Notes: GM Williams focuses on friend
Williams shows concern for manager Guillen over remarks
CHICAGO -- Kenny Williams spent the early part of this week watching Lance Broadway pitch and watching Chris Getz and Ricardo Nanita hit for Double-A Birmingham. But his trip was cut a bit short due to a few matters he had to attend to in regard to his manager back in Chicago.
The White Sox general manager did not go into great detail Friday concerning his feelings on Ozzie Guillen's diatribe against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti or the resulting fine and order for sensitivity training handed down by Commissioner Bud Selig. Williams had already shared his feelings with Guillen and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, adding that the story had "already run its course."
Williams' concern for Guillen focused more on their bond as friends then their work relationship.
"I'm not one to try to change who a person is - you are who you are," Williams said. "What I get concerned with more than anything is that my friend, my brother, going down a road that does not necessarily lend itself to longevity.
"We've all seen how the movie ends when things are flamed to the degree they are beginning to flame when he says things that are controversial. So it is more about protecting my friend and being supportive in that way. He realizes it."
While Williams expressed concern for Guillen, he also did not show any outward signs of worry regarding another possible Guillen misstep. There's always the anticipation of excitement when the outspoken and gregarious Guillen steps before a microphone, but Williams also feels it will be a more careful Guillen speaking in the future.
"Believe me, I didn't really have to discuss anything with him in depth because of the remorse he showed me," Williams said. "Obviously [it was] not toward the target of his criticism but his choice of language and the repeat of the choice of language.
"He's a guy that I'll walk through a wall for, and a lot of his friends will say the same thing. He's got a good heart and we know it. We'll just have to curtail some of the language as a whole. He knows that. We've discussed it, and we'll leave it at that."
Taking one for the team? Along with addressing a number of baseball-related issues, Williams tackled the hot-button topic of White Sox hit batsmen. Since the beginning of the 2004 season, White Sox players have been hit by a pitch 173 times, ranking third in the American League. White Sox pitchers have nailed the opposition 125 times, third-fewest in the A.L.
The biggest issue for Guillen and the White Sox have been the warnings issued by the umpires after the South Siders have been hit, preventing any sort of retaliation without ejections, suspensions or fines involved. Williams originally declined to share his feelings, but gradually opened up about the controversy.
"I am so disheartened by how we've been treated with regards to the warnings issued, with regards to the suspensions, with regards to our overall treatment that has been handed down by the umpiring and the representatives who control that through the Commissioner's office," Williams said. "It's very disappointing, very disappointing.
"It does no good to try to address it even more. I've addressed it until I'm blue in the face and it has not done any good. It's us against the opposing team and, evidently, some other forces."
Relief on the way: Cliff Politte's chance to work a second straight game against Norfolk for Triple-A Charlotte Friday was washed away by rain. Politte started Thursday's contest, allowing one hit and striking out two over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Williams and Guillen are both optimistic concerning Politte's positive contributions in a set-up role once he returns from his injury rehab assignment next week. And in the on-going saga involving Dustin Hermanson's balky back, Williams put out a glimmer of hope on Friday.
Hermanson is back throwing again at Catawba College in North Carolina, continuing extended Spring Training. The right-hander, who saved 34 for the White Sox in 2005, told Williams he's going to be back some time in July.
"When I asked him whether he was taking his wife down to Charlotte with him for his rehab and he said, 'No, she's just going to meet me in Chicago,'" said Williams of Hermanson. "So, he's fully intent on getting back and helping the ballclub.
"Fortunately, we'll be in a position by the time he does get back here where there's another quality guy. He won't necessarily have to assume late inning bullpen duties. He can be at the front of the bullpen and I think that's a pretty good luxury."
Hermanson still has to prove his recovery during game situations, where the right-hander found problems during Spring Training.
Peaceful existence: Any issues from the past week involving Guillen and Houston manager Phil Garner appear to have been settled. In fact, Garner brought two pictures to Chicago from his office in Houston -- one of him hugging Guillen before a World Series game and another of Garner shaking Guillen's hand. Guillen laughed when told of the look of Garner's office.
"I respect Garner as a man and a manager," Guillen said. "He's done a lot of good things for baseball. He's a hard-nosed man.
"He told me I need help, and I already got help," added Guillen with a smile. "The Commissioner told me to get help, and I listen to him a little more."
Remember when? The last memory of the Houston Astros for closer Bobby Jenks was retiring pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro to close out a four-game World Series sweep at Minute Maid Park. Jenks joked Friday that he doesn't like the frequently viewed and downloaded photo of the celebration following the final out because it doesn't look as if the big right-hander got off the ground with his leap of joy.
But as far as baseball comparisons are concerned, Jenks is a different pitcher than the one who shut down the Astros in October.
"I didn't use my curve in the World Series," said Jenks, who has 21 saves and a 2.84 earned run average. "I mixed in something different this year, a curve with my fastball and slider. It makes me more effective."
Down on the farm: Charlie Haeger allowed four hits and one run over 7 1/3 innings in relief of Politte, striking out seven, as Charlotte cruised to a 5-1 victory over Norfolk. Haeger raised his record to 8-1 and was assisted by two hits apiece from Josh Fields and Angel Gonzalez ... Tyler Lumsden threw eight scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.95, but did not factor in Birmingham's 3-2 victory over Tennessee. Getz launched his second home run in the win ... Chris Carter had two hits, including his second home run in three games, during Great Falls' 5-3 victory at Billings.
Up next: It will be tough for Jon Garland (6-3, 5.58) to top his last start Sunday at the Great American Ball Park. Not only did the right-hander allow just one run over eight innings at the hitter-friendly venue, but he also launched his first career home run. Garland will not be hitting against Houston's Tyler Buchholz (4-6, 5.82) Saturday at 12:20 p.m. CT.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.