Why did Charles Haeger start against the Angels instead of McCarthy? Wasn't he the backup plan at the beginning of the season? I think he deserved it. I don'tcare how good one of our minor leaguers is pitching when you have him waiting inthe bullpen. Brandon should get the next start in my book. -- Patrick Armon, Darien
Patrick, you got your wish as well as those of others when Brandon started Tuesday at Tampa Bay. But Brandon was good for only 83 pitches and four innings. Pitch count is very important, and Haeger was more equipped at that time to face the Angels.
Hey Mark ... how many tickets must be sold at the Cell for it to be considered a"sellout"? I read that there is a sellout of 38,000-plus but capacity is 40,000-plus. I doubt if there are "freebies" anymore but, if so, then it would be a "fullhouse." Your comments??? -- Frank Bartos, West Dundee
There are few, if any freebies, these days. The total paid attendance varies, based on the number of freebies. Please remember that players now must pay for their tickets. That now goes toward paid attendance and helps the paid figures.
Hey Mark, the Sox are looking pretty tough to beat. I believe they are aheador near pace of the 2005 champs. What do you thing their chances of a repeat are and who do you think will be their biggest contender in AL? -- Charlie, Peoria
The Sox have a good chance to repeat as division champion and go far if they stay healthy and their bullpen improves. Detroit won't go away, and I expect Cleveland to make a run. Boston and the Yankees will be tough. The AL West seems down, but Oakland is a second-half team.
Hi Mark, enjoy reading your work. Hope you can help answer this. It's clear Bobby Jenks isn't comfortable (yet) coming into a game in the middleof an inning. The results show he isn't, yet Ozzie continues to insist on doing it (twice for example between May 5 and May 10). Why? And with respect to Ozzie, saying 'because I'm the manager' isn't an answer. I like Ozzie and you can't calculate what he has meant to the organization but I think he 'out-thinks' himself at times, tries to act like Tony La Russa with all this 'matchup' garbage and has cost the team wins. If a pitcher is capable, he can get out BOTH left and right-handers ... it shouldn't matter. Yet Ozzie obviously thinks it does. This bullpen is shaky right now, why exacerbate the situation by putting your 'closer' into spots he doesn't like? -- Mark Liptak, Chubbuck, Idaho
Mark, thanks for your interest and tidbits. But "Tries to act like Tony La Russa?" Ouch. I think Ozzie will start using Jenks sooner than the ninth inning if the bullpen remains shaky. He did this on Sunday in Minnesota. It's obvious the bullpen could use some help, if not more consistency.
What is the contract status of Joe Nathan and if the Twins continue to reel, is there a chance to pry him away to help solidify our bullpen? Also is itverified that Contreras is really 34 years old and if so, does the team feel he can be their ace for another 3-4 years or, given the possible overuse of his armin Cuba, is this injury the beginning of his inevitable breakdown? -- Harvey Schatz, Teaneck, N.J.
I think the Twins need to keep Joe Nathan and Torii Hunter to help their chances to get a new downtown stadium. Jose Contreras' agent emphasizes that his client's age is accurate and hasn't been altered from the time he signed with the Yankees. We don't know how many innings he threw in Cuba, but he is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now so it's time to ride that wave.
From what I hear, Chris Singleton isn't filling in for John Rooney on the radio broadcasts. Is there any hope to bring back Dave Wills, a great broadcaster and a great Sox fan? -- Tim Koncel, San Francisco
I think Dave Wills is well-liked and comfortable in Tampa Bay. And Ed Farmer and Chris are in the first year of five-year deals.
Mark, I'm curious as to why the White Sox don't look to use Charlie Haeger in a middle relief role. It seems to me that after two at-bats against high 80s to low 90s pitches, staying back on pitches in the 60s would be difficult even without it dancing. Then with Jenks coming in with high 90s to end the game the batters will have to make another large adjustment. Plus, knuckleballers usually don't tire their arm as much, so back-to-back, 2-3 inning games is possible. What are your thoughts? -- Erich, Barstow, Cal.
I think we'll know more about Charlie's potential in his next major league start. When that comes, I don't know. But it's obvious he was trying too hard, as evidenced by the fact he was throwing his fastball 10 m.p.h. harder. Haeger did pitch well in his next start for Charlotte.
Mark, how big of a concern is the bullpen, especially the setup for Jenks, for Ozzie & the front office? It seems to me they are missing Jose Vizcaino, Dustin Hermanson, and the old Cliff Politte. There is simply no veteran presence in that area right now. Is Jeff Nelson the answer? Or will the Sox look outside the organization for help? -- Steve Schucker, Chicago
The bullpen is a concern. I think Jeff Nelson can be the answer, but he needs at least one more week of work. I know they're looking at some pitchers outside the organization, but any serious discussions usually don't take place under June.
What happens with J.D. next year? I believe his contract is up after this year. I don't want to lose J.D., although Sweeney does seem like he'll make the big club next year. Also, what of Josh Fields? I know Joe Crede's a free agent again, but I think the Sox are crazy to let him go if he keeps playing likethis. But Josh Fields is leading Charlotte in average and homers and is second in RBIs. He's ready after this year too. Where do we put these guys? -- Andrew, St. Louis
What are the chances Jermaine Dye will be back with the club next year? I know we got him on a discount because of his back-to-back hurt years and his production was down. I imagine now that he's healthy and had awesome back-to-back years he will command a lot higher salary. Our payroll is already too high. Will we hand Sweeney or Owens the job, or lock him up a few more years? Or here is a crazy thought -- bring back C. Lee. And have a trifecta of sluggers. Robert M., Holland, Ohio
I think it would be crazy to not pick up the option on Jermaine Dye. Ryan Sweeney is a natural talent but only 21. Jermaine provides enough protection behind Thome and Konerko. Crede will be arbitration-eligible next winter, and I think it would be wise on both sides to at least examine a multi-year deal. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if they couldn't reach an agreement. Josh Fields needs some work on his defense but has made improvement there. Sweeney is ahead of Owens at this point. Carlos Lee is looking for Konerko-like money, so I don't see him returning.
Mark: Bobby Jenks is exciting to watch. Sometimes a little too exciting. Is he in any danger of losing his closer role to committee -- or worse? Also, what's the story on Dustin Hermanson? Thanks. -- Norm, Kings Park, N.Y.
Jenks is the closer is most situations (except when the opponents have a stack of left-handed batters). Dustin Hermanson resumed throwing but won't be back soon.
How long do you think the White Sox will continue with this terrible bullpen? I watch 90 per cent of the games, and every time Ozzie brings in someone from the bullpen, they give up at least a run and usually more. Please stop the Logan and Thornton experiment! -- Bryan, Honolulu
Thanks for your insights, I enjoy reading your answers to the e-mails. In your discussion concerning picking up Torii Hunter, you stated the Sox would consider looking at possibly getting better at other areas. Besides center and shortstop -- and I'm only talking about offense at this point because their defense is fine -- what areas do you feel may be more important at this time? Torii would be an incredible addition at center, on both defense and offense, if KW can pull it off. -- Steve Porter, Minneapolis
Steve, I think the bullpen is the main issue at this point. Brian, I think Thornton might break through and have a decent year. Boone Logan showed Tuesday that he needs more seasoning in the minors.
Hi, Mark. Thanks for the time you take to answer our questions. I was wondering about A.J. He hit a career-high 18 homers last year, but has nonethis year. He's hitting for a lot higher average, though. Did he modify something in his swing or is this just happenstance? --Andrew, St. Louis
This was just a happenstance, as A.J. finally hit a home run on Sunday. He's come close a few times, but he's no Fran Healy.
Hey Mark, what ever happened to protesting baseball games? Do umpires now have the final word and if so, what is the point of arguing a bad call? We realize that the reward for good in "umping" is postseason but are bad umpires given any reprimands? I doubt that you'll respond because your hands are probably tied, but I was just curious about recent changes in officiating. Thanks for letting me vent. -- Frank Bartos, West Dundee
Umpires are reprimanded (usually privately). Umpires need to have final say as well as control of the game. If you're inquiring about Saturday's game, I think it was a missed call, but umpires need to keep control. Ozzie is right in defending his players, but you can't have managers stopping the game to argue all the time.
Mark, I have two questions. I noticed that many MLB teams have switched over to the newer style of batting helmets. Did the league force teams to adopt the newer style or is it up to the teams? Will the Sox switch over? Secondly, when will all the green seats be installed at the Cell? Thank you. -- Jon, Warrenville
This is a newer style and players have the choice of what helmet to use. The green seats should be fully installed by the 2007 season.
Hey Mark, I feel bad asking this because of all the good he does for the team, but are Iguchi's strikeouts a cause for concern? He has more than anyone but Thome and his strikeouts-to-walk ratio is Uribe-esque. -- Paul, Wicker ParkIguchi won't be asked to change. He hits to all fields, and even though he has been striking out a lot, he hits to the opposite field as well as anyone on this team. Sure, he should make more contact but I don't think anyone is concerned with him.
Dear Mark, Boone Logan and Mark Thornton are clearly not ready to contribute towards another world championship. How close are Hermanson and Nelson in their efforts to join the Sox, what is Sox management's feelings towards Lopez and Farnsworth joining the team from Charlotte, and what left-handed relievers might be on the market? At this point I'll take Marte back. -- Tom Campagna, Riverside
Tom, I think Thornton is here to stay, and he looked good Tuesday night. Nelson is ahead of Hermanson, and we might know more on Nelson no later than the end of the month. Lopez has done all he can to get a promotion. Farnsworth has done a solid job as well. Left-handed relief help is hard to find. Just ask the Sox this spring. It's really a shame that Marte wasn't always reliable, but there's no sense in keeping a player who didn't want to stay on a championship club.
I know a lot of players that were in the major leagues, is there a way I can bea scout, part-time? I have been a White Sox fan since 1950 and I am by theborder in Texas and can speak Spanish. I know a lot of coaches in the Rio GrandeValley in Texas that can help me. I am retired and travel extensively. -- Oscar Rios, Crown Point, Ind.
Oscar, there are a lot of fans like you who want to help the White Sox. But evaluating talent is a very important skill, and there's something to be said for experience. I don't think I can help you with this issue.
Mark - I've read reports that even the White Sox are considering getting into the Torii Hunter sweepstakes. Considering that Hunter is a 5-time Gold Glover, wouldn't the cost be too rich to pry him away from a division rival where those castoffs would come back to haunt us WAY too often, and isn't proven bullpen talent FAR more important? -- Al Bloom, Lorton, Va.
Amen.Copyright © 2015, CT Now