Reader Q&A: Mark Gonzales' White Sox mailbag
In regards to trade deadline -- I'm NOT for the White Sox adding Adam Dunn. I've enjoyed their transformation away from the plodding strikeout-prone slugger ( Jim Thome), and Dunn is a step backwards. Is it possible that the Sox extra bat in the second half could come from a turnaround of Gordon Beckham or A.J. Pierzynski or Mark Teahen (a la Carlos Quentin)? And who goes down when Teahen returns? Any chance of Scott Linebrink sent out -- it's a roster spot that Ozzie Guillen doesn't seem to use (plus the $)? -- Dennis Enrietta; Coal City

Dennis, you make great observations. Would there be any issue about adding a bat if Beckham, Pierzynski or Teahen hit with any proficiency in the first two months?

As long as Dayan Viciedo doesn't get much playing time, I can't see why they would keep him when Teahen returns. Viciedo needs to play, and he's not getting the playing time he needs to improve his defense. Teahen must show he can play third better than before his injury.

Linebrink will earn $5.5 million next year. That's a big chuck of money for the Sox to swallow. I can't see it happening.

Who is our No. 3 catcher on the bench? I don't like to second-guess Ozzie, but in the July 11 game, he pinched hit the DH with Ramon Castro. Now I know that if A.J. goes down he can put Castro in at catcher as long as the pitcher hits. If there was a situation where both catchers get hurt, who do we have in an emergency. -- John Chandler, AZ

I would say Brent Lillibridge by default. Ozzie never likes to play two catchers in the same game for this reason. That's why you saw guys like Jamie Burke linger in professional baseball for a long time, because of their ability to catch and play other positions.

Is there any truth to the rumor that the Sox are still strongly pursuing Roy Oswalt as a starter to fill Jake Peavy's spot, even though he seemed uninterested in joining the Sox and Tigers earlier. -- Jim Troksa; Schaumburg

Roy Oswalt wants to win, which is why he suggested to Houston ownership that it would be best to trade him. With Andy Pettitte out for about five weeks, I think the New York Yankees will make a stronger push -- especially after they lost out on Cliff Lee. Oswalt also is signed through 2011. The Sox would have three pitchers -- Peavy, Mark Buehrle and Oswalt -- making at least $14 million apiece if they acquired Oswalt. I think the price is too steep.

Attendance is always a question mark when it comes to the White Sox. I know the Sox have great fans, but they are inconsistent when it comes to supporting the team at the box office. I live in the southwest suburbs and would like to go to more games, but I don't want the expense of parking and the hassle of driving to the game. When is the Metra Rock Island 35th street train station going to be complete? And are there plans to build a train station along the southwest Metra train line? -- Brian Feehery; Frankfort

I would never tell fans how to spend their money, but I was surprised there wasn't a bigger crowd at the final home game of the first half against Kansas City.

Improving public transportation would be a huge plus to everyone. I know the Red Line gets plenty of use and stops at a convenient location. But a station near the park on the Southwest line would be beneficial. A worker at Target Field told me Sunday that their rail service accommodates about 16,000 Twins fans per game.

Assuming Dan Hudson is not quite ready for the big time and the Sox refuse to overpay for a starter, what are the chances they elevate either Tony Pena for Sergio Santos to the starting rotation? -- Sam A.; Irving, TX

I think it's too late to try to stretch Pena into a starting role for this season. He's certainly saved the Sox in the games when Buehrle was ejected at Cleveland and in the Kansas City game after Hudson was knocked out after four-plus innings.

I think Santos' future is as a late-inning reliever. He's got enough pitchers to be a decent starter, but the transition from a position player is smoother when he's used as a reliever.

It's all too good now for Sox fans. Are we in White Sox fantasy? Conversely, what do you thing could keep them "2005-like?" -- Scott McEwen; Glen Ellyn

Another injury to a starting pitcher or Matt Thornton would severely hurt the pitching staff. Committing errors like they did last Friday at Minnesota or not moving runners into scoring position as they failed Sunday would cost them in a tight pennant race.

A Brandon McCarthy-like effort from Hudson would be welcomed. A surge from Beckham, Pierzynski or Mark Kotsay would further enhance the offense. And perhaps Chris Sale could fortify the bullpen like Bobby Jenks did in the second half of 2005.

There has been a lot of talk about what is responsible for the June turnaround, starting pitching, hitters finally getting it done, more support off the bench. All are probably important, but winning the close games seems to be key. Any idea in the Sox's successful years whether having the advantage in close games made the difference? Thanks for pointing us in the right direction. -- Hank Balikov; Moorestown, N.J.

I firmly believe that starting pitchers must have some run support or some margin for error. With a runner at third, that pitcher must have the confidence to throw a low breaking pitch without fear of having it result in a wild pitch that scores the tying or winning run.