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Quest to prove begins against Tribe

Quest to prove begins against Tribe

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CLEVELAND -- With one small exception, Ozzie Guillen is looking forward to Monday's Opener.

Of course, that small exception is actually a large exception. It's in the form of Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia, who will oppose the White Sox and Mark Buehrle in the 2:05 p.m. CT game.

"I'm sick and tired of seeing C.C. on Opening Day," Guillen said as his team worked out Sunday. "When the previous season is over, we know who we're going to be facing in the opener. Give me another ballclub to start the season with."

Even with the formidable task of facing Sabathia, the defending American League Cy Young Award winner, to open the season for the third straight year, Guillen is ready. Two years after winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox fell to 72-90 and finished fourth in the American League Central last season.

Guillen met with his players before they took the field Sunday. His message was simple: Forget 2007. No one is expecting much from the Sox this season, so go out and prove everyone wrong.

"Obviously, with the year we had last year, we shouldn't even be in the league," Guillen said. "In a way, maybe it's good. This gives us a chance to surprise a lot of people."

Guillen's never had a problem speaking frankly about himself and his team.

"Last year when they sang the national anthem, we were already down by a run," he said. "When we took the field, we were down by seven runs."

Guillen has good reason to think his club will be better. The White Sox were active in the offseason, adding outfielder Nick Swisher and shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the everyday lineup. Swisher, a switch-hitter, brings a good eye at the plate, while Cabrera, acquired from the Angels for pitcher Jon Garland, is one of the top all-around shortstops in the league.

Right-handers Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel were added in hopes they can strengthen the bullpen.

Buehrle has started six of the last seven openers for the Sox.

"Anytime you get a chance to start Opening Day, it's something special," he said.

Third baseman Joe Crede looks to be a go for the opener. Crede bruised his left ankle when he fouled a ball off his foot during Thursday's game. He started and had two at-bats in Saturday's Civil Rights Game.

"I'm doing a lot better," Crede said. "It felt good [Saturday]."

Unfortunately, Monday's weather forecast is far from ideal. The forecast calls for rain throughout the day.

Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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