BALTIMORE -- Scott Linebrink and seven of his teammates made a special trip to Bethesda Naval Hospital on Saturday morning, visiting with approximately 20 patients and families in the surgical ward.
The White Sox reliever was joined by Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Mark Kotsay, Juan Pierre, J.J. Putz, Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton in a 90-minute visit organized by Linebrink with the White Sox community relations department.
Players brought signed hats and wore camouflage White Sox jerseys to see these men who were part of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and were sent to the hospital for surgery and care. They took those jerseys literally off their backs and gave them to the soldiers, also signing autographs and visiting with the nursing staff.
It was the second year in a row the White Sox visited the hospital.
Pierzynski doing his part behind the plate
BALTIMORE -- Even when things go right for White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski during a trying season with the bat, they end up going wrong.
"I was joking how I finally did something to help around here and I get hurt," said Pierzynski, following the White Sox 4-2 victory over the Orioles on Saturday night.
Pierzynski delivered the game-tying, two-out double off reliever Jason Berken in the seventh, scoring Alexei Ramirez from first base, but tweaked his left ankle upon advancing to third without sliding. The catcher left the game after rolling the ankle on third base and falling but said he would be fine to catch on Sunday.
Getting back into the lineup gives Pierzynski a chance to improve upon his .235 average, sitting some 50 points behind his lofty .286 career mark, although Pierzynski certainly isn't putting his 2010 slump ahead of the team.
"Personally, am I having a good year? No, I'm having a terrible year," said Pierzynski. "The only thing that is keeping me sane or from wanting to jump off of my balcony at the hotel is we are pitching really well and I hope I have a small part in that. And we are in first place and we are winning."
Ultimately, Pierzynski is about White Sox success, as he has proven over the past six years on the South Side. There might be times where Pierzynski slams a helmet or enacts his patented bat flip after just missing a pitch or hitting a ball hard and right at someone, but those reactions are born more out of frustration coming from not being able to help the team.
Pierzynski has hit in tough luck this season, as his seventh-inning drive caught by Nick Markakis at the right-field wall on Friday would indicate. He also has been called upon to handle a pitching staff standing as absolutely crucial to the White Sox playoff drive, including inexperienced hurlers such as Sergio Santo, Lucas Harrell and now Chris Sale.
If the White Sox pitchers do well, then those efforts outweigh Pierzynski's 12-for-64 showing in the second half.
"They pitch well and that's the No. 1 job for me and the No. 1 priority," Pierzynski said. "It has been e frustrating year offensively. We have two more months and hopefully they are a good two months and we go from there.
"Right now, I'm focused on getting pitchers going and keeping them going. I'm focused on having them ready for the run here at the end and see what happens."
Impending free agency for Pierzynski after 2010 has been talked about since Spring Training. With so much on the line for the White Sox between now and the first week of October, Pierzynski doesn't have time to think about how this slump will affect his future market.
"There's always going to be some perception about me with this or that," Pierzynski said. "I can't worry about that. The only thing I can do is go out and play as hard as I can every day. I've been here six years and I've never really had a problem here. I hope the organization here feels the same way.
"All I know is I'm in just as good of shape as I was five years ago. I'm not striking out every time up there. I'm putting the ball in play. I'm just not getting hits. It happens. It's frustrating as hell. But at the same time, we are winning so who am I to complain."
No Delgado? No problem for White Sox
BALTIMORE -- Carlos Delgado agreed to a Minor League deal with the Red Sox on Saturday, ending any potential pursuit by the White Sox of his left-handed bat.
Saturday's clubhouse didn't exactly reflect a great sense of grief over Delgado's decision.
"OK, good for him. I didn't even know he was an option," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski with a laugh. "I haven't even thought about it. I thought he was hurt and wasn't playing.
"We are happy with what we have. If we add or subtract or do what we have to do, then [White Sox general manager] Kenny [Williams] and [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] are in charge and make those decisions. We just play who's here and do the best we can."
Guillen said there never was any serious discussion about Delgado, to his knowledge, and to be honest, Guillen didn't want Delgado. His comment was not meant as a personal affront to Delgado, but by Guillen's reasoning, if the White Sox needed help on offense, they needed it now and not at the start of September or in two weeks.
"Maybe Kenny or [assistant general manager Rick Hahn] or someone else has a different plan," Guillen said. "But to sign Delgado here, I would rather have Jim Thome. We know what Jim Thome can do. Delgado can only DH and play a little bit of first base. We have two good first basemen."
As Guillen stated in Detroit, he believes the equivalent of waiver wire additions simply will come from improved hitting courtesy of Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones or even Pierzynski.
Nothing changes with Sale's role
BALTIMORE -- A walk and single from Nick Markakis against Chris Sale during his Major League debut on Friday hasn't altered manager Ozzie Guillen's thoughts on using the 21-year-old with the game on the line.
"We don't have time right now to say, 'Well, he can only throw two pitches or five pitches. He can only throw fastballs.' That's [for the] instructional league," Guillen said. "I like his arm. I like somebody to help Matt Thornton. We thought that was the best guy and he will pitch. It's up to him how to handle it."
Sale admitted being nervous on Friday but added that nerves were no excuse for his struggles. He also appreciated Guillen standing behind him despite this first-game problem.
"You know, it feels good. I mean, I feel worse than anybody going out there and doing what I did," Sale said Saturday. "It was a close game and I just didn't have it. For him to say that stuff, it's reassuring. It still doesn't hide the fact I went out there and had a bad day. But today when I show up, it will be a little less pressure to pitch."
Third to first
Mark Teahen finished 0-for-4 during Triple-A Charlotte's 9-2 loss to Toledo on Saturday night, lowering his average to a still impressive .421 during his injury rehab assignment. Teahen started in right field for the Knights and is expected back in a utility role for the White Sox during the next six-game homestand. ... Juan Pierre extended his hitting streak to 14 games Saturday. He is hitting .368 during this stretch. ... Carlos Quentin's 22nd home run, which opened the second inning off Kevin Millwood on Saturday, gave him 14 home runs and 37 RBIs in his last 39 games.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.