Notes: Sox try to solve West Coast

Notes: Sox try to solve West Coast

CHICAGO -- If some sort of secret formula exists to help a visiting team play winning baseball on the West Coast, Jon Garland, for one, hopes it becomes public very soon.

"We need to figure it out," said Garland, who takes his 8-0 record to the mound Monday night in the opener of a four-game set at Anaheim. "But if someone else figures it out, I wish they would tell us."

To say the White Sox have no luck on their trips to face the Angels would be a bit of an understatement. Try a 13-37 record at Anaheim during the last 10 years.

Of course, that West Coast record also includes trips in recent years to Oakland and Seattle. In this season of great change and even greater results, the White Sox have been dominant in one-run games, won a series at the Metrodome and taken care of their crosstown rivals heading into Sunday's finale at Wrigley Field.

But their first of two three-game losing streaks in 2005 began with two losses in Oakland, where they seem to have even less success than Anaheim.

"Maybe it's the time change, or maybe it's just one of those things," Garland said of the team's West Coast struggles. "We go out there with no luck, and even if we play well, nothing seems to go our way."

The White Sox actually received a major break when Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, meaning he will miss the entire series. Manager Ozzie Guillen counts Guerrero as one of his many close baseball friends and would rather beat the Angels at full strength than see one of the best players in the game sidelined.

There's no question, though, that Guerrero's absence helps the White Sox hurlers. Guillen isn't solely concerned about West woes with his team. The Angels are part of a key stretch of 20 games for the South Siders, in which they are facing some of baseball's best. Entering Sunday, the White Sox held a 6-3 record during this run.

"This month for us is tough with the traveling, time change, all that stuff," Guillen said. "We have to face a pretty good team in Anaheim. It's going to be another challenge.

"But we played Baltimore, Texas, the Cubs, Anaheim and then Texas again. It's not easy. My players know it. We've got to earn it, and that's what we're doing every day."

In reserve: Carl Everett's reward for a key two-run double in the eighth inning of Saturday's 5-3 victory was a return to the bench Sunday. Everett will be back in Monday's lineup against Anaheim, but without the designated hitter, has been relegated to pinch-hitting opportunities in two of the three games at Wrigley Field.

"I don't think anybody would say they enjoy pinch-hitting because everybody wants to play," Everett said. "But the mindset you have to have in that role is that you are going to help the team if that situation comes up.

"If you're a team guy, it really doesn't bother you. Me, I'm a team guy so I just want to win."

On the road again: Sunday marked the end of Dale Torborg's month-long run with the White Sox as their temporary director of conditioning. Torborg replaced Allen Thomas, who battled his way back from a serious bout of cellulitis in his left leg.

Torborg returns to his regular job within the organization, which is serving as the Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator. He travels from team to team and hires all the strength guys for each team.

"I'm sad to see it end, but I have to get back to the Minor League guys and roaming around," Torborg said. "The guys played great while I was here, so it was a lot of fun."

The younger Torborg, known as 'Demon' by the players from his days as a professional wrestler in the WCW, was not the only Torborg in town this past weekend. His father, Jeff, served as analyst on Saturday's FOX broadcast of the crosstown battle.

It was Jeff Torborg who once managed Guillen as part of the White Sox and made him a co-captain on his team. It also was the elder Torborg who hired Guillen to be a coach with Montreal, starting his ascension to his current managerial status.

"Ozzie was a terrific leader," Jeff Torborg said. "He's also one of the smartest guys I've ever been around. He's so quick. Sometimes, he's politically incorrect, but he's very quick."

   Jon Garland  /   P
Born: 09/27/79
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

A night at the fights: A number of White Sox players and coaches took in the return of professional boxing to Chicago on Saturday night at the United Center. Most of the talk centered on the undercard's excitement, and not Lamon Brewster's knockout of Andrew Golota in less than one minute during the heavyweight main event. But the players seemed to enjoy the experience.

"It was the first time I had ever been to a fight," Garland said. "The power of those guys was ridiculous."

Guillen, already known as a man of the people, gave a few Chicago citizens a thrill when he rode the bus home from the fights with pitcher Freddy Garcia, two of Guillen's sons and a friend of Guillen's kids. The White Sox manager didn't drive to the fight and couldn't find a cab. Guillen said that Garcia handled the pulling of the cord on the bus to indicate their stop.

Down on the farm: Felix Diaz threw five solid innings, and Jeff Bajenaru continued his dominance in relief with save No. 4, as Triple-A Charlotte topped Buffalo by a 2-1 margin Saturday. Mike Spidale had two hits in the victory. ... Charles Haeger improved to 7-0, allowing two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings, and Ehren Wasserman picked up his ninth save in Class A Winston-Salem's 3-2 win over Kinston. Wasserman has not allowed an earned run in 18 1/3 innings. ... West Tennessee pushed across three in the top of the 15th inning against Kris Honel, who slipped to 1-3, as Double-A Birmingham was on the short end of a 4-1 final. Paulino Reynoso's scoreless inning of relief lowered his ERA to 1.42.

Coming soon: Garland, one of six pitchers since 1969 to win his first eight starts, tries to win his 11th straight decision dating back to 2004 on Monday night in Anaheim. The right-hander hails from California, and will be pitching in front of family and friends.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.