"He's going to be a huge addition to the White Sox," Fields added.
Quentin and Fields became friends through their profession, as both players are with the same agency, an agency that sends them for a brief period to Florida during the offseason for extensive training geared toward preparation for the upcoming regular season. The friendship has transcended baseball, though, with Quentin attending Fields' wedding and Fields planning to stay with Quentin during the upcoming Super Bowl weekend.
So, Fields knows a little bit about Quentin, the person and the competitor. And the reviews from the White Sox rookie stalwart paint this particular Hot Stove addition in a very positive light.
"If he's healthy, he's definitely legit. He's going to add energy and excitement," said Fields of Quentin, who is battling back from October arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his left labrum and a tear in his left rotator cuff, limiting him to a .214 average over 229 at-bats last season with Arizona. "We have a competitive friendship, and if I'm still with the White Sox, I'll look forward to him pushing me."
From the first conference call addressing the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera, White Sox general manager Ken Williams talked about keeping the shortstop as more than a one-year stopover.
With other targets remaining on his Hot Stove radar, Williams hasn't moved into deep negotiations with Cabrera's camp. But the thought of extending Cabrera's stay in Chicago still exists.
"We've got other things we need to get to before we get there," said Williams of Cabrera, who will earn $9 million in the final season of a four-year deal. "We'll see how it goes.
"We've expressed to them a willingness to discuss it, and they've expressed to us a willingness to hear it."
As for the present focus, don't look for one-time Cubs ace Mark Prior to be moving across town.
"No, not at this time," said Williams, when asked directly about the White Sox having interest in the right-handed hurler.
Spreading the word:
Jerry Owens spent part of the offseason in South Africa on a mission trip through a baseball chapel, teaching the game to youngsters for just under two weeks. Aside from adjusting to the blazing start of summer in South Africa, when winter was beginning in the United States, it was a great experience for the young outfielder.
"There were a few older kids, in their early teens, and they had never seen baseball or even a glove," Owens said. "We were teaching the game, from the very, very beginning.
"Some kids had seen it before, having played cricket over there. But just showing them the idea of what the game is about, it was cool to teach them. It was an awesome, awesome experience."
Spirit of the season:
Injuries prevented Darin Erstad from making the impact he wanted to on the field during his one year with the White Sox. Yet, Erstad's presence certainly was felt through his contributions in the community off the field.
Before leaving Chicago for California, Erstad and his wife, Jessica, contacted the White Sox in order to find an organization where they could donate various belongings from their totally furnished local apartment.
According to Christine O'Reilly, the White Sox senior director of community relations, a number of their baby things and toys were donated to Children's Home + Aid, a group with which the White Sox have forged a partnership through charitable work with Jim and Andrea Thome and Paul and Jennifer Konerko. There also was a flat-screen television and a VCR/DVD player donated to the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.
"They have something called a White Sox dugout there, which is a conference room they use when they are bringing kids in who will become residents of Mercy Home," O'Reilly said. "So, we decked it out with White Sox stuff to create a comfortable sports sort of thing, and they put the TV in there."
Dishes and kitchenware were donated by the Erstads and the White Sox to the Teen Living Project, an agency the White Sox work with that takes homeless teens and gets them toward independent living. Some lucky teens will be able to move on with a fully furnished kitchen, thanks to the Erstads.
"We will miss him on the field, but we will miss him in the community relations department, as well," O'Reilly said of Erstad. "I think that shows the kind of people they are."
End of an era?
After spending parts of 17 seasons playing Minor League baseball, along with parts of eight seasons in the Majors, Ernie Young apparently has called it a career. The 38-year-old Chicago native knocked out 13 home runs in each of his last two seasons for Triple-A Charlotte and finished as the active Minor League leader with 327 long balls. Young is expected to take a job within the White Sox system.