Notes: As in real estate, it's location

White Sox notes: Location counts most

CHICAGO -- Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle haven't exactly produced their desired records or earned run averages during the first two-thirds of the 2006 season. They also appear to be consistently missing at least 2 or 3 mph off their fastballs from years past, as shown by current speed gun readings.

It's a frequently mentioned point that could be attributed to the number of innings thrown by these hurlers over the past five years, including an extra month to win a World Series in 2005. But a fastball at 93 or 94 mph, in Garcia's case, or 91 mph in Buehrle's case, is not a necessity for either one to be successful.

"Too much is made of it," said Garcia. "I don't think velocity matters as much as location.

"You can throw whatever, but it's like if you throw 95 and don't hit the spot where you want to throw the ball, you are going to get hit."

Sandy Alomar Jr., who was behind the plate Monday night catching Buehrle, said he's seen the same sort of situation play out with the Cleveland pitching staff during the mid- to late 90s, when the Indians were going to the playoffs on a yearly basis. But Alomar also pointed to a pitcher such as Greg Maddux as an example of a master craftsman on the mound, despite rarely, if ever, throwing a pitch above the low 90s even in his prime.

Fastball velocity never stands as an important intangible for pitching coach Don Cooper, aside from making sure the differential between certain pitches is copasetic. Basically, it's up to an individual White Sox starter to get the job done in each and every start, regardless of what he brings in from the bullpen.

"I've never seen any of our pitchers not have enough stuff leaving the bullpen to get the job done," Cooper said. "I don't expect to see it. If you locate pitches, get ahead and throw strikes, and use both sides of the plate, you have a chance to win. If you don't make enough of those pitches, your chances for success are less."

"If you don't have it, you have to locate," Alomar added. "They might be tired, but if these guys can locate, they will be OK."

Pain in the back: With Joe Crede returning to the lineup Monday after a one-game absence, the full injury concern shifted to shortstop Juan Uribe and his sore lower back. Uribe was scheduled to have an X-ray taken, and while he was not on the field during pregame hitting and drills, Uribe was seen talking briefly to the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero before Guerrero's team hit.

Manager Ozzie Guillen hopes to have Uribe back for Tuesday's series opener against the Yankees. But if he's sidelined for more than two or three games, then a trip to the disabled list is possible.

"The last couple of days he hasn't taken any ground balls and hasn't swung the bat, so we're going to see how he feels," said the White Sox manager of Uribe, hitting .246 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs. "If Crede couldn't play today, I said we would talk about what we're going to do.

"If Uribe's not ready, I'm not going to play with one guy. If Uribe's not ready, I think I have enough players to cover it up. If he's not ready in the next couple of days, I will suggest [putting] him on the disabled list and see what happens."

Uribe's lower back issues often lead to tight hamstrings for the shortstop, according to Guillen, adding that Uribe is not a big exercise guy in order to get loose.

"He never does anything except get a glove and play," Guillen said. "God gave him so much talent that this kid can get out of bed and play. He is not a guy that has to prepare physically to go out and compete."

Jorge Velandia or Angel Gonzalez would be the most likely replacements for Uribe, coming from Triple-A Charlotte. The White Sox also could bring up third baseman Josh Fields, using Alex Cintron and Pablo Ozuna primarily up the middle.

Pick a side: The first-place Detroit Tigers, leading the White Sox by nine games entering Monday, play host to the Twins, trailing the White Sox by one-half game in the Wild Card standings, over the next three days. But the South Siders surveyed Monday didn't seem to have a preference between the two.

"You know, we root for ourselves," said designated hitter Jim Thome with a broad smile. "We root for us to win and worry about all that later. That's the tough part because you want those teams to lose, but you can't get wrapped up into that."

"Do I have any preference? Not really," added Guillen, who mentioned he would be watching the scoreboard during the series. "I just have to worry about my club."

No hard feelings: Guillen issued a warning to Texas starter Vicente Padilla before his last trip to Chicago, after Padilla hit A.J. Pierzynski twice during a previous game in Texas. No such warning was given by Guillen for Kelvim Escobar, who also had previous issues with Pierzynski, and hit him with a pitch on April 29, causing a war of words between Guillen and Escobar. Guillen's feelings had nothing to do with Pierzynski being absent from Monday's lineup. Escobar started for the Angels.

"Between me and Kelvim, there's nothing. It's not a big deal," Guillen said. "I think we're going to keep saying the same things we say -- I respect him as a man, I respect him as a player.

"I think for now, in my side, we move on and hopefully we win the game."

Down on the farm: Lance Broadway pushed over the .500 mark at 8-7 by allowing one run on eight hits over six innings during Double-A Birmingham's 2-1 victory at Tennessee on Sunday. Broadway struck out three and walked one, lowering his earned run average to 2.72 ... Clayton Richard struck out six over 7 2/3 innings, yielding two earned runs, and raised his record to 6-5 as part of Class A Kannapolis' 4-2 victory over Delmarva. Paulo Orlando picked up stolen base No. 25 in the victory ... Lee Cruz had three hits, including his fourth home run, and drove in four during Great Falls' 8-4 loss to Billings.

Up next: Although Garcia (10-7, 4.87) has not won over his last three starts, the right-hander's ERA sits at a respectable 3.66 during that time frame. Garcia opens the three-game set on Tuesday against the Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang (13-4, 3.58), with Garcia carrying a 4-3 lifetime record when facing New York and a 4.23 ERA.

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