04/19/06 3:28 PM ET
Notes: Podsednik shows improvement
Closer Jenks puts disappointing spring behind him
By Jon Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
"Back from where?" he quickly shot back.
Well, for starters, back from an early season slump that saw him start off 0-for-16. Or back after missing significant time in Spring Training with injuries that hindered his running, the best part of his game. Or just back to being the Scott Podsednik that helped the White Sox run out to the best record in the American League last year, the Scott Podsednik who shocked the Houston Astros with a home run in the World Series. You know, back.
"I'm pretty close," he said. "My legs feel like they're getting better day-by-day. I feel pretty good at the plate. I'm getting some results. I'm trying to keep this thing going. The most important thing is to win."
Podsednik had his third straight multi-hit game on Tuesday, going 2-for-5, to bump his average up to .176, putting the "Mendoza Line" back in sight. After a 1-for-26 start, he was hitting .320 (8-for-25) over his past six games.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Podsednik's week has been the best development for the team, "because Podsednik can drive himself crazy if things aren't going his way."
Podsednik walked to lead off Wednesday's game, but was thrown out trying to steal second by Royals catcher Paul Bako. It was the first time he's been caught in four tries.
"It feels good to finally mix in more than a hit, or mix in a hit period," he said Tuesday night. "It's not that I was feeling that bad before this [last six games], I just really wasn't getting any results. It's good to get myself on base a couple more times. It's just about getting on base. I'm most important offensively, the more I'm on base."
Podsednik stole 59 bases last season, the most for a White Sox player since Rudy Law's 77 in 1983. But that figure was front-loaded with 44 coming before the All-Star break and only seven in the last two months. He went on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 15 with a strained left abductor.
He had little work with the White Sox in Spring Training because of injuries to his shoulder and groin, and he missed workout time in the offseason after hernia surgery in November. Now it's time to run.
"That's my game, that's the game I enjoy playing," he said. "I'm going to do the club no good throwing the anchor out at first base. So I've got to try to make my way around the base paths."
Big, bad Bobby: Bobby Jenks got his fifth save in five chances on Tuesday, another step in putting a disappointing spring behind him. Jenks, never svelte at a listed 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, was criticized by management for being out of shape coming into camp. He's looking good now and Guillen doesn't think conditioning will be as much of a problem again.
"You know you have a job and you should be professional," he said. "You should learn from this experience. We told him for future reference, we're not going to tolerate that."
A day earlier, before he got the save, Jenks reiterated he had a plan for the season, regardless of what other people thought. He said he focused more on weights in the offseason, not conditioning.
"The thing about me, what I had planned for the winter, I executed for what I wanted to accomplish this winter," he said. "Coming into the season I knew the first couple months were going to be planned out, as far as conditioning-wise. I would go and ease back on the weights because I did that all winter, and concentrate more on my cardio and getting loose and maintaining strength."
Guillen had heard this type of talk before and he wasn't buying it.
"He can make an excuse, but the excuse was he was out of shape," the manager said.
Regardless, Jenks said he typically does a half-hour of swimming when he gets to the park and then a half-hour on the bike or treadmill. He is still lifting, just with less weight and more repetitions.
Jenks was throwing 97 mph on Tuesday, while working his offspeed pitches in for strikes. The 99, 100-mph stuff will come, he said.
"When I came up last year, you guys saw me at midseason form," he said. "It's still April. I don't have everything there, but I'm getting outs."
Guillen said that sometimes you just have to "whip him" a little bit. Hopefully, he's speaking metaphorically.
"One thing with Bobby, every time we say something to him, he does it," Guillen said.
Down on the farm: Third baseman Josh Fields doubled twice in Triple-A Charlotte's 4-3 win over Toledo on Tuesday, which improved the team to 8-5. ... Double-A Birmingham (6-7) defeated Tennessee, 4-3, in 10 innings. Mark Quinn went 3-for-5 with two doubles. Rusty Tucker got the win in relief. ... Class A Winston-Salem lost to Myrtle Beach, 3-2, for the second straight game. Chris Kelly went 2-for-5 with an RBI. ... Center fielder Daron Roberts went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a steal in Class A Kannapolis' 6-4 loss to Rome.
Up next: Mark Buehrle gets a chance to set the pace for his rotation as he tries for his third win of the season against Minnesota on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. CT. Buehrle is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts this year. He went 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA against the Twins last season. He will match up with the Twins' struggling ace Johan Santana (0-2, 5.71 ERA).
Jon Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.