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In his first plate appearance against his former team on Monday night, Scott Podsednik singled off Mark Buehrle.
And then Buehrle picked him off. Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone remarked how they had seen that before. Stone did the same when Podsednik ran an indirect route on Alejandro De Aza’s fly to deep center, resulting in a triple that would score the Sox’s only run.
As much respect as I have for Podsednik, it’s nice seeing that take place in another uniform.
Ozzie Guillen may have enjoyed the change of pace, too. Joe Cowley tweeted that Guillen yelled to the Royals’ first base coach, “‘(Pods) will get you fired!'”
C.J. Retherford has long been a favorite of Harrelson. At the end of the weekend, he played his way onto Guillen’s radar screen as well:
”I love him,” Guillen said. ”So far, what we ask him to do in spring training, he does — move the guy over, get big hits for us, he does. He’s a sleeper, but he has started waking people up.”
He was 2-for-2 in moving runners from second to third on Saturday. And while Retherford was doing everything asked of him, Nix hadn’t been fulfilling Guillen’s chief objective — striking out less.
Nix was 6-for-17, but that includes a .667 BABIP thanks to eight strikeouts. He finished September striking out 20 times over 55 plate appearances, so it’s not great to see him struggling even more so in hitter-friendly conditions.
Retherford’s season in the sun may be short lived after Monday night, however. He booted a grounder that should have ended the inning, and then didn’t communicate well enough with Stefan Gartrell — who played behind him most of the year in Birmingham — on a flyball that fell between them.
Then again, Nix, playing short, botched a routine throw to first in what turned out to be a comedy of errors.
My guess is that Nix will probably make the club at the end of the spring, with Brent Lillibridge and Retherford serving at Charlotte’s keystone combination. Nix has no options remaining, and Lillibridge and Retherford offer no discernable upgrade at this point. Still, it’d be nice to see him attempt to respond to Guillen’s challenge.
Cactus League business update:
*Monday night’s attendance: 5,216. Whether that’s a good or bad number depends on how you approach it.
Night dates were one of the ways Jerry Reinsdorf figured on boosting the lackluster attendance at Camelback Ranch, and it looks like it worked. That number, while not particularly impressive, is nearly 1,000 more than the Sox have drawn against any opponent that isn’t the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Royals aren’t any more popular than the other three opponents the Sox have hosted at Glendale (Mariners, Indians, Brewers), so it has to be considered a success.
On the other hand, the Sox are averaging 4,872 a game so far, even including the Dodgers. That’s worth noting, because as of now, they are drawing fewer fans than the non-Dodgers attendance of 4,949 last year.
Unfortunately, Reinsdorf will probably pin the poor showing on the weather, which did cost the Sox a money-printing home game against the Cubs. That game should be largely immaterial at the end of the spring, though. The, um, unique rainout policy at Camelback Ranch allows the Sox to keep the money, and the Sox only hosted their crosstown rivals one time last year, allowing for an easier comparison.
*A Tucson Citizen opiner-ed sounds a little like a jilted lover with parting shots to Major League Baseball:
Don’t expect any tears. We’re sad about the end of tradition and the loss of revenue, but not about the maltreatment the past few years as you tried to extort from us glitzy new stadiums that your billionaire owners didn’t want to pay for themselves.
In fact, you may have done us a huge favor. Now, rather than argue about whether to tax ourselves so that we can fight stadium wars with Phoenix, we’ve been given a couple of huge blank slates, fields actually, upon which we can create new traditions and revenues.
I hope he’s right, but it’s still sad. We had some great times in Tucson.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Sergio Santos will be given every opportunity to make the club, says Guillen.
*Bobby Jenks says his calf didn’t bother him during two simulated innings on Monday.
*An MLB.com article focuses on the White Sox’s cumulative UZR. Guillen elaborated on his line about Wilson Betemit:
“We were so bad defensively that I had the [designated hitter] making errors,” Guillen joked. “He would foul the ball off, pick it up, try to throw it back to the umpire and the ball would end up in the stands. That’s an error.”
*Charles Leesman, who had a couple defensive issues of his own against Kansas City (including a Contrerasesque reaction time for covering first), is developing a cutter.