The Chicago Cubs have reportedly claimed Scott Podsednik off of waivers, giving the two clubs until Monday to make a deal that would move the 2005 World Series hero to the North Side.
Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano is due to miss at least a month thanks to a quad injury, leaving Chicago's National League club in need of some emergency relief. The emergence of rookie Jerry Owens and the return of Darin Erstad off the disabled list has created a logjam in the Sox outfield and moving Podsednik could be the answer.
The deal is far from done. Players are claimed on a regular basis with little fanfare, but the prospect of Podsednik joining the Cubs has generated some buzz around Chicago. Neither Podsednik nor Guillen had heard about the Cubs claim when questioned about it before Friday's game.
"Players being placed on waivers and players getting claimed on waivers happens far more frequently than is reported with the smattering of players that leak out," said White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn, who could not comment directly on Podsednik because of league rules. "Some clubs place their entire teams on waivers, some clubs place two-thirds of their roster on waivers.
"The fact that a specific player was or was not placed on waivers, or that a specific player was claimed by a club, is not indicative of the likelihood of a deal or the requesting club's willingness to make a deal. It is just part of the business this time of year."
The White Sox can opt to pull Podsednik off of waivers at any point during potential negotiations with the Cubs or relinquish his contract with nothing in return. The Sox cannot receive any player from the Cubs that has not previously cleared waivers and is on the 40-man roster.
"There's so much speculation on which guy's going where and what player's going here and things of that sort," Podsednik said. "Players can spend a lot of time and energy on getting caught up in that stuff. With what we're trying to accomplish here, there's no room for it. So, I'm not going to waste my time trying to sit here and figure it out or speculate on what it would be like to go play for another organization."
If the Sox did elect to move Podsednik, the Cubs would be accountable for the remaining portion of his salary for 2007, about $800,000.
"Rumors are rumors," Guillen said. "I'm happy for him because somebody wants him. But everyone goes through waivers. Believe it or not, with the people we put on wiavers, I might be right now. Maybe someone can claim me."
Tough talk: With the talk of Podsednik potentially moving on to the Cubs, Guillen was careful to emphasize the speedster's value to the club, despite previously questioning his toughness.
"He's unreliable, there is no doubt," Guillen said on July when Podsednik headed to the disabled list for the second time with a rib cage injury.
Before Friday's game, Guillen took time to clarify those comments.
"I said he wasn't available," Guillen said. "I will never say that about my players. I have a ring on my finger and a lot of people in this organization have a ring on their fingers because of him. When that was coming out, I had a meeting with my team and explained what I mean and not the way it came out.
"I'm not saying they misquoted me. That is what I said. But I said it because he wasn't available. One thing about Scott, is that even when he struggled last year, he was in the lineup everyday. When you look at the second half of last season, he was really struggling at the end, I believed in that kid as a leadoff hitter and I put him there."
With Owens' recent success, Podsednik has been hitting in the seventh spot in the Sox order, a change after hitting leadoff for most of his Chicago career. Podsednik was on the disabled list from April 16 to June 22 with a strained right adductor and back on from July 3 to July 23 with a strained left rib cage muscle. The White Sox are 20-11 this year in games started by Podsednik.
Nothing but a hound dog: Friday night was the annual Elvis Night at the ballpark, an event that usually sells out before the season even begins.
The festivities started before the game, with an Elvis impersonator singing the National Anthem. Three men dressed as Elvis also parachuted onto the field before first pitch.
Even Guillen got into the act.
"I'm not going to dress like Elvis," Guillen said. "Maybe I'll dress like Pancho Villa."
Down on the farm: Former Major Leaguer Dewon Day pitched an inning of scoreless relief for Triple-A Charlotte, but it was not enough as the Knights fell, 9-8, to Richmond on Thursday. Jason Bourgeois finished 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. ... Chris Carter continued his breakout season with a double and RBI for Class A Kannapolis in a 5-4 win over Lake County on Thursday. Carter leads the South Atlantic lead with 23 home runs and 52 extra-base hits. ... Hancer Vargas knocked in the game-winning run in the ninth inning to help Rookie League Bristol to a 5-4 win against Greeneville on Thursday.
Up next: Gavin Floyd (1-1, 7.08) will make his fourth start of the season on Saturday night for the White Sox at 6:05 CT. The wild-card leading Mariners will counter with veteran right-hander Miguel Batista (11-8, 4.17).
Alex Gyr is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less