Zero is just a placeholder

It's rare that I bother reading Mark Gonzales' Q&A columns. Most of the questions are terrible, and I'd rather ask get my questions answered directly by Kenny or Ozzie. I might have to start reading more often if more of the questions went like this:

With only two dependable starting pitchers, a group of middle relief pitchers that I wouldn't trust against any team competing in the Little League World Series, and a group of veterans whose offensive skills have grown much worse [as] they have aged, can you offer any reason(s) why I should be optimistic about next year? If possible, please avoid using the name 'Torii Hunter' in your answer. Thanks. -- Robert Rich, Ossining, N.Y.
So which one of you is Robert Rich?

Also featured in this week's mailbag, SoxMachine's very own, Jim Margalus.

Hi Mark, One thing I wonder about Greg Walker -- are there any White Sox hitters he can point to as success stories? Frank Thomas took Juan Uribe under his wing (whatever happened to the Hriniakian toe tap?); Walker said Joe Crede solved his own problems during a DL stint late in 2005. Jim Thome still points to Charlie Manuel (the reason behind Aaron Rowand's All-Star season?), Ozzie is credited for keeping Paul Konerko loose enough to avoid 2003 repeats. I remember Brian Anderson crediting Walker for changing the way he held his bat, which made his offensive production near passable in the second half of '06, but nobody else comes to mind. Are there any stories I'm missing? -- Jim Margalus, Albany, N.Y.

Konerko is a big supporter of Walker and realizes the criticism that Walker is receiving is painful. Walker has a strong professional relationship with his players, including A.J. Pierzynski. Walker is making sure the hitters aren't taking shortcuts.

Short.Cuts. Yes, you read that right. Gonzales answered a question about Greg Walker and the Sox anemic offense using the term SHORT!CUTS! Not surprisingly, he wasn't referring to the length of their swings.
*****

In other news, (wiz)

  • Cowley thinks Kenny will trade Jon Garland for a couple relievers. Yeah, Kenny is the one who pays top dollar for his relievers.
  • Scot Gregor expects the Sox to go after a CF/leadoff hitter.
  • Jim on the death of Charles Comiskey II.
  • Rick Ankiel linked to HGH?
  • The Daily Herald's Ted Cox reviews Hawk & DJ booth performance. DJ's deceptively dry wit? DJ brings out Hawk's qualities? What?

And here's the latest Palehose 7 strip: Slow Death.

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