Notes: Duo honors Virginia Tech

Notes: Duo honors Virginia Tech

CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen added a touch of high class to Wednesday night's postgame celebration by wearing a baseball cap featuring the initials "VT" into the U.S. Cellular Field Conference and Learning Center following Buehrle's no-hitter.

The initials stood for Virginia Tech, and wearing the hat was done as a sign of honor to the 32 individuals who lost their lives during Monday's senseless atrocity in Blacksburg. Guillen was given the hat by Ed Farmer, the White Sox radio play-by-play announcer, and then he offered the hat to Buehrle before he sat down behind the microphones. Buehrle immediately agreed to put it on for his talk with the media.

When asked about the origins of the cap and his decision to wear it during Thursday's pregame chat with the media, Guillen was very eloquent in describing his heartfelt feelings concerning Monday's on-campus tragedy.

"It was something that I looked at and said, 'I have three kids -- two are in college and one in high school,'" Guillen said. "You look at yourself and it makes you worry about what kind of life we're living -- and not just here -- everywhere in the world.

"I feel for the parents because the [slain] could have been a great representative for their country -- two Puerto Rican guys got killed there. It's a shame what has happened. And it's college. It can happen somewhere else, but when it happens, when it's our future and it's our people who could do a lot of great stuff for our countries, it's a shame that some people come with ideas and think that way and take away people's lives with no reason."

Guillen offered up a very direct opinion for any other hateful individual who would take his or her individual troubles out on innocent people.

"Don't kill people that don't have anything to do with your miserable life. And I always believe that," Guillen said. "I have kids that go to school, I have friends with kids that go to school and I feel for the parents. I feel for the families.

"That's why I wore that hat. I think people will look themselves in the mirror and ask, 'What kind of life are we living?' Hopefully, that never happens again and we'll be aware a little bit more.

"The thing is, we always wait until something wrong happens and then all the sudden we take care of that," he added.

Pitching proudly: As the constant criticism was hurled at the White Sox starting rotation during a very rough Spring Training, pitching coach Don Cooper remained quiet. He understood that the elevated numbers weren't completely indicative of the collective potential possessed by his front five, with each start geared more at pitchers getting their respective work or focusing on specific pitches.

Now that the White Sox starters find themselves in a dominant stretch of 11 games, Cooper has opened up a bit concerning what he perceived as unfair and unwarranted critique.

"They took a lot of hits in Spring Training, and I thought that was not only unfair ... but it was the lay people not knowing what Spring Training is all about and what the goal is at Spring Training and what goes on in Arizona," Cooper said. "I had to keep telling myself, as difficult as it was to watch, wait a minute because nobody knew our record in 2005, 2006, 2003 or 2004 during Spring Training. It's all about getting pitches and innings and the arms ready to go.

"It's what we've always done. This Spring Training was exceptionally rough, I thought, on everyone. Now I see what we are doing, and we still don't take anything for granted. But I'm thinking about all the questions at the start after one horrible game from Jose [Contreras] and one mediocre game by [Jon Garland]."

White Sox starters entered Thursday's series finale against Texas with a 2.33 ERA over the last 11 games. During that stretch, the White Sox have given up just 65 hits, walked 33 and struck out 73 in 96 2/3 innings.

"I knew what we would have, and we had a chance to be pretty good," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of the pitching. "It was just down to them believing in it. We tried to get them believing all spring that they could do what we thought they were capable of, and so far, it's been pretty darn close."

Debt collector: For the past five years, Buehrle and Garland had a running bet as to which one of the pitchers would throw a no-hitter first. The sum of the bet was not revealed, but it's believed to be much greater than a dinner or two or even an all-expense paid vacation.

Buehrle said he didn't plan on collecting after Wednesday's performance. As of Thursday afternoon, the negotiations still were ongoing.

"I'm not a gambling man," said Garland with a wry smile. "Yeah, it definitely is under negotiations -- when he comes to and figures out what he wants or what's it going to be."

Garland, in the second season of a three-year, $29 million deal, admitted the bet was not exactly skewed in his favor from the start.

"I'm not tricking anyone out there," Garland said. "But that guy is amazing. I knew it would be him before it would be me, if ever. It's not something easily done. With the stuff he has and the type of pitcher I am, that's how it's going to be."

Making history -- with the bat: Jim Thome's three home runs during the Texas series moved the prolific slugger into sole possession of 24th place on the all-time list, trailing Frank Thomas by 11. Thome took great pride in being associated with the players he passed during this series, Stan Musial and Willie Stargell, as opposed to looking ahead.

"Look at what they accomplished. It's special," Thome said. "When you have an opportunity to be in a category like that or have your name mentioned with those guys, it's a pleasure as a fan, a guy who liked the old-school baseball the way they played it. It's hard to really put in words how you feel when you do that. It's pretty cool to hear it mentioned.

"Both were very good left-handed hitters. You go with St. Louis, and Stan is the guy, and Willie was an icon in Pittsburgh for a lot of years."

Down on the farm: Jack Egbert turned in another quality start for Double-A Birmingham, allowing one run on four hits while striking out two over six innings against Montgomery on Wednesday night. Thomas Collaro had three more hits, including his third home run, and three RBIs in the Barons' 6-4 loss. ... Charlie Haeger was knocked around for seven runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, dropping to 0-2, as Ottawa topped Triple-A Charlotte, 7-4. Ryan Sweeney had two hits in the loss. ... Micah Schnurstein drove in three runs during Class A Winston-Salem's 7-4 victory at Myrtle Beach. The Warthogs lead the Carolina League with a .268 average and 59 runs scored.

On deck: The last two American League champions meet for the first time during the 2007 season Friday night at Comerica Park, with a 6:05 p.m. CT first pitch. Rookie John Danks starts for the White Sox, with Chad Durbin getting the call for the Tigers.

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