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WSI News - News Watch

Sox not complaining about strange schedule

March 30th, from the Daily Herald; Scot Gregor

After spending six long weeks in Tucson, Ariz., the White Sox would prefer grabbing a few winks before opening the regular season Monday against the Mariners.

Instead, the Sox played another exhibition game against the Brewers here Friday night, and they'll face Milwaukee again this afternoon at Miller Park.

Before heading for Seattle, the White Sox make one final stop in San Francisco on Sunday for a game against the Giants.

"We understand it,'' Frank Thomas said. "It's all about those gates. We just have to get on the plane, go out and play. We can't control it.''

The Sox receive flat fees from each of the three exhibition games, and they should total roughly $200,000. Much of that money is used to defray spring training costs.

While they might be sleepy in Seattle on Monday, manager Jerry Manuel is trying to make the best of the busy schedule.

"With anything you're given, you've got to find something positive, whether you like it or not,'' Manuel said. "These are the cards we've been dealt. It gives us a chance, as a group of men, to find out about each other and get to know each other.''

Heading out: It's not official yet, but second baseman/center fielder Willie Harris and catcher Josh Paul will both be optioned to Class AAA Charlotte today.

When the moves are in ink, the White Sox' roster will be at the season-opening limit of 25.

Paul, a Buffalo Grove High School product, didn't feel like talking about his demotion Friday.

"The time's not right,'' said Paul, who batted .250 in the Cactus League. "Maybe (today).''

Harris, who batted .275 with 3 home runs, 14 RBI and 8 steals this spring, was preparing to break camp with the Sox.

He's now trying to make the best of a new challenge.

"They're doing what's best for the team and what's best for me as a player in the long run,'' Harris said. "I'm not upset at anybody. I'll just go to Triple-A and do what I've been doing. Hopefully, I'll be up here sooner or later.''

New guy: Reliever Damaso Marte, acquired in a trade from the Pirates on Wednesday, met up with the White Sox at Miller Park.

With Kelly Wunsch (inflamed rotator cuff) on the disabled list until at least April 10, the 27-year-old Marte becomes the Sox' left-handed specialist.

"I don't really know how they're planning to use me, but I'm happy to be here,'' said Marte, who was 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 23 appearances for Pittsburgh last year. "This team has more hitting, so that's going to be a good thing for me.''

Marte debuted with the White Sox with two outs in the seventh inning, and he struck out Alex Sanchez.

In the eighth, Marte retired Mark Loretta and Lenny Harris on infield popups and walked Tyler Houston before calling it a night.


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