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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Return of Rocky?

Well Sox fans, a bit of good news came out of the White Sox organization this week, it appears Rocky Biddle may return to the Club before ST ends. He is scheduled to throw twenty five pitches from the mound this week, and if all goes well, the pitch count will continue to climb with his comfort level. This will be followed by a rehab assignment in AAA Charlotte, and his progress will be evaluated from there. This thought occurs to me though, if the Sox would have acted on this injury when it happened, mid July of last season, instead of choosing to ignore it he would be available for the rotation now. I still, to this day, question why they chose to make him pitch with the injury as opposed to placing him on the IR and taking care of it immediately. Yes it was brought up that he could not injure himself further, but what difference does that make? There was no good reason to having an injured pitcher starting games at that time, perhaps if they were in the thick of the play-off race I could understand it, but their chances at the time were dim at best. The only thing they managed to accomplish out of that whole situation was to magnify the fact that their pitching coach forces young pitchers to pitch hurt, and that upper management is willing to leave him in control of the best resource they have in the minors, a good collection of promising young arms. I shudder to think of what will happen to Jon Rauch if Nardi Contreras is left in control.

Doubting Thomases 

Even though it is less than three weeks into ST, the Chicago print media has begun to doubt the Sox chances this season, citing pitching as the key reason for it. While I am not a professional sports journalist, I do know that ST pitching stats mean very little when it comes to games that count, look at the Texas Rangers of last year, they had the best ERA in all of ST, and there pitching staff got beat like a rented mule in the regular season. Do the Sox have a top rate rotation? No, far from it, but they do have five pitchers that have the ability to be major league starters, they just have to prove their ability. Do they have a top notch bullpen? No, but they have an established closer and some talent that has yet to shine sitting in the pen. They do have, however, the potential to be one of the most lethal offensive powerhouse’s scene on the Southside since the Hitmen days, an offense that can score from just about anywhere in the line-up. Though they can’t pitch, they can be a pitcher’s best friend, go ask Todd Ritchie about run support, he’ll give you the story chapter and verse, even good pitching can lose a 1-0 game. The rumor mill is grinding out stories about the Sox trading for El Duque, or trading for Dan Plesac, but tell me, honestly, do two pitchers that may total 80 years old between the two of them really help this team? I think not. I would welcome a trade for good pitching, but I doubt there are many good pitchers available.

More great ideas from the Commissioner's office

Bob Watson, the replacement for Frank Robinson as MLB’s Lord Of Discipline, has vowed to speed the game up, by limiting the time a pitcher can take between pitches, and the amount of time a batter can be out of the batter’s box. While I can see his desire to speed the game up, and most casual fans think the games are to long, I think he needs to set his sites on enforcing rules that the umpires will actually enforce. Last year was the call from above to call the high strike, why it is necessary to point this out is beyond me, the official rule on the strike zone has never changed, and about one third of the umpires called the true strike zone, roughly. That being said, why not concentrate on that, instead of rotating umpires for each game, take the one third that are willing to call the true strike zone and make them permanent plate umpires. They could rotate the other three umps on the field, but have designated plate umpires that always work behind the plate. Of course this idea is a two edged sword, you also lose the umps that call the Maddux Zone, so Mark Buehrle would no longer get that pitch off the outside corner called for a strike, but that is a small sacrifice to make to get the true strike zone called, you no longer need that pitch if you can toss one at the waist confident you will get a strike call. As for Bob Watson’s dream of enforcing his idea’s about speeding up the game, I doubt a single ump will do anything to stop the human rain delay’s that are Steve Trachsel, Chuck Knoublach, or Jose Canseco, but it was nice of him to try.

And that’s it for now Sox fans, please check in next week.


Dave Schmitt is a life-long resident of the Joliet area, with the exception of two years spent being the only Sox fan in the hell hole known as Baytown Texas, where the trucks are large and the alligators are hungry.  Plumber by trade, hunter by choice, and fisherman 'cause you can’t hunt year round.  Married With Children, and four dogs that are confirmed Sox fans.  The kids have less sense.  You can send email to Daver at


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