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12-13-2001, 04:29 PM
http://whitesox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/cws/news/cws_news_story.jsp?article_id=cws_20011210_winterm eetings_news&team_id=cws


By Patrick O'Connell
MLB.com

Chicago White Sox General Manager Ken Williams knew he was in for a busy four days at baseball's annual Winter Meetings in Boston.

He was right.

On Monday, the first day of baseball's largest offseason gathering, Williams found himself in the middle of numerous trade discussions, while at the same time trying to identify targeted players of his own. With an organization stocked with young talent, it is no surprise that the second-year GM was left with a handful of intriguing possibilities at the end of the day.

Ken Williams is participating in the Winter Meetings for the second time as White Sox GM.

"It is fun," he said. "You need to allow yourself room to dream. You need to explore opportunities, which at first glance, there is no possibility, but through discussions with other clubs, you might yield a match."

According to Williams, while he will allow himself to explore the possibilities that have surfaced, he also realizes that his club will benefit from multiple players returning from the disabled list.

"We won 83 games last year and we will be getting quite a few players back," Williams said. "We figure that is good for seven-to-eight more wins, which push us over 90. That would put us back into contention for the division title."

One such returnee Williams mentioned in Boston was two-time American League Most Valuable Players, Frank Thomas. The 'Big Hurt,' who tore his right triceps on April 27 and later underwent season-ending surgery, is expected to make a full recovery from his injury and bolster an already potent offensive attack.

"Frank Thomas is coming along well," Williams said. "He began to hit this month and I see no problem with him being 100-percent by Spring Training."

In addition to Thomas, pitchers Lorenzo Barcelo, Rocky Biddle, Jim Parque, Antonio Osuna and Kelly Wunsch are also expected to fully recover from their season-ending surgeries.

Patrick O'Connell is the site reporter for whitesox.com