Williams not panicking over slow start

Williams not panicking over slow start

CHICAGO -- The question was posed to Ken Williams prior to Monday's series opener vs. the Royals as to what personal description he would place on the White Sox 10-15 start to the 2010 season.

"Disappointed? Angry? Surprised?" were ideas suggested by the reporter making the inquiry.

"You're doing pretty good yourself," quipped Williams. "All those words. There's a few more I can throw into the mix."

Panic, though, still has not found its way into Williams' vocabulary.

It was just two weeks ago when Williams addressed the media following the White Sox 4-9 start. At that time, he talked about needing 60 games to fully assess his team's start and how he had learned to simply change the channel if he was watching from home when the White Sox were losing.

Patience definitely has become a virtue Williams learned on the job over the past decade.

And what was Williams' response on Monday when asked about his 10-15 squad, tied for last place in the American League Central with its opponent at U.S. Cellular Field?

"In another month, I'll answer that question," Williams said. "I'd like it to take only a few days, but if I evaluate the team on the performance so far, it wouldn't be such a great evaluation. So we'll wait.

"I'd really like to tell a white lie right now, but if I said I had a lot of patience, you'd call me on it. Let's just say I'm patient enough."

Patience has been tough to practice, with the White Sox last in the AL in batting average at .223 and last in starting pitchers' ERA at 5.30 entering Monday's action. Where the struggles of Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy are concerned, as an example, Williams has learned the less he says, the less pressure he places on even seasoned veterans to fight through the early trouble.

"Whether it's your offense or certain pitchers or hitters, if I come out and make a pronouncement of some sort that we need to do this or that, it's headlines across the paper or on every radio or news station," Williams said. "Then, it's a sure-fire way to make it worse and make the guys press a little bit more. I'm relegated to sitting back.

"Listen, we go up and down our lineup. These guys aren't career .150 hitters. They're not career .200 hitters. We got some pretty good guys out there that certainly are better than what they've shown. Relax and have some fun with it, and make May much better than April."

As far as trade possibilities, with San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez churning through the rumor mill once again this past weekend, Williams explained how talk will pick up in the next 30 games but there isn't much substance to any talks at this stage of the season. Williams also was asked about the worst-case scenario, where the White Sox could go younger and move some veteran pieces if the ship never is righted.

That answer, like many others during Monday's impromptu news conference, can't be provided at this 26-game stage of the season.

"We haven't been in that position before," said Williams. "Even when we were, we were actively looking to get better, not just for now but for setting us up for the next year.

"Even if on the surface it's not going as well as we like, there's still that aggressive part of who we are at that stage that will probably prevent that. It's tough when the type of personalities around here, it's tough to dial it back.

"Having been down these roads before, you learn to navigate your way through it in a much better way," Williams said, "and bring the perspective of a long season to the surface more so than any negative thoughts you have. You have to be realistic and at some point in time, you have to be realistic about who and what we are. But that time is not right now -- not when so many guys are below their water line."

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