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WSI News - News Watch

Sox release Brian Simmons

March 25, By Paul Sullivan; Chicago Tribune

The White Sox released Brian Simmons on Monday, leaving Aaron Rowand and Willie Harris to fight for the final outfield spot.

Simmons hit .182 in 33 at-bats this spring in his second go-around with the Sox after being claimed off waivers from Toronto last November.

"We probably didn't give him enough starts," manager Jerry Manuel said. "He played sporadically, but we didn't see the same player we saw two years ago. Brian was still coming back from that [torn Achilles' in 2000], unfortunately. He's a young man who we like very much, and an original White Sox, so it was a tough deal."

Simmons is the second Sox outfielder to be waived this spring, joining Julio Ramirez, whom Anaheim eventually picked up. The only way both Rowand and Harris can make it is if the Sox decide to take only 11 pitchers, which is doubtful.

The Sox also optioned third baseman Joe Crede, catcher Miguel Olivo and reliever Matt Ginter to Triple-A Charlotte, reassigned infielder Tim Hummel to minor-league camp and placed Rocky Biddle to the 15-day disabled list. None of the moves were unexpected, though Crede did hit .380 this spring and played well defensively.

Manuel said the Sox didn't "want to hinder [Crede's] development" by playing him sporadically, which also would seem to suggest Harris will be sent down when the final roster cuts are made Sunday. Harris is hitting .301 this spring, but his on-base percentage is only .338 because he rarely walks.

The Sox's roster is down to 28 players, with three more cuts. Jim Parque already has been informed he'll be sent to Charlotte, and Josh Paul is the likely odd man out in the battle for a catching spot.

Kid news - After three strong innings, Dan Wright didn't have his curve going Monday in a 9-3 loss to Anaheim, giving up six runs in the fourth and seven runs in a four-inning stint.

"I felt OK," Wright said. "I left some pitches up, and the ball kept rolling."

Catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. said Wright's fastball and changeup were fine, but the curve still needs some work.

As for the other young starter, Manuel termed Jon Rauch "a little erratic" after Rauch gave up two runs and walked four in four innings of relief.

"He consistently missed making his pitches," Manuel said. "It's a matter of a young pitcher making his own adjustments in the heat of battle. That's something we have to go through with him. That's part of the maturation process of taking young pitchers. They're going to have times where they're going to be inconsistent, and we're going to have to bear with them. Hopefully either they or us figure it out before it becomes damaging."

Alomar and Mark Johnson will have to guide the young pitchers once the season begins, keeping them in the right frame of mind.

"Rauch has come a long way," Alomar said. "Pitching for the U.S. [Olympic team] is big. Big games, and he was facing Cuban hitters there. When he gets his stuff right he's going to be a good pitcher. Experience matters to a point. If you don't have your stuff, you don't panic.

"If you are young and cruising and all of a sudden you have a bump in the road... my job is to make sure they go out there and believe in themselves. I'll be pushing them more once the season starts. When I came up in the big leagues I learned it's not how much talent or ability you have, it's how you cope with failure. If you can cope with failure, you'll go a long way."

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