ARLINGTON -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen confirmed that Scott Podsednik's playing time will be reduced in the season's final month as the team assesses Josh Fields' capability as an outfielder. But Guillen said Wednesday that sparse September usage won't necessarily spell the end of Podsednik's three-year stay in Chicago. "At this particular time, I don't know," Guillen said, "because we don't know that Josh Fields is going to be our left fielder next year. We put him there just to see how he can handle that situation, because right now is the right time." Guillen met with Podsednik on Tuesday to explain the club's plans, but on Wednesday the outfielder declined to answer questions about that talk or address his future with the White Sox. Podsednik could be a free agent for the first time this winter if the Sox don't offer salary arbitration.
Podsednik said he was "within days" of being fit to start again for the first time since Aug. 21, when he strained a muscle near his right rib cage. Whether the opportunity will be there now appears doubtful. "He knows it's going to be a tough situation," Guillen said. "I told him I will find a spot to get him a few games in a row, some at-bats. But he has to understand. We're looking forward to seeing Fields a little bit more in left field. I will give [Podsednik] some at-bats. But how many at-bats I'm going to give, that's a bit tough to call." Fields, who started 72 games at third base after Joe Crede was felled by back surgery on June 12, made his fourth consecutive start in left field Wednesday in Texas. Andy Gonzalez got his fourth start at third base. The Sox interest in retaining Podsednik seems to hinge on Crede's prognosis for 2008 and Fields' ability to adapt to an outfield role. "If we decide Crede is not coming back, or they're going to do something with Crede, or we say this kid [Fields] cannot play the outfield, then we make a different decision," Guillen said. "But right now, the only reason I wouldn't count [Podsednik] out is because we don't know yet. Josh Fields has to show us how he can play there." Dye job: Jermaine Dye missed his first start since Aug. 5 on Wednesday, as Guillen decided to give his hottest hitter a night off and start Darin Erstad in right field. Entering Wednesday, Dye had reached base safely in 19 of his last 20 games. In his last 24 games, Dye is 29-for-87 (.333) with seven doubles, seven home runs and 14 RBIs. Since the All-Star break, no player in baseball tops Dye in home runs (14), extra-base hits (27) or slugging percentage (.652). Blunt assessment: Texas-based media members are making quite a bit of former Rangers prospect John Danks' return to Texas. After spending four years as the Rangers' most-touted Minor League pitching prospect, Danks was traded to the White Sox for right-hander Brandon McCarthy last December. Asked which team got the best end of the deal, Guillen said, "McCarthy will help the Texas Rangers, but Danks has been pretty good and he's been there for us all year. But, to me, right now ... both teams are in last place, so who cares about the trade?" Danks enters his Thursday start with a 6-12 record and 5.51 ERA after 24 starts, taking every turn since the season began. McCarthy is 5-8 with a 4.79 ERA and is on the disabled list for the second time this season. Century mark for Uribe? Shortstop Juan Uribe entered Wednesday with 99 career home runs, including two in the last five games. However, Uribe also was in the throes of a deep hitting slump, going 4-for-38 (.105) since Aug. 18. Since the start of the 2004 season, Uribe has homered 75 times. That ranks second among all Major League shortstops in that span, trailing Baltimore's Miguel Tejada (100) and leading Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins (74), Milwaukee's Bill Hall (73 as a shortstop) and Texas All-Star Michael Young (67). Up next: Danks is scheduled to face the team that originally drafted him when he opposes Texas right-hander Kevin Millwood (8-11, 5.31) in Thursday's finale of this three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.