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Springtime for Alexei

Some quick notes before a quick turnaround, as the White Sox and A's do it all over again in a rubber match at 1:05 CDT...

*Maybe it's because he saw snow for the first time this past winter, but Alexei Ramirez says he's seen colder in response to a question about his April success. After his two-for-Tuesday act, here's how Ramirez's first 10 games in 2011 stack up to those of his previous three seasons:

2011 45 11 1 1 3 5 7 .275 .356 .575
2010 36 6 1 0 1 0 7 .167 .167 .278
2009 38 5 0 0 0 3 8 .143 .211 .143
2008 25 4 2 0 0 1 5 .167 .200 .250


Normally we'd point at the small sample size and laugh, but this particular small sample has proven problematic for Ramirez over his entire career. When he's scoring runs and driving them in at the bottom of the order, pitchers all of a sudden have three levels to work through instead of two. By no coincidence, they're scoring more runs than usual this April. This is a very, very pleasant development.

*Ozzie Guillen cared not for the repeated Bronx cheers that followed every Juan Pierre catch:

"I know we’re not playing well, we’ve made a couple mistakes there that cost us a couple games, but every time we catch the ball and fans are going to boo, I don’t think that’s fair," Guillen said. "I think I know we all want to win, but every fly ball we’re going to get booed? Don’t kick them in the back when they’re down. Try to support them.

"I don’t see any better center fielder than Alex and the way Juan plays for the White Sox the past couple years, I don’t think he deserves that every fly ball he catches people booing him. You’re going to boo someone, boo me. Because I’m the one who makes the lineup and I’m the one who plays those guys."

I'm with him. I'm all for sarcastic applause for the first chance after a drop, but I fail to see what repeating it accomplishes - except for maybe a lot of smug, self-satisfaction.

*Lastings Milledge cleared waivers, as Larry linked to earlier, and Brett Ballantini tweeted that the other clubs were "scared of his defense." Apparently, that will be Job One for Milledge as he heads back to Triple-A.

I thought it was fitting that Jeff Gray, who replaced Milledge on the roster, hadn't yet pitched, while the need for a right-handed bat arose in the first game against Oakland. Given Randy Williams' miniscule workload last year, I'd figured that 6 1/2 pitchers was the only true ideal amount of relievers. Fortunately(?), Edwin Jackson has put Gray in a position to be useful by lasting only 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday.

(And the Ramirez homer seemed to ease any tension between Jackson and Guillen.)


Christian Marrero Reading Room

*Kenny Williams will look inside the organization for a new director of international scouting. He wants the evaluators to be trained "the White Sox way," but perhaps after the Dave Wilder scandal, he should be more specific about what that means.

*Phil Humber shied away from using his new cutter against the Rays, so that pitch was the focus of his side session.

*White Sox Observer breaks down the beer movement at U.S. Cellular Field.

*Oral Sox has a new podcast (well, it was posted late Sunday).

*A Danish tech company is digging even deeper into pitching data, and their findings may have an effect on scouting. Terms like "fastball extension" (how close the release point is to the plate) and "spin rate" (the more RPM, the better the curve/slider) could work their way into the vernacular.