Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Konerko's Injury May Have Sparked Roster Change

One excellent outing by Wise, along with a few absentee players, and there is an uprising. Fans and the managers alike are thinking that a change in the line-up might do some good. So, who is battling it out for roles as starters?

5 Juan Uribe. Uribe went on the Disabled List in May due to a pulled hamstring and disappeared. After 15 days, the fans were so impressed with his replacement, Alexei Ramirez, that Ozzie and Kenny Williams agreed: Uribe gets to admire the architecture of the dugout from the bench. Uribe is 29, currently batting .215 for the season and .357 for the month, has 3 homers and 17 RBI for the season (mind you, he has only gotten on the field in 9 games since his injury). Although worth mentioning, it seems that Uribe is officially out of the running for any on-field position other than the occasional designated hitter role.

14 Paul Konerko. Paulie is currently on the Disabled List with a pulled oblique. 32-year-old Konerko has been playing with the Sox since 1999, and has certainly paid his dues. Paul’s career average is .278 with a career high of .313, but is struggling more than ever this year, hitting only .215. Can Konerko prove to Guillen and Williams- or more importantly, his devoted and disappointed fans, that he is still deserving of his first base position, or will he have to relinquish his spot to Swish and make room for someone else in center field?

31 Dewayne Wise. Ozzie gave 30-year-old Wise a shot at a starting position in the June 24 game against the Dodgers. Wise gave Dodger and Sox fans a great show, boosting his average to .364 and making great plays in center field. Wise has been pinch running and playing odd jobs on the field this year, and has only has 22 at bats, so it may be too early in the season to determine whether he is a solid enough started, but if yesterday was an indication rather than a fluke, Wise would be a wise choice.

32 Brian Anderson. Only 26, Brian Anderson seemed an early contender for a starter position. He has been often placed in center field, where he has had no errors this season. While the website says Brian has played 49 games, anyone that has been watching knows that for the most part, that means one or two innings per game until Konerko’s injury. Of the other contenders, he is the closest to batting like a starter. His average is .236, he’s had 3 homers, and 11 RBI. With a little bit of coaching from Walker, Brian seems to have the potential to go from occasional slugger to experienced hitter. Plus, why do the Twins get to have Mauer and the Indians can have Sizemore, and we can’t have a young player on our side? Unless, of course, they would rather lose him to a different team that would recognize his abilities and give him more playing time...

38 Pablo Ozuna. Well, I guess he’s batting .293, but he’s only been in 28 games, and has stood in for Crede at third base. As a big fan of Crede (to say the least), I found Ozuna’s performance disappointing, noting imprecise throwing, no impressive saves. Sure, he’s a good pinch runner and makes a mill a year, so I guess they want him to do something more than warm the bench to justify his salary, but I have yet to see anything impressive from Ozuna.

So what’s a manager to do? At least for now, Swisher will be a starter on first, making room for one in center field, while another one of the players may have a chance on third base if Crede is still out because of his back. Once Konerko returns, will he or Swisher be bumped the way Uribe was or will everything return to normal, as if nothing had happened? We are sure to find out in the next couple of weeks.

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