White Sox lineup gives clues to roster
Quentin appears to be left out of ALDS; Guillen sets rotation
ST. PETERSBURG -- For Carlos Quentin's quest to return to live action to be fulfilled in 2008, it appears the White Sox will at least need to advance to the American League Championship Series.
The team did not plan to officially announce its 25-man roster for the best-of-five AL Division Series against Tampa Bay until Thursday. But according to a lineup card posted in the clubhouse, Quentin does not figure into the equation for this round.
Excluding Quentin for the opening level of postseason play makes perfect sense, even with the All-Star left fielder revealing on Tuesday night how he had set a goal of being ready. Quentin broke a bone in his right wrist on Sept. 1, after fouling off a pitch from Cleveland's Cliff Lee and then smacking his hand in frustration on the bat being held in this left had.
Quentin's ongoing rehab and recovery process took him to hitting off of a tee on Tuesday, and he said that he felt good on Wednesday after going through that activity. Quentin planned to hit off of a tee again during White Sox batting practice, and if that went well, he would take some flips.
Through his strengthening program and work to improve range of motion, Quentin said the pain in his wrist has been tolerable, although he has yet to take live batting practice.
"Tolerable? Yes," Quentin said. "We've been smart about that, using it as a gauge as how to proceed. But the pain has decreased.
"As long as it keeps feeling better, we'll keep pushing," Quentin added.
With Quentin out of action and Rays right-hander James Shields on the mound for Thursday afternoon's series opener, left-handed hitter Dewayne Wise will start in left field and hit second. Wise has gone from a potential deal to play for Somerset, N.J., in the Atlantic League back in February to a valuable piece of the puzzle for the AL Central champs.
Fleet-footed Jerry Owens also will be on the 25-man roster, as will third baseman Josh Fields. The White Sox have no true utility infielder, although both Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe can play multiple positions.
Left-hander Clayton Richard and right-hander Adam Russell join bullpen stalwarts such as Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and D.J. Carrasco in the seven-man relief crew. Richard and Russell were chosen over Boone Logan, Horacio Ramirez, Mike MacDougal and Ehren Wassermann for the final two slots.
Ozzie Guillen also announced his starting rotation past Javier Vazquez on Thursday. As expected, Mark Buehrle will pitch on Friday evening, followed by John Danks in Chicago on Sunday. Gavin Floyd will be available out of the bullpen during the first two games, but is set to start Game 4 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Both Floyd and Danks were masterful as part of the White Sox three straight wins over three different teams in order to reach the playoffs. Floyd defeated Detroit on Monday, and Danks won the playoff tiebreaker Tuesday against Minnesota.
"It was tough to put Gavin in the fourth spot, but I want two lefties for a reason," Guillen said. "They have a heavy lefty lineup, and hopefully, those two lefties back-to-back, we can hold them."
Even without Quentin, who finished with 36 home runs and 100 RBIs, the White Sox survived to reach the postseason -- albeit through a 163rd game. The lineup remains potent, but adding a reasonably healthy Quentin only can make it stronger.
That plan looks as if it won't possibly play out until the ALCS.
"My goal is to be able to swing with minimal pain, where I can swing and not re-injure myself or hurt myself," Quentin said. "If there's no pain, that's the best case."
"They have a pretty nice combination of players," said Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli of the White Sox. "They're a pretty dangerous team."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.