Notes: Blum settles in with Sox
Utility man ready to contribute in Chicago pennant race
BALTIMORE -- Geoff Blum's scheduled debut with the White Sox during Monday's series finale at Camden Yards was pushed back at least one day due to a crazy travel schedule, even for a professional baseball player.Blum, acquired form the Padres on Sunday afternoon for Minor League left-hander Ryan Meaux, took the red-eye from the West Coast to Baltimore, but first had to travel from San Diego to Los Angeles just to fly out. He arrived on the East Coast early on Monday morning and was at the park by 8:30 a.m. ET. But Ozzie Guillen didn't want Blum to sleepwalk through his return to the American League and gave him a day to get acclimated to his new teammates. Of course, Blum is used to sleep deprivation, with four daughters under the age of 2, including 3-month old triplets. "He said that his wife is mad at him because now he's going to get some sleep," said Guillen with a laugh of Blum's arrival. "I said, 'Well, when you have three guys with one shot, you better start playing better.' That's a lot of child support right there." "That's another thing about playing for Ozzie," Blum added. "He has played the game and he knows how tough it is sometimes to travel and how hard being traded from coast to coast can be. Maybe he's just taking it easy on me." The easy times will end shortly for Blum. Guillen reiterated on Monday morning that he can't guarantee where Blum will play or how regularly he will play, but he's going to get plenty of at-bats. Guillen and general manager Ken Williams wanted Blum for his versatility, basically occupying two utility roles with one player, as the switch-hitter can play all four infield spots and both corner outfield positions. Blum embraces that jack-of-all-trades moniker, pointing out that he carries around six or seven different gloves just to be ready. "Knowing Ozzie's personality and how he was as a player and how aggressive he is at the game, I anticipated that," Blum said. "I'm more than happy to do anything they ask of me." There was no indication that a trade was imminent, according to Blum, as Sunday afternoon's non-waiver deadline gradually approached. But after Saturday night's game, he got the tap on the shoulder to talk with general manager Kevin Towers. Familiarity exists for Blum with the White Sox, having played with Chris Widger, Dustin Hermanson and third-base coach Tim Raines in Montreal, and having played for Guillen as the Expos' third-base coach. He also knows a little of what this team is about, having witnessed the South Siders take two of three from the Padres during Interleague Play at PETCO Park in June. That series, according to Blum, could have been the beginning of the Padres' recent demise. But the Padres aren't Blum's concern anymore. Now, he's prepared to help a team with its sights set on the World Series, once he gets a little rest. "It has been an adventure, but it has been a good one," Blum said. "It's not every day you get traded to a first-place, contending team. I'm just hoping to come over and contribute and not screw things up too much." Moving on: The White Sox announced that they requested waivers on right-handed pitcher Shingo Takatsu for the purpose of granting his unconditional release on Monday afternoon. The first Japanese import to suit up at the Major League level for the South Siders had been designated for assignment on July 18 and then assigned to Triple-A Charlotte after the 10-day period had elapsed without him being traded. Takatsu had a 1-2 record and 5.97 earned run average in 31 games this season, after finishing second in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2004. Guillen followed his usual policy of not talking about players who aren't on his active roster, when asked about the end of the team's relationship with the sidearming right-hander. "Right now, I just keep thinking about this team," Guillen said. "Whatever happened in the Minors I can't control that. Our baseball people work on it. It's hard to believe he did so well last year and is now in that situation." Starting over: When Jon Adkins was one of the last players cut out of Spring Training, the right-hander had to deal with the difficulty of temporarily leaving the Majors and moving back into the starting rotation for Charlotte. Adkins handled both adjustments, although it understandably took him a little time. "Here lately, I've been throwing the ball fairly well, so I feel pretty good," said Adkins, who was called up Sunday to the White Sox, giving the staff 12 pitchers. "But it took me four or five starts to get in a little groove there.
"You've got to get yourself up, pick yourself up again," added Adkins, on being sent down from Arizona. "But the biggest transition was being a starter again."Adkins, who turns 28 at the end of August, appeared in 50 games for the White Sox during his rookie campaign of 2004, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.65 ERA. He has been closely watching his friends and former teammates find great success in 2005 but also watched the movement at the trade deadline, waiting to see if Williams acquired a reliever. When that trade wasn't made, Adkins knew he had a chance to return to the Majors. Guillen expressed uncertainty as to how long the team would keep 12 pitchers, but his desire is to take the team's pitching strength and make it even stronger. "Our game is pitching. I'm not going to break the bullets my pitchers have with no reason," Guillen said. "I want to rest my pitching staff the most I can. It's most important thing for us down the stretch. Have them rest, use them the right way and don't try to overuse anyone." Break in the action: Prior to Monday afternoon's contest, Guillen joked that Timo Perez was going to ask for more money with his second straight start against the Orioles. Guillen said that nothing was wrong with Scott Podsednik, who Perez replaced in both starts, aside from a little fatigue and soreness in his legs. "I have to protect his legs because that's his game," said Guillen of Podsednik. "One more day isn't going to kill him, and he will be ready tomorrow." Guillen had thoughts of hitting Tadahito Iguchi in the leadoff position for Sunday night's game, as opposed to Perez, but didn't want to move one of the more skillful second hitters in the game out of his comfort zone. Iguchi, who received a scheduled day off Monday, said his hip felt fine after being hit by a pitch Sunday. Down on the farm: Jerry Owens knocked out three hits and picked up his 30th stolen base during Double-A Birmingham's 8-2 loss at Chattanooga on Sunday. Owens is batting .398 in his last 22 games, with two doubles, five RBIs, nine stolen bases and 21 runs scored. ... Micah Schnurstein launched his 14th home run and drove in his 55th run of the season, but Class A Winston-Salem fell short in a 6-4 setback at Potomac. Robert Valido added two hits, two stolen bases, giving him 36, and scored his 65th run. Coming soon: Jon Garland takes the mound to open the White Sox's six-game homestand on Tuesday night against Toronto. The right-hander makes his 11th start at home and carries an 8-2 record with a 2.92 ERA this season at U.S. Cellular Field. Garland is tied with St. Louis' Chris Carpenter for the most wins in the Majors at 15.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.