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Ozzie happy for ex-Sox contributors

Ozzie happy for ex-Sox contributors

DETROIT -- After being primarily relegated to the bench during the White Sox American League Division Series against the Rays last year, Nick Swisher will find himself on the postseason center stage in just three days in New York.

And White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen certainly doesn't begrudge success for the gregarious Swisher.

"No. Why? He deserved it," Guillen said. "He earned it. [Xavier] Nady got hurt, and Swisher took advantage. We never said he was a bad player. He didn't perform the way we thought for us, and we made the decision to trade him. It's part of the game and I wish him well."

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Swisher was traded to the Yankees during the past offseason in exchange for utility infielder Wilson Betemit, pitcher Jeff Marquez and relief pitcher Jhonny Nunez. Of the three, Nunez seems to be the only one of the trio with a big league future in Chicago.

The trade, though, also was about Swisher not finding a fit under Guillen's leadership, a fit he seemed to find in the bright lights of New York.

"He was going to play center field again this year here," said Guillen of Swisher. "I don't think it worked out when we put him there."

Guillen actually credited Swisher for taking over the center-field and leadoff spots for the White Sox in 2008, when neither one was his customary role. Guillen also praised the 2008 work with the White Sox turned in by right-hander Javier Vazquez and shortstop Orlando Cabrera, although Vazquez was traded and Cabrera left via free agency.

Vazquez and Cabrera made a difference on their respective current teams, in Atlanta for Vazquez and now Minnesota for Cabrera. But despite a less than perfect departure in all three of these instances, Guillen certainly harbors no animosity toward any of them.

"Javy had a good year with Atlanta and Cabrera is helping the Minnesota Twins to win," Guillen said. "They helped me last year. Why can't they help someone else?"

"Good for them. They're not the reason we are in third place. We're in third place because we didn't play well. I think Cabby played good for us. Swisher, good for him. He got an opportunity and took advantage. He wasn't an everyday player. 

"Believe me, if Nick Swisher played for us the way he played for them, Nick Swisher would be with the White Sox now," Guillen said. "I guarantee that. But unfortunately, that didn't work out for him or us."

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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