’ victory the Hose remain a half-game ahead of the Twins for the division lead.
So, with Teahen now in a rehab stint and pretty close to returning, what will happen to Lilli? The smart money is on the Sox postponing Teahen’s return as long as possible and when he comes back assigning Dayan Viciedo to Charlotte until the rosters expand September 1. Tank, as Hawk “in my 51 years in baseball” Harrelson calls him, has been impressive, but it would be difficult to demote Lillibridge based on what he’s done and the fact he can play both the infield and outfield.
After a day off tomorrow the White Sox head to Detroit for four games, including a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to make his Sox debut on Wednesday night.
Lillibridge’s triple drove in Ramon Castro, Carlos Quentin and Andrew Jones, pictured here showing their appreciation
It’s been a long time since A.J. Pierzynski and Johnny Damon were teammates at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, FL. Since then each has had an All-Star career capped off by a World Series ring (in Damon’s case, two). They’ve never played together in the major leagues, but that could change very soon with A.J. having a key role in making it happen.
In an effort to convince free agent Damon to sign with the Sox, Pierzynski and broadcaster Hawk Harrelson hit the links on Tuesday with their target presumably to sell him on the fact that joining the Sox would give him the best shot at a third ring. Another intriguing development is that Damon and his wife are looking for a more cosmopolitan city than Detroit, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.
Will the A.J./Hawk sales pitch work? There’s really no telling at this point. It has been reported that the Tigers have made offers of $7 million for one year, $14 million for two and the Sox are not budging from their original one-year $4 million offer. That’s only what’s been reported. We really can’t believe what agent Scott Boras says because leveraging is his middle name. And we know full well that Kenny Williams likes to work under the radar–with great success I might add.
With pitchers and catchers now reporting throughout Arizona and Florida, Damon will likely make a decision in the next few days. The only thing we know for sure is that the Sox are still in the running for what I believe would be a major piece in a championship puzzle.