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fuzzy_patters
01-16-2002, 09:54 AM
1/15/2002 9:00 am ET

Batting Around with Todd Ritchie

By Patrick O'Connell
MLB.com

Todd Ritchie is genuinely excited about playing for his new team, the Chicago White Sox. Not only is Ritchie, who was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Dec. 13, looking forward to returning to the American League, but he is also eagerly awaiting the numerous runs of support that should come courtesy of the White Sox's potent offensive lineup.


Ritchie, 30, was 11-15 with a 4.47 ERA last season with the Pirates after beginning the season 0-8. After his winless introduction to 2001, the 6-foot-3 righty rebounded to go 11-7 with a 4.11 ERA over his final 21 starts.

"It was tough for a while (in Pittsburgh), scoring two or three runs a game there for a while (during the) early going for me," said Ritchie upon being traded. "When you give up a run, it feels like you might lose the game. With a team with a little bit more offensive punch, it's going to help me out confidence-wise and I think it might keep me in the game longer."




Last month, the run-deprived Ritchie was introduced to members of the Chicago media. After his press conference, he spent time with MLB.com to talk about coming to the Windy City, high school sports and the letter K.

MLB.com: What was your initial reaction to being traded to the White Sox?
Todd Ritchie: I was surprised. I get on the computer quite a bit and my wife told me there were rumors here and there, but I had thought Pittsburgh was going to hang onto me for a while. It was a shock, but it has worn off now and I am really excited.

MLB.com: What makes the idea of playing in Chicago so exciting?
Ritchie: I am coming to a winner. They are one year removed from winning the division. That is pretty exciting. They had a lot of injuries too and if they get everybody back .... It is going to be exciting meeting new players and bonding with the pitchers they already have.

MLB.com: What was the difference between the first half of last season and the second half?
Ritchie:(Laughing) A few more wins. I had a lot more run support. Any pitcher will tell you the breaks go your way and sometimes they don't. I didn't get any of those lucky breaks the first half of the season. It is part of the game -- and definitely builds some character.

MLB.com: What are your thoughts about pitching here in Comiskey Park?
Ritchie: I hear it is pretty warm in April (laughing). I don't mind it. I am just glad to be back in the American League.








Todd Ritchie will add veteran experience to Chicago's young starting rotation.




MLB.com: Why are you so happy about being back in the American League?
Ritchie: The Yankees. I want to play against the best, you know, Seattle and those guys. I want to see how I stack up against the best.

MLB.com: Keeping with the AL theme, are you going to miss hitting?
Ritchie: Without a doubt. I am very excited to return to the AL, but I have to say, I thought I was a pretty good hitter.

MLB.com: Looking at your bio, I noticed a trend. You live in Kerens, Texas. Your wife's name is Kristi and your daughters' names are Karley, Kyndall and Kamdyn. Then you add to the equation that you are a pitcher and pitcher's earn Ks for strikeouts. Is there something we should know about you and the letter K?
Ritchie: (Laughing) Not at all. That is purely a coincidence -- a pretty funny one at that now that I think about it.

MLB.com: There have been quite a few movies, documentaries and even a couple of books about Texas high school sports. How nuts are they down there?
Ritchie: It is absolutely crazy. Where I went to high school (Duncanville), we were both a baseball and football powerhouse. In our baseball conference alone, three of us made it to the Big Leagues -- Andy Pettitte, Todd Van Poppel and myself. As much as they follow baseball, football will always be No. 1 in the state. Every community rallies around its high school football team.

MLB.com: Quick word association -- Luis Alicea.
Ritchie: Cheater.
[Editor's note: Alicea's seeing-eye single to right field broke up Ritchie's no-hit bid with one out in the ninth inning on July 13.]


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

CubKilla
01-16-2002, 11:42 AM
I like Ritchie's enthusiasm. I just hope he and KW are right about the White Sox's offense adding W's to Ritchie's record. If they are right, I don't think a 16/17-10 record is out of the question. I'd be happy with that..... maybe a few less loses too.