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Strong pitching core key to White Sox future

Strong pitching core key to White Sox future

Strong pitching core key to White Sox future

DETROIT -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke with the Chicago media for a little more than five minutes prior to Wednesday's game with the Tigers at Comerica Park.

At no time did he use the words rebuild, reshape, retool or reload. In fact, Hahn stayed absolutely true to his word in saying nothing about the trade rumors swirling around his team or the direction he has in mind for this group.

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While this substandard year amid a steady run of contention for the White Sox has sparked talk of wholesale team changes, the emphasis on pitching will not be altered. And when trying to figure out who the South Siders might move, remember they already have a pretty solid staff in their midst for 2013 and beyond.

"If you look at who we have under control right now going forward on the pitching staff, you see Chris Sale, and Jake [Peavy] is signed for next year," Hahn said. "You'll have John Danks even further away from surgery, which traditionally once a pitcher comes off of shoulder surgery, 18 months out is usually when they get back to full strength, which would put John closer to Opening Day next year even though he has performed great so far.

"Jose Quintana is blossoming into fulfilling a lot of his potential. And there are guys in the system, and [Hector] Santiago and [Dylan Axelrod] have done a nice job, and other guys coming who can round out a pretty solid starting rotation. That doesn't even get to the bullpen with [Addison] Reed and [Nate] Jones and the guys who have thrown well down there.

"We do feel that you have to start with the pitching," Hahn said. "You are going to compete in this league with the pitching, and we do feel we have the nucleus under control for a while going forward that is going to help us compete. The bulk of our struggles this year have been on the offensive side. That's something we are going to have to improve."

In order to improve and possibly even get younger on the offensive side, Hahn might deal one of his top pitching chips. It's unlikely he will gut a deep commodity that other teams often overpay for, and the White Sox also won't put themselves in position to rush prospects into filling needs possibly opened by trades.

"We're not going to rush guys up because there is an opening at position X," Hahn said. "We aren't going to put our best guy in the system in the big leagues because there's a need.

"We'll have to be careful these guys develop at their natural pace. We tend to be aggressive and give guys opportunities as soon as they prove they can handle it. But when a guy is going to make that jump to helping us in Chicago is going to be dictated by more their personal development case as opposed to our need."

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.

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