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White Sox continue leadoff man search

White Sox continue leadoff man search

The plea from Ozzie Guillen came before Thursday afternoon's loss to Kansas City, but was reiterated by the White Sox manager prior to Friday night's 12-5 drubbing at the hands of the Twins.

Guillen implored someone to take charge at the top of his batting order so he could avoid the daily questioning in regard to the leadoff role. Chris Getz found himself leading off for a second straight day, with Josh Fields moving into the second slot where he had 196 at-bats during the 2007 season.

Even with Friday's debacle factored in, Guillen just might have found a 1-2 punch that could have a chance to grow together. Getz reached base three times and picked up a stolen base, while Fields also reached base three times and drove home two.

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It's a definite plus for Guillen to settle on a particular lineup, although the top two and bottom two slots are the only ones really being juggled. If Guillen needs any help in finding the perfect hitting alignment, he told the media Friday that he simply needs to check his e-mail.

"I've got 35 lineups not really helping," said Guillen with a laugh. "I can't believe people give up so quick. I just laugh.

"We've been playing [four] games and we're just not hitting. We're playing well, we're playing pretty good baseball. But I think when you're not producing, all of a sudden a lot of people come with ideas. We've got to be patient."

Signs of life came from the offense on Friday, with Paul Konerko knocking out two hits, including his 299th career home run, and Carlos Quentin adding his first long ball of the year. Fields simply has continued on from his torrid spring, one of the reasons why Guillen moved him up in the order from his ninth spot.

Even Dewayne Wise, who seemingly was unfairly maligned after going hitless in his first two games, came up with two hits to break an 0-for-12 funk. Guillen might move Wise back to the leadoff spot if he starts connecting regularly once again, but for now, it looks like Guillen had his wish granted at the top.

Regardless of the fan suggestions coming in and the team average sitting at just .200, there's nobody in the clubhouse who doubts the White Sox will hit and hit consistently.

"Again, there's no need to panic," White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome said. "Just do your work and maintain what you are trying to do and things will turn around."

"We'll start to swing the bat better," Guillen said. "I think Carlos hopefully comes out of his shell. We are going to hit. We're just facing tough guys early."

Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Bartolo Colon (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Colon was as durable as any starter on the White Sox staff when he threw nine complete games for the team back in 2003. But after having bone chips removed from his pitching elbow in October, the White Sox don't expect a lot of nine-inning efforts from the burly right-hander. Colon made seven starts for the Red Sox last year but has made just 35 starts over the past three seasons combined. Colon's velocity topped out in the low 90s during his Cactus League starts.

MIN: LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 5.14 ERA)
Liriano didn't walk away with a win in his first career Opening Day outing, but the Twins were pleased with what they saw from the left-hander. He was able to pitch seven innings, allowing four runs on four hits. His trouble was limited to a couple of mistake pitches, including a hanging slider that he left up for Ken Griffey Jr. to hit for a home run. Liriano will face his first road test of the season when he takes on the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The lefty is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in two contests there.

Tidbits
Friday marked the first truly wintry game of the year, with game-time temperatures listed at 39 degrees and the wind coming out of the north at 22 mph. But don't talk to the White Sox about weather excuses at this point. "We know it's going to be cold here in April, so we have to deal with it," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. ... Konerko praised the White Sox fans for their strong show of respect for Joe Crede and praised the organization for the video tribute it put together for him. "After that, it was all downhill for us with him because he kind of hurt us early," said Konerko of Crede, who hit a home run, scored two runs and made a great play defensively at third base. "When it comes to Joe or any guy like that coming in, you want to get it over and get him out here because it feels strange playing against him." ... Alexei Ramirez finished 0-for-3 on Friday, meaning he is 0-for-13 this season. Ramirez stands as the only White Sox everyday player without a hit ... The White Sox never lost more than three straight at home in 2008 ... Quentin hit his first home run since Aug. 24, 2008, against Tampa Bay.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FOX

On radio
• WSCR 670

Up next
• Sunday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 0-0, 3.60) vs. Twins (Nick Blackburn, 0-0, 7.20), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 0-1, 2.57) at Tigers (Zach Miner, 1-0, 1.59), 12:05 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: White Sox (John Danks, 0-0, 0.00) at Tigers (Rick Porcello, 0-1, 7.20), 12:05 p.m. CT

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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