Williams: White Sox 'focusing on their focus'

Williams: White Sox 'focusing on their focus'

Williams: White Sox 'focusing on their focus'
OAKLAND -- "Appreciate the Game" stands as the official slogan for the 2012 White Sox.

Prior to the White Sox second contest in a three-game series with the A's on Tuesday at the Coliseum, general manager Ken Williams might have put forth a secondary marketing campaign.

Williams came up with a good T-shirt slogan, at the very least, if the White Sox build off their excellent start.

Questions for Williams dealt with everything from possible extensions for pre-arbitration guys like Chris Sale and Philip Humber to the chances of the White Sox being buyers on the trade market as the season progresses. Williams stopped all ancillary conversations with the following sentence:

"Well, the only thing we are focusing on is our focus," said Williams with a smile.

So, what is the meaning behind the latest White Sox buzzword, potentially joining Winnin' Ugly and The Carlos Quentin? It's basically representative of Robin Ventura's managerial style, keeping the attention on nothing more than the game at hand.

But Williams went on to explain his specific comment.

"That means keeping distractions of any sort to a minimum. I would consider [contract discussions] right now a distraction," Williams said. "So I like the way that this club has adopted the personality of the coaching staff.

"It's really their own personalities, too. ... As we scouted all of them and as we made personnel [decisions], that's in their DNA as it is. It's a positive environment and, obviously, it's a club that's doing a lot of the things, the little things, to help [itself] win. It's nice to see."

This focusing on the White Sox focus has not become a concept reserved solely for Williams, Ventura and their respective staffs. Even potential free agents on the roster simply want to focus on doing right by this team.

Take Jake Peavy, as an example. The White Sox hold a $22 million contract option for 2013, but are far more likely to use a $4 million buyout -- even if Peavy continues to build on his amazing 3-0 start with a 1.88 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings.

Could that buyout be the start of a new deal between the White Sox and Peavy, assuming the tenacious right-hander goes through a healthy 2012 campaign? Even if it's a potential idea, Peavy doesn't let it enter his mind.

"[My focus is] start to start, and I'll be that way all the way through September," Peavy said. "I want to be healthy, and I feel so blessed to be able to be healthy.

"I hope that the fans do finally see that I'm healthy and I'm giving them everything [I've] got. I can promise you this: My effort level, energy, work in between starts, it has been no different. It's just I've been hurt."

Considering long-term deals for Sale or Humber, or looking at a new contract for Peavy or catcher A.J. Pierzynski could be revisited at some point, although Williams didn't mention any specific names or any timeframes. Right now is not the time for such conversations in Williams' mind, nor is it the time to talk about July plans if the team remains in contention.

Keep focusing on the focus, keep winning games and turn a good start into a good season.

"[Tuesday] is Game 2 of the Oakland series, and we're focused on that right now," Williams said. "I refuse to allow anybody's mindset to get ahead of today's job at hand. ... There will be a time for us to internally think about those [kinds] of things. But it's not a prudent thing to do right now, while we are trying to establish our identity. It's, 'How can we win today?'"

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.