CHICAGO -- Look at the overall body of work of White Sox general manager Ken Williams season, and it's easy to understand why he has being talked about as Major League Baseball's Executive of the Year.
The White Sox needed a third baseman when Brent Morel injured his back, so Williams and his staff went out and acquired Kevin Youkilis from Boston. They needed a strong veteran presence to join Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain in the bullpen, and Brett Myers became the answer to that question.
Francisco Liriano was added to the starting rotation when concerns heightened over keeping Chris Sale and Jose Quintana strong for the stretch run, and even Dewayne Wise has already paid dividends through a less-heralded Minor League deal. Yet Williams could only smile a bit when the possibility of earning such an honor was brought to his attention prior to Monday's series opener with the Yankees.
"It's not going to happen; if you don't win it when you win a World Series, you ain't going to win it," said Williams, who lost out to Cleveland's Mark Shapiro in 2005. "I guess we haven't slowed down.
"Maybe at the end of the year, that's something you can take a look at. But if I wasn't listening to all the things people were saying -- the outlook for this season was less than bright -- then I'm certainly not going to listen now and don't have the time to listen now, when we're in a fight of our lives with Detroit."
Williams also understands that a few more weekends such as this past one in Kansas City will shift the focus from award winner to "village idiot pretty quickly." The goal for Williams remains simple -- focus on the game at hand and push for that last game to be a World Series-clinching win for the White Sox, who entered play on Monday atop the American League Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Tigers.
"This is what I do," Willias said. "I take great pride in what we managed to do here and keeping competitive through the years, but there is still work to do. When I sat down at that first press conference when I was appointed this position, I didn't talk about one championship. I said multiple championships. People laughed, but I meant that."
Despite slow rehab, Danks targets spring return
CHICAGO -- John Danks met with the media on Monday for the first time since undergoing surgery on Aug. 6 to repair his left shoulder, and the White Sox lefty remains cautiously optimistic about a healthy return by Spring Training 2013.
"I'm not putting a whole lot of weight into the dates," said Danks, speaking with his left arm held in a large sling. "It's certainly a good goal, and it's my goal to be ready by spring, but things can happen. The goal is Spring Training, but I don't want to do anything to set us back any further by pushing it.
"It's still new to me. Everything I know is just what was told to me. Fortunately, at this point, it hasn't been as bad as I expected, but I haven't gotten into the full rehab process. I hear that's a little tougher."
Danks' arthroscopic surgery repaired a capsular tear and minor debridements of the rotator cuff and biceps, but it revealed a normal rotator cuff. The left-hander is unsure whether his rehab will take place in Dallas or Austin, but he is putting full trust in Dr. Anthony Romeo, who not only performed the surgery with Dr. Gregory Nicholson but also has gone through the same procedure himself recently.
"During the first couple of weeks, it has been pretty slow moving," Danks said. "We'll have a better idea once rehab truly gets started cranking, but I've heard Spring Training so that's my goal now until I hear otherwise and I'm going to do everything in my power to make that happen."
GM defends White Sox organizational approach
CHICAGO -- The White Sox Minor League system did not get any love going into this season. In fact, closer Addison Reed was the only prospect really mentioned among the many Top 100 lists.
But general manager Ken Williams explained on Monday that his club's farm system is designed more for Major League preparation than garnering huge attention.
"We have a different method to our Minor League system in terms of style and in terms of how we are going to promote and develop our young players so that they are ready for this ballpark and to be ready and hit the ground running at the big league level," Williams said. "It just runs counterproductive toward our Minor League players having overinflated statistics, and a lot of these things are statistically driven in the evaluations.
"I prefer to have, for instance, Nate Jones starting in [Class A in 2010] so that he can develop his breaking ball and his third pitch, his changeup, because he just may need that. Even if we do see him as a setup guy or future closer, we believe he needed more than that 100 mph.
"Now, could he have taken that 100-mph fastball and blown everybody away in the Minor Leagues and been put at the top of that prospect list?" Williams said. "Absolutely, but he wouldn't have been ready to compete here in the fashion he's been able to compete."
Williams used Dayan Viciedo as another example of the club's development plan, explaining that Viciedo was taught to drive the ball to right and right-center so that he could handle the steady diet of breaking balls given to young, aggressive hitters by Major League pitchers. Viciedo could have been allowed to swing away in every at-bat and pump up his home run totals, but Williams guessed that Viciedo would have been sent down a couple of times under that philosophy because of a lack of big league preparedness.
The same theory holds true for Hector Santiago, who, many argued, didn't deserve to be sent back to Triple-A Charlotte this season but was moved there to be stretched out and prepare for a possible spot start.
De Aza likely to DL; Danks expected in outfield
CHICAGO -- Alejandro De Aza missed his third straight game due to back stiffness in Monday's 9-6 White Sox victory over the Yankees. And with 13 pitchers and just backup catcher Tyler Flowers and Rey Olmedo on the bench, expect the leadoff man and center fielder to be placed on the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game.
"He's been big for us, leading off and playing a great center field," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of De Aza. "It's just, again, we're looking at our roster.
"We've got three extra guys. If he's not able to play, we're down to two. There are some decisions to be made pretty quickly."
Jordan Danks started in right field for Triple-A Charlotte against Durham on Monday night, but Danks was pulled after three innings. No official word was given as to whether Danks was on his way to Chicago, but he is expected to be De Aza's replacement on Tuesday.
Losing the offense's catalyst in De Aza certainly hampers the team's effort. But general manager Ken Williams pointed out that the White Sox win and lose as a group.
"Everyone in the lineup and on this pitching staff matters," Williams said. "We are a team that is not reliant on one particular person, but when an important piece is missing, you're going to notice.
"Dewayne Wise has stepped in during De Aza's absence here and played very well, so you can't say that is the reason why we haven't been clicking lately. We just haven't caught the ball and we haven't scored any runs."
Third to first
Major League Baseball overturned an error that was charged to Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar on Thursday in Toronto, giving a hit instead to Youkilis. That play served as the 999th hit of Youkilis' career, and he recorded his 1,000th career hit with a one-out, eighth-inning single off Darren Oliver in the same game, not in Kansas City.
The White Sox are 16-5 in their last 21 home games and snapped a six-game losing streak at home to the Yankees.
Viciedo has a career-high 11-game hitting streak.
The White Sox will make enough September callups that it will put them above Williams' budget in that area, according to the GM. But Williams would not go into names for possible callups.
Orlando Hudson will get at-bats in Minor League rehab games before coming off the DL, where he has been resting a left foot contusion. Hudson could spell Gordon Beckham against tough right-handers when he returns.