Logan confident he can deliver results

Logan confident he can deliver results

TUCSON, Ariz. -- If the phrase "Boone Logan, White Sox reliever" still causes looks of shock and surprise from even the most ardent and upbeat supporters of the South Siders, here's a little piece of comforting news delivered by the left-hander himself.

The 21-year-old Logan has no doubt he will be able to succeed at the Major League level. Make that, Logan has absolutely no doubts. Even when he was toiling for Great Falls in the Advanced Rookie Pioneer League over the past three years, his confidence never wavered.

"I never quit, and to be honest, that's something I never do," said Logan after a workout at Kino Sports Complex on Sunday morning. "I just kept going out and doing what I was doing.

"My confidence level is way up right now," Logan added.

Logan was a 20th-round, draft-and-follow selection from the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. But the White Sox didn't have to follow him very far once he joined the organization, as Logan pitched in 55 games for Great Falls from 2003-05. The results weren't exactly eye-popping, especially in the first two years, when his ERA was close to 6.00 and he walked 62 opposing hitters and allowed 150 hits over 131 1/3 innings.

Those numbers were primarily as a starter, but in 2005, Logan was moved exclusively to the bullpen. That change was far from his most significant.

Kirk Champion, the White Sox Minor League pitching coordinator, and Curt Hasler, the pitching coach for Great Falls, made a now very famous adjustment to Logan's delivery. Instead of throwing over the top, they had Logan throwing from a three-quarter angle.

The positive results were immediate at Great Falls, with Logan dropping his walk total to four in 35 1/3 innings. His success has carried over to Spring Training, where Logan's one inning of hitless relief against the Cubs on Saturday left him unscored upon in four games.

Originally, Logan's promotion from the Minor League camp seemed to be used as a wakeup call for the plethora of veteran relievers who weren't getting the job done to manager Ozzie Guillen's satisfaction in the battle for the last bullpen slot. Now, Logan is the favorite to make the White Sox with two weeks still remaining in Arizona, barring a trade.

It's a change from Great Falls to Chicago that Logan is eager to make. It's a big step up from extended Spring Training last April, mainly because of a new arm angle and the old confidence level.

"I try to ask that question of myself and I can't find an answer for it. It's kind of crazy," said Logan, who can reach 93 mph on the speed gun, as to how he remains so calm and cool in the face of this challenge. "It's so weird, but after I dropped down, it all seemed so natural.

"I've never thrown from that angle in my life. But it's so natural and so smooth. I'm so relaxed. Thankfully, they came around and helped me out for my arm slot. I give them a lot of credit.

spring training 2006
News and features:
• Konerko talks to MLB.com:  350K
• Dustin Hermanson on his spring:  350K
• Widger on George Mason, Final Four:  350K
• Scott Podsednik on his injury:  350K
• Anderson on fitting in:  350K
• Pierzynski talks to MLB.com:  350K
Spring Training info:
MLB.com coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

"If I didn't do something pretty quickly, I knew what was going to happen," Logan added. "I just wasn't getting the job done, and I was frustrated. They decided to do something about it, and that's what they did."

On the move: Just as Guillen is not afraid to take an untested left-handed reliever in Logan, whose highest level of competition was four games for Class A Winston-Salem in 2005, he has no problem adding Ryan Sweeney to the roster as the 25th man. Of course, general manager Ken Williams also would be involved somewhat in that decision, with the player development angle coming into play, and Sweeney could return to Triple-A Charlotte and be better served getting consistent, daily at-bats, at this point.

But Sweeney knows that he will get his work in through some other means if Guillen ultimately calls his name

"I would still work every day with [hitting coach Greg Walker]," Sweeney said. "I don't think it would be that big of a deal. My big thing is working on facing the pitchers and getting my timing down because my timing feels decent right now."

Sweeney entered Sunday with a .391 average, trailing only Josh Fields and A.J. Pierzynski in that particular Cactus League category among the White Sox. He is tied for the team lead with three home runs.

Fleet-footed outfielder Jerry Owens will not be making the trip to Chicago, as the future leadoff hitter was sent down to Charlotte this week. Owens hit only .167 in 24 at-bats. Left-handed reliever Paulino Reynoso also was reassigned to Charlotte, although Guillen believes he's close to being ready as a Major League reliever.

Names in the game: Razor Shines played 16 professional seasons, including 68 games with the Expos from 1983-87, before embarking on a highly successful Minor League coaching career. Shines, who will run the show for what looks to be a fairly young Charlotte team in 2006, begins his sixth season managing within the White Sox system. He has reached the playoffs three straight years.

They're No. 1: Josh Fields (2004) could make a strong claim for a roster spot, if he wasn't playing behind Joe Crede at third base. Fields leads the White Sox with a .450 average in Cactus League play, also ranking near the top with 21 total bases. He has three home runs, three doubles and seven RBIs. ... Brian Anderson (2003) hit his first spring home run Saturday against the Cubs. He had two hits in the game. ... Joe Borchard (2000) has been swinging the bat well in Arizona and also showed the ability to play center field earlier this week in Phoenix.

Class of '05: Clayton Richard never had much of a chance to play on the main stage while he was a second-string quarterback for the University of Michigan. But the left-handed hurler was front and center Sunday for the White Sox against Milwaukee in Maryvale.

Richard, who was selected in the eighth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, worked 1 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Richard finished 2-1 with a 2.85 ERA over 10 games at Great Falls last year, and 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in three games for Class A Kannapolis. Richard started 11 of those 13 contests.

Chris Carter, selected in the 15th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Las Vegas, struck out in both of his at-bats Saturday afternoon against the Cubs. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound third baseman hit 10 home runs for Bristol last year in just 233 at-bats.

What they're saying: "That's totally up to them. If they want me to be a part-time player, I'll be a part-time player. Whatever they need me to do, I'll come in and pinch-hit or pinch-run. I'd do it in a second." -- Sweeney, on making the White Sox even as a sporadically-used reserve

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