Notes: Cold bats turning warmer

Notes: Cold bats turning warmer

KANSAS CITY -- Nothing cures cold bats like warm weather. At least that's what White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen has seen throughout his career. The Sox entered Monday ranked 11th in the American League in scoring with 68 runs and last in the league in hitting with a .224 average. They scored only two runs in three games from April 14-17. Since that time, they have plated 29 runs in five games.

"I don't think it's just the White Sox, but everybody in baseball is swinging the bat better," Guillen said.

Guillen said it's just no fun when you go out and perform in cold weather -- everything hurts and the ball doesn't carry. "It gets to you mentally, too."

"The weather looks like it's turned the corner," said Jim Thome. Thome backs up that assertion with eight hits in his last 14 at-bats. He is hitting .464 over his last 12 games. His 12-game total includes four home runs, six RBIs and 21 walks.

The overall Sox batting averages are far below previous seasons and 2007 expectations. Besides Thome, only Scott Podsednik is hitting above .300, and he is currently on the 15-day disabled list. But the last dozen games have given them hope.

Jermaine Dye has bumped his average to .220 and has driven in 12 runs in the past 11 games. Joe Crede now sits at .231 after going 6-for-20 with a home run and five RBIs in his last five games. Tadahito Iguchi sits at .267 and has reached based in 12 of his last 13 games. He is hitting .350 on the road but only .200 at home.

Hall gets a pass: Reserve catcher Toby Hall took live batting practice for the first time Monday. He said he felt great and thought he could go out and play right now. He also admitted he was still having trouble throwing but did throw from 140 feet on Monday.

Hall suffered a dislocated right shoulder in Spring Training. He opted for rehabilitation rather than what would have been season-ending surgery. The Sox had counted on Hall to play against left-handers, particularly those tough ones in the AL Central. Gustavo Molina has served as A.J. Pierzynski's backup since the start of the season.

Leading off? Thome leads the Sox with a sparkling .563 on-base percentage, but don't expect him to start lobbying for the leadoff spot in the batting order. Thome has drawn an MLB-high 25 walks on the season, but he also has 477 career home runs.

"Walks have always been a big part of my game," said Thome. "You try to have good at-bats and make sure you don't go out of your zone."

Podsednik has the best OBP of the other Sox leadoff men at .378. Darin Erstad and Pablo Ozuna has also batted first this season.

Slump buster: Guillen has no intention of benching slumping 1st baseman Paul Konerko.

"The only way you come out of a slump is by playing," said Guillen. "He's tried to carry this ballclub, and that's something nobody can do."

Konerko is hitting just .130, 6-for-46 over his last 12 games. He has not homered since Opening Day.

Cintron update: Guillen reported he expects infielder Alex Cintron back with the team for the next series in Chicago. Cintron left the team because of a family medical emergency. Guillen said Cintron's grandfather is still not in good condition.

Farm fresh: Double-A Birmingham got a strong pitching performance from Gio Gonzlez in a loss at Mississippi. The 21-year old left-hander struck out 12 in just six innings. He has a 3-1 record and a 1.69 ERA for the Barons. Opposing hitters are batting only .164 against him. Gonzalez came to the Sox in the Freddy Garcia trade.

Coming up: The White Sox will end their two-game series with the Royals on Tuesday night. Javier Vasquez (2-0, 2.50) will pair off against Kansas City's Brian Bannister, who will be making his first start of the season. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. CT.

The Sox return home Wednesday for a two-game set with Detroit.

Max Utsler is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.