Notes: Logan showing he belongs
Young left-handed reliever relying on newfound maturity
CHICAGO -- The 2.84 ERA posted by Boone Logan over his first six appearances since being called up on April 17 serves as early proof positive that the young left-handed reliever belongs in the Major Leagues.
But it's the psychological and emotional adjustments still being carried out by the 22-year-old that will truly give him staying power at the big-league level. It's a change of maturity Logan implemented back in Spring Training, after working through a whirlwind rookie campaign that featured its share of highs and then chasm-like lows.
"I know what to expect now and I know my role," said Logan, who basically was the last player cut by the White Sox out of Tucson. "Overall, I know how to go about my business.
"It helps me out when I'm on the mound and throwing. All the little things are falling into place, and I'm more comfortable. I'm having a good time, and I'm more relaxed and I'm more focused."
Logan described himself as "too geeked up" for much of the 2006 season, when he went from an unknown Rookie ball pitcher on the back fields at the Kino Sports Complex to the Major Leagues in the matter of one month. He had that same sort of feeling last Sunday in extra innings against Detroit, when he gave up the game-winning hit to the Tigers.
Self-control and relaxation have been Logan's mantras, while his control within the strike zone stands as the intangible making the most lasting impressing on manager Ozzie Guillen.
"If you come out of the bullpen and throw strikes, you will be part of this ballclub for a long time," Guillen said. "Boone has done that. I have confidence to bring him in tough situations."
"For me, it's one pitch at a time, and I'm getting there," Logan added.
Roster permutations eventually will play a role in Logan's stay, with Guillen having to decide if he wants to stick with his current 12 pitchers once Scott Podsednik and Jim Thome are healthy. Logan refuses to think about anything past the game at hand.
A possible Minor League return bothered Logan so much during his White Sox stint in 2006 that he started taking it with him to the mound, and he let it affect his effort. And therein lies the biggest change.
Logan is basically the same pitcher, with possibly another mph or two on his fastball. He just feels as though he belongs.
"Last year was a learning process, and to be honest, it really wasn't me," he said. "That was more a childish version of who I am. What you all have been seeing since the beginning of spring until now is who I really am."
True colors: During the 2006 World Series, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver was photographed at Busch Stadium wearing full Cardinals regalia in support of his brother, Jeff. Yet, Weaver pretty much received a free pass from criticism because of the family relation, whereas White Sox hurler Mark Buehrle was chastised for a picture on a random blog showing him wearing a Cardinals hat in support of his hometown team.
Weaver admitted that he heard from a few people during Spring Training about his wardrobe, although he claimed to be unprepared for the cold weather as a California boy and simply was looking for something that had long sleeves. He also didn't understand the uproar over Buehrle's support for his childhood favorite.
"It's like me, I was a Dodgers fan growing up," said Weaver, who picked up the victory against the White Sox on Saturday night. "If they were in the playoffs and I wasn't, I wouldn't be ashamed to sport a Dodgers hat. I grew up watching them in the '80s and '90s, and Buehrle is in the same situation with the Cardinals."
Delayed arrival: The best-laid travel plans for Ryan Sweeney went a bit astray on Sunday morning, bringing the 22-year-old to U.S. Cellular Field approximately two hours before game time.
Sweeney found out about his promotion just minutes before the first pitch of Triple-A Charlotte's game in Durham on Saturday night and immediately took a flight back to Charlotte. He left for Chicago at 7 a.m. on Sunday, but the flight was delayed one hour, then he couldn't find his checked baggage because he was sent to the wrong luggage carousel.
"I thought he was here last night," said Guillen with a laugh. "That's why he was in the lineup."
"Right now, I'm going every which way," added Sweeney, who started in left field and hit ninth. "I'm just trying to stay relaxed."
In memory: Prior to the start of Sunday's series finale with the Angels, a moment of silence was observed for St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock, who was killed in an auto accident on westbound Highway 64/40 within the city limits on Sunday morning. Hancock's picture was shown on the Jumbotron in center field.
"When you wake up in the morning and one of your players is missing, it's not easy to recover," Guillen said. "No matter who dies in baseball or the way he dies, he's a kid, twentysomething years old, and it shows you something. You are not invincible.
"I told my kids and my players, 'Enjoy your life and what you are doing, because you never know what is going to happen next.' I feel for the family of the kid, and I feel for everyone in baseball. I feel for Tony La Russa and the Cardinals organization. They lost one pitcher a couple of years ago [Darryl Kile], and now this."
Personal milestone: The news that he had reached 50 career victories seemed to surprise Jose Contreras when he found out about the accomplishment following Friday's win. Contreras has a 35-22 record and 4.26 ERA over 496 2/3 innings pitched for the White Sox, covering exactly 80 starts since 2004.
"Coming at 32, I never thought I could win 50 in the big leagues," said Contreras through translator Ozzie Guillen Jr.
Franchise loss: Milton Bocek, the oldest living former White Sox player, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 94. Bocek played in the outfield for the team during the 1933 and 1934 seasons. His last place of residence was Brookfield, Ill.
Around the horn: Guillen expects the struggling New York Yankees to take off on a winning streak, for one primary reason. "Just say Joe Torre is going to get fired, and they start winning," he said of the Yankees' manager. "You watch. As soon as it's in the paper that he's in the hot seat, the Yankees get on a roll." ... Although Tadahito Iguchi had Sunday off, Guillen said on Sunday that he will stay in the lineup's second slot for the foreseeable future. ... During the upcoming road trip, Guillen plans to find a day off for Paul Konerko. Darin Erstad would move to first base in Konerko's brief absence. ... The White Sox entered Sunday with a 322-321 edge all-time over the Angels.
Down on the farm: Jack Egbert continued his strong start by hurling six scoreless innings of two-hit baseball on Saturday night, as Double-A Birmingham claimed a 4-2 victory over Huntsville. Egbert improved to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.45 in five starts. ... Kyle McCulloch picked up his second victory after yielding one earned run in 6 1/3 innings and fanning four, as Class A Winston-Salem topped Wilmington, 3-2. Aaron Cunningham added two hits, raising his average to .377. ... Ernie Young knocked out his second home run during Charlotte's 7-2 loss to Durham. Charlie Haeger suffered the defeat, falling to 0-4.
On deck: Javier Vazquez opens Chicago's eight-game, three-city road trip on Tuesday in Seattle, with first pitch set for 9:05 p.m. CT. Vazquez is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA lifetime against Seattle, including 21 strikeouts over 19 1/3 innings.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.