Sox GM Ken Williams reiterates need for attendance at Cell to improve
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2012 9:54PM
Theo Epstein, Kenny Williams
Updated: July 20, 2012 6:27AM
White Sox general manager Ken Williams said his ability to make trades and add salary for a second-half pennant drive continues to depend on ticket sales, which have been lagging at U.S. Cellular Field even though the Sox are in first place.
“Yes,’’ Williams said. “I don’t want to expound. Then I get buried because I’m crying about money.’’
Williams, who touched on a range of subjects, said that getting injured players John Danks and Brent Morel back wouldn’t necessarily negate the need to make improvements.
“Whether they’re here or not, we’re still going to look at potential places where we can improve the club,’’ Williams said. “But you have to be careful with that because once guys start to believe in themselves as a unit … you’ve got to be careful to disrupt that chemistry. Right now, it’s pretty good.”
Danks saw a doctor Monday and had tests done on the shoulder that has kept him on the disabled list since he pitched against the Cubs on May 19. The Sox were awaiting the results.
The Sox went into Monday’s home game against the Cubs leading the Indians by 11/2 games in the American League Central. The Tigers were three games out.
“We gave away some games over the last week and a half, and it’s unfortunate because we could have put some distance between ourselves and clubs behind us,’’ Williams said. “It is what it is, and it’s part of the grind, and you’re going to have these stretches. That’s the bad news.
“The good news is we’ve been in every game and leading some of those games. We feel like we’re a club that can grind it out and contend through the season.’’
Williams cited first-year manager Robin Ventura for giving the clubhouse some stability.
“We’re obviously competing for a division championship,’’ he said.
Asked about Ventura’s game management, he said Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Dodgers (in which rookie Jose Quintana was pulled after eight scoreless innings and 77 pitches) was the first time he and Ventura “had a little mini-discussion in regard to what the thought process was in a certain situation. He always has good answers, though, when we discuss the happenings of the day.”
With John Danks out indefinitely with a grade I shoulder tear, the pressure is turned up higher on Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber. If they don’t pitch better, it’s safe to say that Williams would have to look at rotation changes even though Quintana (1.53 ERA) is working his way into “Sox big three” conversations with Chris Sale and Jake Peavy.
“We keep waiting, and we see little things that are signs of progress,’’ Williams said of Floyd and Humber. “Then you’ll see the little blip on the radar here and there.’’
Sale and Peavy have been monitored closely.
“We may see them go into the 117-120 pitch count from time to time, a few extra than we normally would if they were on an every-day, five-day rotation,’’ Williams said. “Because we’re giving them six and seven days sometimes, we can do that. In the second half, we’ll go to a more conventional five-day rotation where we’re really trying to grind it out.”
Williams also discussed Adam Dunn’s resurgence and his own suggestion of left fielder Dayan Viciedo going back to third base getting shot down.
On Dunn: “He shortened up [his swing] a little bit and went to left field more. He doesn’t have power just to right field. He’s hit some monster shots there, but once he gets to the point where he’s starting to go to left-center field with some power, too, you better watch out. It can get scary. He can get on runs where he carries a team.’’
On Viciedo: “He wasn’t as bad [at third] as people want to think he was. I think in an emergency situation he can go in there.’’
But he won’t move back. Williams was in the minority among the Sox’ brain trust to do that.
“We are in a unique situation because we are still developing as a club and evolving, and we’re competing at the same time,’’ he said. “All those things are not easy to do combined together.’’