Results tagged ‘ Rick Hahn ’
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Last night we celebrated what has become a favorite tradition around our organization – college signing day for our Amateur City Elite (ACE) youth baseball team.
It is one of my favorite days of the year. Talk about organization pride!
Thirteen young athletes in our ACE program saw their hard work pay off as they signed that dotted line, and it was just as exciting for the parents who get to see their child not only commit to a baseball team, but to a college education. Kids signed with a range of colleges and universities, including Northern Illinois, Michigan and baseball powerhouse Arizona.
As Jerry Reinsdorf has often said to me, “The baseball scholarships are great, but what really matters is the education.”
For those unfamiliar with our ACE program, it’s a White Sox initiative to offer rising stars in the inner-city baseball community the opportunity to play baseball against other highly competitive groups on a traveling team. Baseball has become an expensive sport for youngsters. The days of playing for your local Little League team have been largely replaced by travel teams who play other elite talent at tournaments across the country. This requires the financial means to play on these travel teams, with most professional scouts and college recruiters spending their valuable time at these suburban tournaments and showcases. The resource-challenged kids who often live in the inner city lose out. That’s where our ACE program steps in by funding competitive travel teams – coached by top-flight instructors and decked out in Sox uniforms – comes in. But it’s not just about teaching baseball and developing baseball players. Ultimately, it’s about developing character in young men on and off the field while allotting chances to be seen by scouts and recruiters.
White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago was nice enough to fly in to congratulate the guys and general manager Rick Hahn addressed the group and their families, giving them advice along with his best wishes.
Rick reminded them of their coach’s team motto, “TNDO,” or “Take No Days Off,” which the players couldn’t help but chuckle at a little, as it’s a phrase Coach Kevin Coe has probably said more often than they care to remember.
But Rick told them to take that attitude with them in everything they do moving forward, in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field – take no days off.
“No matter how hard you work on the field,” the ACE kids were told, “Work twice as hard in the classroom.”
Including last night’s 2014 class, 85 ACE players have now been awarded scholarships through the program, while 11 have been selected in the MLB draft. Just as important, 99% of ACE participants have graduated from high school.
As the players introduced themselves to the audience, each had their own personal message, but the same theme – the White Sox ACE program had changed their life. It is hard to envision a program with a more rewarding result than that.
The night ended with Troy White, a former ACE player who played at Northern Illinois, addressing the group in private. White was part of the first ACE team and is a perfect example of utilizing his skills to obtain a college education and from that, more opportunities.
Now he works as a sales intern for the White Sox and certainly followed the TNDO motto and implored his ACE successors to do the same – something they’ll never stop hearing.
Baseball Prospectus, a website (baseballprospectus.com) devoted to the analysis of baseball and various metrics, released its White Sox Top 10 Prospects list earlier this week, with RHP Erick Johnson ranked No. 1 (he was fourth last year).
Johnson is followed by SS Tim Anderson, OF Courtney Hawkins, RHP Chris Beck, RHP Tyler Danish, SS Marcus Semien, 2B Carlos Sanchez, 2B Micah Johnson, CR Trayce Thompson and RHP Francellis Montas.
Anderson, the club’s first-round pick from the June First-Year Player Draft, Danish (second round pick) and Montas (acquired from Boston as part of the three-team Jake Peavy trade) all made the list after joining the Sox organization during the season. Not on the list was recently signed Jose Abreu (for obvious reasons), while OF Micker Zapata and OF Jacob May were listed as prospects on the rise.
BP adds a few interesting comments …
“… their farm system is in much better shape than it was at this point one year ago,” BP writes, “and there is some talent at the big-league level that could be part of the next winning club on the South Side.”
“All told, the White Sox appear to be headed in the right direction as they try to get back on a winning track.”
And as a parting thought from BP …
“I’ve been highly critical of the White Sox in the past – both in terms of prospects and process – but I really like their 2013 drat and the international pursuits, and the system looks much better today than it did at this time last season.”
While it is a subscription-based website, I would definitely recommend baseballprospectus.com to any fan interested in sophisticated statistical analysis of baseball.
Hahn on Hot Stove
Rick Hahn got the chance to call into MLB Network’s Hot Stove this morning to talk about ACE signing day, the offseason strategy and Hawk’s Frick Award candidacy.
If you missed it, the video can be watched here: http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=31232467
Sunday, September 29, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the finale of the four-game series and last game of the 2013 season. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (9-6, 3.45) for the Sox, LHP Bruce Chen (8-4, 3.31) for Kansas City.
“Q” is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three starts. He will be making his team-leading 33rd start, 18th at home and fifth against the Royals, and is the youngest pitcher (age 24) to lead the Sox in starts since Mark Buehrle (23) in 2002 with 34. He is aiming to become the 12th American League lefty to win 10 games this season and leads the major leagues with 17 no decisions, which is the most in A.L. and club history. He needs 7.0 IP today to join Chris Sale as the only Sox pitchers to reach the 200-inning mark.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, LF; Ramirez, SS; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Jor. Danks, CF; Viciedo, DH; Beckham, 2B; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
With the regular season ending, this is my last daily post. Keep in mind that I’ll be in touch during what promises to be an active and exciting offseason.
Want some thoughts to keep you warm (and positive) during the cold winter months? Think about All-Star and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, Quintana, newcomers Avi Garcia, Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson and others who will be part of a winning White Sox future.
Look forward to seeing you at SoxFest, January 24-26, at the Palmer House Hilton. Check whitesox.com for details.
Opening Day 2014
The Sox open the 2014 season on Monday, March 31 vs. the Twins, 3:10 p.m., at U.S. Cellular Field. We begin at home for the second straight season and seventh time in the last 10 years. See you then and there.
GM Hahn on the State of the White Sox
From Rick’s session with the media on Friday:
“At the end of the day, I feel personally responsible. There’s no two ways about it. I’m not in uniform, I’m not hitting the ball or throwing the ball, but I’m heavily involved in deciding who’s out there and in what role. It is my responsibility to maximize the number of victories this club can have, allbeit over an extended period of time and not just in one season. The way I see, it has been a very disappointing season and we’ve underachieved. I know there are a lot of people –between the players, coaches and the front office — who feel responsible, and I don’t feel any different in feeling responsible to get this thing right. It has been a very disappointing and long season, with a lot of work ahead of us, but I like the fact we’re very well aware of what needs to be done. One of the silver linings of a season like this is that we’ve been able to get going on some of these changes around the trade deadline. We’ve been able to spend a lot of time over the last few weeks and months talking about what needs to be done and have open and candid dialogue, and we’re ready to hit the ground running in the coming weeks to get this thing right as quickly as possible.”
On outsiders looking for one person to blame…
“There has to be accountability at the end of the day. Sports are a results-based business. In my position you can get a little too hung up in the results and you try to focus a little more on the process and making the right decisions based upon the information you had at the time. We all know in the end, we will be judged upon the final result; what is the end result of wins and losses. Again, we’re at a point right now where the goal is to get us to a championship caliber level on an annual basis. Ultimately, I plan or at least expect to be judged, over an extended period of time and how we get to that level. This is an unfortunate position we found ourselves in this year, but if anything it puts us in a better position in the long run. It’s nothing any of us wanted to sit through or endure, but in terms of the amateur draft and international signing bonuses, come next June or July we’re going to be in a better position, along with the players we acquired at this year’s trade deadline, to be in a better position for success.”
On Jeff Keppinger…
“Kepp would say [the shoulder injury] really didn’t affect him hitting. Personally, I think anytime you have a shoulder in need of repair it has to impact your ability to swing a bat. He’s not using it as an excuse and I’m not trying to throw him an excuse, but certainly it limited his ability to play in the field. That’s why you saw him primarily as a designated hitter or pinch hitter that last few weeks leading up to his surgery. As for [his role] going forward, the intent is to use him in the way he was initially brought here. That is as a complimentary player who can be moved around and give Robin some flexibility. The Beckham injury obviously forced him into greater playing time than we anticipated, but a healthy Jeff Keppinger can play a key role on a good team.”
Anything he prioritizes as something for the team to improve upon for next year…
“I think our runs scored going from fourth in the league [in 2012] to the bottom, our on-base percentage plummeting, the extra-base hits near the bottom are all real issues. Those are all things we’ll address here. The defense obviously slipped considerably. I did see the other day we’ve committed the most errors since 2000. We committed more errors in the 2000 season [than this season] and won 90 some odd games, which I think speaks to a margin of error with the offense. We couldn’t stomach the errors this year like we did in 2000. The offensive performance, the defense inconsistencies and our ability to run the bases are all real issues of concern. The caliber of play we’ve received in those three areas is unacceptable and it’s a priority for all of us to improve.”
On if he connects the dots between last year’s collapse and this year’s performance…
“I look at them as two separate things. Obviously, you can trace our disappointment back a calendar year given how we finished the 2012 season, but I don’t think there was anything endemic that the 2012 team carried over and soured this season. We had a 2012 team end a season spending 110 or so days in first place and first in the division in run differential. We finished that year with the idea that the team would carry over the success and be able to compete in 2013. We did that knowing there was going to be a core change in the team come 2015 just by the nature of Konerko’s age and contract status of Dunn, Rios and Peavy. There was going to have to be a new core here for 2015 and as we sat here a year ago deciding whether to take a step back and solidify the core for 2015 or do what we feel is in our best interest as we transition to that core. Obviously, it did not work out as we had hoped or intended and we got the chance to start focusing on the future sooner given the way this season has unfolded. For me, the way 2012 ended we owed it to the players in the clubhouse and White Sox fans to follow the nature of if we had the opportunity to win to maximize that opportunity. Again, part way through the season that focus switched.”
On if he needs three years to fully evaluate Robin Ventura…
“I don’t know if there’s a magic number of games or time to have a true sample of what a manager is capable of doing. If anything, we’ve seen a very wide spectrum of situations Robin’s had to confront in his first two seasons. I think he’s met the challenges this team has put in front of him the last two years, the good and the bad. I think at the end of the day coaches and managers are judged on results, but it’s also about communication, enthusiasm and the ability to get the most out of players. He’s certainly had some challenges here, but I think Robin’s met all of them very well.
“I think at the end of the day all of us, me included, are evaluated based on player performance. Fundamentally, that may seem unfair at times because we’re not the ones in between the white lines, but as a front office executive who picks the players who play and the coaches who put them in positions to succeed, there has to be accountability with where we go with that performance. I don’t want to get into coach by coach and going through evaluating each guy, just as I wouldn’t sit here and go through each player. It’s disrespectful to say ‘this player had a good year and he’ll be back’ or ‘this player won’t be.’ Certainly, though, we’re all accountable for the performance on the field even though it’s the players who are doing the performing.”
As a person who grew up as a fan of Chicago baseball, what does it mean to have two teams with a combined 190 losses?
“It is really unfortunate. I can’t speak to anything on the other side of town; I simply focus on our own performance. Part of the reason I took this job is because summertime baseball in this town in important. Perhaps I have too lofty of a view of its importance in this town, but I look back at this past summer and look at it as a wasted summer. There was an opportunity, in our opinion, to perform better than we have, and we failed to meet that. Certainly if things had gone better on the other side of town it would’ve segmented for at least some of Chicago to feel better about the summer, but we certainly didn’t meet our obligation to entertain and get people excited about baseball. Ultimately, I feel that’s what our responsibility is.”
“A lot of the performance of the pitching staff does come from what the catchers are doing. So while it is easy to look at a guy hitting .190 or another that is hitting .210 and say ‘oh these guys aren’t getting the job done,’ that’s really only part of the equation. Catching for a young guy at the big league level is a huge job in terms of pregame preparation, sticking to the game plan and pitch-to-pitch focus. I do feel our catchers deserve a fair amount of the credit for what our pitchers have been able to accomplish. Obviously offensively we’ve fallen short. Production from that position, along with other positions, hasn’t met what we envisioned. There’s two ways to go about it. Either the guys we have improve or we get someone from outside the organization.”
The development of the young pitchers…
“I certainly think we’ve gotten the most out of our young pitchers and helped them develop. You look at a guy like Jose Quintana who took a step forward this season or Chris Sale who has finished the season strong, who in my opinion is a viable Cy Young candidate. The Jose’s and Chris’ of the world deserve credit, along with Don Cooper, Bobby Thigpen and our training staff. But the catchers are part of the conversation too.”
How you would grade yourself…
“If it’s going to be for a one year basis, frankly, I look at these things as pass/fail. We won’t win the last game at the end of October and be crowned the champions, so we didn’t accomplish what we intended to accomplish. That may be black and white, but that’s how I view it. I will say there’s been a lot of progress in this organization as a whole. It’s been continued progress with the amateur draft, our presence internationally, the development of some of our internal prospects – Marcus Semien, Micah Johnson, Erik Johnson- who have taken steps forward this year. I think we’ve added to that prospect base and I think we’ve also purposely, as we went about building the team this year, not make any moves that were going to compromise our long-term competitiveness. I feel good about the health of the organization, I feel good about where we are from a scouting standpoint, I feel good about our reputation in the international market and as painful as it has been to sit through this year, come next June and July we’ll have about $15 million to spend on the amateur draft and international market to further solidify our direction to a long-term sustainable success. But if you’re going to look at the one season evaluation, we’re not winning the last game of the World Series and that’s not a passing grade.”
There being too many nice guys in the clubhouse…
“I think the won-loss record is a prism you judge clubhouse chemistry through that affects your verdict. If our record was reversed, I think we’d be getting a load of credit for having 25 good guys who all work hard, don’t ruffle feathers and are all pulling in the same direction and a cause of praising our clubhouse. Given things haven’t gone well and you haven’t seen a guy turn over a buffet table or something, people think there’s an edge missing. I do think there’s a bit of a chicken and an egg issue. I will say Robin and the coaches have addressed issues privately, behind closed doors and that may not be satisfactory to people on the outside who want to see that anger and passion, but quite frankly it’s how we prefer it to be handled. We like to keep clubhouse issues as clubhouse issues. I do feel that having an edge and having a fight and having an approach to every pitch, both offensively and defensively, can make you stronger and better. I don’t feel like we were missing that, per se, and I do feel that having bad clubhouse chemistry can make a good team worse. But I don’t think there was a missing element on this team and that it was the reason that we’ve performed the way we have.”
“We have to get better, and we have to get better quickly. We feel we’re in a good position from a pitching standpoint. Given the starting pitching that we already have under control, whatever turnaround that needs to take place here, we hope to minimize the time that takes. Quite frankly, getting a guy like Avisail Garcia at the trade deadline shortens that time as well. We’ll enter this offseason knowing there are a few areas that we know we need to improve. Our decision is to get those pieces and improve as quickly as possible. However, we aren’t going to do a band-aid approach that will move the arrow slightly just for 2014. I don’t want to sit here saying we won seven more games and we’re headed in the right direction. Instead, we’re going to make moves whether they’re in free agency or trade that continues to feed this effort towards a long-term success. If we do sign free agents on shorter term deals, part of that may be to allow for our prospects longer time to develop. The intent is to aggressively address our needs and get this thing turned around as quickly as possible.”
Potentially landing a big-time free agent…
“It is certainly conceivable, yes. As in terms of budgets nothing has changed from Jerry’s approach and you’ve heard that repeatedly. Now we will have, due to where we finished, we are going to have sizable expenditures in the amateur draft and internationally. Those two things will be fully funded up front and looked at as fixed costs. Is it possible from there that we’ll have enough money to sign a player in free agency, absolutely. Again, we’re going to shy away from a short term fix and get this thing right so we’re in a position to contend annually for the postseason. If a high-priced free agent is going to fit, it’s not going to be for just 2014, it’ll be a vision for the next few years after as well.”
“I think it has to be about maximizing wins over a period of time and that’s what people want to come to see. Now, I will say the brand of baseball we’ve played, I can understand why it hasn’t been appealing to people. It doesn’t appeal to me. Some of the areas where we want to improve will resonate with fans and our intent is to give them a brand of baseball that they associate more with what they want to see. Ultimately, to make a splashy move in hopes of selling some tickets isn’t as important as establishing what we want to here for the long term.”
“We’ll handle it the way we’ve handled it the last two times. We’re going to let everyone get away for a few weeks and exhale. Then we’ll sit down with Paulie face-to-face about what he wants and how he’s feeling and what he hopes to accomplish next year, as well what the team’s going to look like and how he’ll potentially fit. I think he needs some time right now himself just to get away and think through his options. I think we’ll address that fairly early in the offseason so we’ll have some direction probably before the GM meetings, roughly.”
Where Konerko fits after his playing career…
“I don’t want to push him down that route or suggest that’s where it’s headed. There’s a process here that needs to take place. I will say, regardless of what happens, he’ll be remembered as the face of the franchise for this important period of White Sox baseball. One that obviously includes a World Championship as well as several big moments he played a part in. Personally it’s not my call, but I expect to see his number on the wall here someday. I know from my standpoint, if he so chooses, has a lot to add to a baseball operations department or player development department. There’s always going to be a spot here in some capacity, whenever that time comes.”
“He obviously was the face of the franchise here for a very important time. He not only was a stabilizing force and a productive force in the middle of the lineup for well over a decade, but he was a go-to guy in the clubhouse for a lot of guys. He continues to define what it means to wear a White Sox uniform and represent himself on and off the field the way we want our players to be. Whenever he looks back on his time here I hope he does with a great deal of pride and he should. He was and is and will continue to be a tremendous White Sox.”
Quote of the Day
Whatever the future brings, Konerko has established himself as a Sox icon, one of the most productive and beloved players in franchise history–ranking second in games, homers, runs batted in, total bases and extra base hits, third in hits and fourth in walks. Here’s a tribute from his friend and former Sox teammate Mark Buehrle:
“Paul is one of the true professionals in the game. He was the guy that you knew was the leader of the team and everybody looked up to him. He was one of my better friends on the team, just a good guy and outstanding player who plays the game the right way.”
Play(s) of the Day
The Sox tied their season high with four homers (click link below) in last night’s 6-5 victory over the Royals. Adam Dunn (No. 34) and Conor Gillaspie (13) smashed two-run blasts while Marcus Semien (2) and Jordan Danks (5) hit back-to-back solo shots in the second inning. Semien also was a triple shy of the cycle, adding single and a double…Erik Johnson went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs and five hits for his third win. Addison Reed came on in the ninth to record his 40th save.
Did You Know…
…that the Sox started seven rookies last night–Gillaspie, Semien, Johnson, Leury Garcia, Avi Garcia, Jordan Danks and Miguel Gonzalez?
Photo of the Day
To loyal White Sox fans, young and old alike, 2014 can’t come soon enough.
Friday, September 27, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN+). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (11-13, 2.97) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (12-9, 3.21) for Kansas City.
Sale is among the American League leaders in numerous categories: Complete Games (4, 1st); Strikeouts by a Lefthanded Pitcher (221, 1st); Strikeout/Walk Radio (4.91, 2nd); Strikeouts (221, 3rd); WHIP (1.05, 3rd); Quality Starts (23, T3rd); Opponents On-Base Percentage (.278, 4th); Strikeouts/9.0 IP (9.52, 5th); Opponents Average (.225, 5th); Opponents Slugging Average (.350, 5th); ERA (6th); and Home ERA (2.79, 8th).
* His strikeout total this year is the most strikeouts in a season by a White Sox lefthander in team history.
* He ranks fifth in strikeouts in club history for a single season behind Hall of Famer Ed Walsh (269 in 1908, 258 in 1910, 255 in 1911, 254 in 1912).
* He is attempting to set Sox single-season records in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
* He is the eighth pitcher in Sox history (15th time) to work at least 200 innings and have 200-plus strikeouts in a season.
* Has six career 12-plus strikeout games, tied with Juan Pizarro and Ed Walsh for the most in team history.
* Chris is the fastest pitcher in franchise history to reach 200 K’s in a season (193.2 IP, 27 games) and 500 career strikeouts (472.1 IP).
* His .133 average vs. lefthanded hitters is the third-lowest in the major leagues.
Sox Starting Lineup: Jor. Danks, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Viciedo, LF; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
PK spoke to the media before today’s game. Among the highlights:
* He’s going to take a month off before making a decision whether or not to play next year.
* If he does come back, 2014 will be his last season.
* He could make a list of 20 reasons to come back and another list of 20 reasons not to.
* For the first time going back to his youth, he doesn’t feel he’s earned his way onto next year’s team. He said his role would have to make sense for both him and the Sox.
* He indicated that if he does come back, production can be evaluated in a number of ways so he would consider a different role and working closer with the young players.
A Special Thank You
I thought I’d share this e-mail we received today from a fan named Ben. It never ceases to amaze me what an act of kindness at the ballpark can do:
I am writing to tell you about a heartwarming event which occurred last night during the game with the Royals. Just before the game started, a family of four, Dad, Mom, Daughter, Son, walked down to their seats in the 18th row of section 120. Not that unusual, except the little girl, about 9 years old with pigtails and glasses, struggled mightily to get down the stairs. She had braces on both legs, held Mom and Dad’s hands and made her way down to her seat. The thing which struck me the most was the smile on her face, she was just happy to be at the ball game. Her journey looked painful to me but didn’t seem so to her.
I was sitting about 7 rows behind them and a section over. Each time there was a break in the action, her Mom and brother would help her to her feet. Her brother would rise too and the two of them kept trying to get on the scoreboard. They kept smiling the whole game but never made it onto the scoreboard. As the 6th inning approached, two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew were standing behind sections 122 and 123, waiting for the 7th inning stretch.
I walked up to the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew (I did not catch their names but looking at your web site, I believe one was Kathleen). I asked them if they had any pull with the in stadium cameramen. I explained to them the story about the little girl. They said they would see what they could do.
In the bottom of the sixth, one of the young ladies walked down the aisle with two t-shirts in hand and sits down behind the family. She talked to the family for a couple of minutes and then presented the kids with the t-shirts. Their eyes got real big and their smiles were as wide as the Grand Canyon. When the young lady from the Chevy Pride Crew left, she did not get to see all of the excitement she created. That little girl was on Cloud Nine! The family stayed until the 8th inning, the little girl clutching her t-shirt. This was better than being on the scoreboard, she could take the shirt with her. After struggling up the stairs to leave, smile still on her face, she got into a wheelchair, which I had not seen before. The Security Guards were asking her about her t-shirt and she told them about the special young lady who gave one to her and one to her brother. The Security Guards gave her enthusiastic high fives.
The family left but your team put a huge smile on the face of a little girl! I am sure she will be a White Sox fan for life. I want to thank the White Sox and especially the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew for making a lifetime memory for a little girl and her family, it was so touching to see!
“Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So Are the Days of Our Lives”
For a few of the cast members of the long-running soap opera, Days of our Lives, their lives included a visit last night to U.S. Cellular Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch (plus an appearance in the Sox #SocialLounge).
Play(s) of the Day
Paulie hit his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot, and 434th of his career while Adam hit No. 33, also a solo blast, and No. 439 in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Royals…Andre Rienzo was solid in a quality start, allowing just two earned runs and four hits in 6.0+ innings.
Here’s Dunn’s monster home run, which was just shy of the rightfield concourse and estimated at 442 feet: http://atmlb.com/1fKY5XR
Quote(s)of the Day
GM Rick Hahn on the Sox status:
“We’re well aware of what needs to be done. We’re ready to hit the ground running… to get this thing right.”
Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on the tenure of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who yesterday officially announced he will be retiring in January of 2015:
“When you step back and view the dramatic transformation Major League Baseball has undergone during Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner, it is truly quite astounding. A social institution with a long and rich history like baseball is often very resistant and slow to change, yet Commissioner Selig has introduced dramatic, sweeping innovations to improve the game like expanded playoffs, comprehensive drug testing and competitive balance. These changes have left a lasting impact on baseball, most importantly for the fans of this great game. At his heart, Bud is a baseball fan, and that perspective has driven all he has done during his time as Commissioner. That is his legacy.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82) for the Sox, RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) for K.C.
Did You Know…
…that Konerko’s homer last night tied him with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones for 42nd place on the all-time home run list? Dunn is now three behind Dave Kingman for 38th place.
Sox Notes of Note
Tyler Flowers spoke to the media yesterday. He said he was ahead of schedule in his rehab and will begin his normal offseason routine in December as usual. Flowers said his shoulder bothered him on and off all season, but refused to use it as an excuse. Tyler said he hopes to be back with the White Sox next season to prove he can play, but understands it’s a business…Jeff Keppinger underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder yesterday at Rush Medical Center. The procedure involved a debridement of the right shoulder–no surgical repair was necessary. Keppinger is expected to recover in 2-3 months and will be ready for spring training next season…Sox great Frank Thomas, like Keppinger a native of Georgia, has been elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. The Big Hurt, from Columbus, will be inducted next February 22 in Macon.
Photo of the Day
Our All-Star lefty makes his last start of the season.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (0-1, 4.50) making his second career start and first at home for the Sox, RHP Rick Porcello (11-8, 4.76) for Detroit.
Sox Starting LIneup: De Aza, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Phegley, C.
The State of Our Sox
As the Sox returned to Chicago, General Manager Rick Hahn spoke to the media before last night’s game about a variety of subjects:
Reflecting on the season that has been and looking towards the remainder of the year…
Rick: I’m not spending a lot of time thinking about what could have been. Our focus is more on getting the most out of the next 20 games and seeing some of the young guys contribute. We’d like to see them demonstrate what they are capable of doing and then hit the ground running in the offseason.
On what he is looking for and expecting from the young players as the season comes to an end…
Rick: We want to see how they compete, prepare and go about their business. Even how they fare against adversity, because sometimes you learn even more about a person’s makeup when they struggle. This last road trip and the remainder of the schedule has had some meaningful games for our opponents (playoff contenders) and by playing our young guys in these games against good competition we hope to see them prepare themselves to play in meaningful games for us in the not too distant future.
On being competitive…
Rick: The Boston Red Sox are the most recent example of a team and model of going from worst to first in the standings. The core of pitching we have along with some of our young players give us what we believe will be one of those shorter paths to getting back to the competitiveness we expect and where we want to be in the standings.
On the futures of Robin Ventura and Paul Konerko…
Rick: Robin is already signed for next year so there’s really nothing to discuss along those lines. With Konerko, we’ve said this since Spring Training that similar to the last two times where he’s entered the final year of his contract, we will sit down together after the season ends, (when) he knows what he wants to do and we will have a conversation, in private, about the future and how everyone fits.
On the development of the farm system this season…
Rick: We are real pleased with the young pitching. Erik Johnson, (Jake) Petricka and (Daniel) Webb have had nice seasons. Marcus Semien had a real good year. Micah Johnson led the minor leagues in stolen bases, so he’s another player that had a good year. We entered the season knowing we had a fair amount of outfield depth and good pitching depth as well. We’ve seen some of those pitchers take the next step which we had hoped, however maybe not the outfielders as much as some infielders, who have stepped forward this year.
On what has set the 2013 White Sox backward and what needs to improve in 2014…
Rick: Unfortunately, we have a number of areas that we need to upgrade. Being at the bottom of the league in runs scored, obviously the offense is something at the top of the list. Also how we performed defensively and on the base paths have been well below our expectations and well below acceptable. We have a fair amount of work to do and we realize that. With the way the season has gone we’ve given ourselves some extra time to prepare for what we want to do. We were able to take care of some of that at the trade deadline and hopefully come October and November we can continue on that path. Free agency, trades and the farm system are all parts of that.
On the way he views the farm system in regards to how Kenny Williams may have…
Rick: The farm system has two major purposes: One, providing impact talent for Chicago and two, providing trade assets to acquire impact players for Chicago. I don’t think that’s any different than any other general manager views their farm system.
On the experience of this season as a whole…
Rick: I’m no different from any fan or anybody in the front office or locker room that has suffered through a season that has been gut-wrenching. It has been very difficult. I try to look at in perspective that what we have in front of us now is a tremendous opportunity. We have a chance to address some of the issues we have and, frankly, we’re at an advantage in pitching as well as a bit of a blank slate in a lot of the areas we need to get better in. I view it as a trying season but it also as an opportunity to get better in the near future.
Assessing the catcher situation this season…
Rick: Tyler’s (Flowers) surgery was about as minor as we expected. It will take about 2-3 months to recover but it shouldn’t be a long-term issue for Tyler. With any young catcher or any young player you are going to have ups and downs. I would say with Tyler we probably haven’t seen enough to make a final determination if this is the type of player he is. The injury probably factored in with some of his performance as the pain, which was manageable early, became greater late in the season before we shut him down. Obviously, we haven’t hit as well and gotten the offensive production out of catcher that we’ve anticipated. Josh (Phegley) or Tyler haven’t really approached their ceiling in terms of what we think they are capable of offensively. The two of them, along with (Hector) Gimenez when he was here, deserve a fair amount of credit for how the pitching staff has preformed. That’s a large part of the job that tends to get overlooked especially when a catcher isn’t hitting. We are certainly pleased with the preparation and game planning. That aspect has been solid, but there’s certainly room for improvement.
Speaking of the Future, the 2014 Sox Schedule was Announced Today
We announced our 2014 regular-season schedule today, with Opening Day on Monday, March 31 vs. Minnesota at U.S. Cellular Field (3:10 p.m. CT). The opener is part of a three-game series (with an off day on April 1) against the division-rival Twins. The club opens the season at home for the second consecutive season and seventh time in the last 10 years.
Here’s the entire ’14 schedule (it’s still subject to change):
Barons Head to Southern League Championship Series
The Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Class AA affiliate, defeated the Tennessee Smokies, a Cubs affiliate, last night in the decisive Game 5 of the Southern League North Division playoffs. The Barons are now on their way to the league’s championship series against the Mobile BayBears, a Diamondbacks farm club. The best-of-five series begins tomorrow night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.
In last night’s Barons’ triumph, 2B Micah Johnson, 3B Cody Puckett, DH Brandon Jacobs and C Mike Blanke each collected a hit and RBI. SS Tyler Saladino had a pair of singles and CF Jared Mitchell doubled and scored twice. Nestor Molina got credit for the win and Cody Winiarski got the save.
Sox Broadcasters and the Ford C. Frick Award
White Sox broadcasters Hawk Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson and Hector Molina are all candidates for the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award. The five Sox announcers will be considered as part of the new “High Tide Era,” which will reflect broadcasting contributions made during the regional cable network era from 1980-present.
Play of the Day
The Sox chalked up their second win in a row last night and prevented Detroit starter Max Scherzer from winning his 20th game. Chris Sale was magnificent, shutting down the Tigers, 5-1, allowing the lone run on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in eight innings of work…Conor Gillaspie had a pair of doubles, Dayan Viciedo collected two singles and an RBI, Paul Konerko drove in a pair with a base hit and Josh Phegley singled in a run.
Quote of the Day
@SouthSideSox on last night’s win:
“Enjoyable game. Probably one of the best this year.”
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (7-6, 3.70) for the Sox, RHP Anibal Sanchez (13-7, 2.61) for Detroit.
Did You Know…
…that with his eight strikeouts last night, increasing his season total to 207, Chris became the fastest pitcher in franchise history to 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Wilbur Wood and Gary Peters as the only lefties in Sox annals to record at least 200 strikeouts in a single-season?
Photo of the Day
Sale: As good as it gets.
Labor Day: Monday, September 2, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York (12:05 p.m, CT, CSN) in the Labor Day opener of a three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (7-4, 3.66) for the Sox, RHP Phil Hughes (4-13, 4.91) for the Yankees. Quintana defeated Andy Pettitte in the first game of the three-game sweep against the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field in early August. “Q” is 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA and 71 strikeouts in his last 11 starts.
The Sox have won six straight games vs. the Yanks (all at home by a 35-18 margin). It’s their longest streak against New York since taking seven in a row from July 1,1990-April 16,1991.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, LF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, 1B; Konerko, DH; A. Garcia, CF; Gillaspie, 3B; Jor. Danks, RF; Phegley, C.
Hahn on The Score
GM Rick Hahn was a guest yesterday on 670 The Score’s Hit And Run Show:
Play(s) of the Day
Down 5-0 heading into the fourth inning yesterday, the Sox refused to quit. With the bases loaded, Jeff Keppinger drove in Alexei Ramirez with a sac fly and, with two outs, Dayan Viciedo doubled in Paul Konerko and Conor Gillaspie singled in Avi Garcia and Viciedo as four runs crossed the plate…Paulie, with a pair of singles and a walk on the day, added on a run in the fifth by driving in Alexei, who led the 11-hit Sox attack with three singles….Tyler Flowers smashed a long solo homer in the eighth, his 10th of the year, to get us within a run of the Red Sox at 7-6, which turned out to be the final (it was announced this morning that Flowers will have exploratory surgery on his right shoulder and will be out an estimated three to six months).
Conor’s two-RBI single:
Quote(s) of the Day
A Rare Long Ball (from the September 2, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated):
Thirty-six years ago, on Aug. 29, 1977, the Indians hosted the White Sox. Cleveland’s second baseman that night was Duane Kuiper, who had zero career home runs in 1,381 major league at bats.
Rick Manning (former teammate): Kuip knew how to play the game. He was a great second baseman. He was as tough as you could get for a guy 175 pounds. Back then, the game was pitching and defense.
Duane Kuiper: I’d hit some homers (seven, to be exact) in the minor leagues.
Manning: We weren’t there to hit home runs. Frank Robinson was our manager, and he’d stand out behind the screen and make Kuip and I (who both batted lefthanded) hit it to leftfield. He wouldn’t let us swing for the fences at all.
Cleveland manager Jeff Torborg, who had replaced Robinson two months earlier, moved Kuiper up to the number 2 spot in the batting order against Chicago starter Steve Stone.
Kuiper: In the first inning it was a 1-0 count. I like to tell Stone that he threw me a hanging fastball. He doesn’t particularly want to hear about it.
Kuiper hit a line drive off a seat in the rightfield stands.
Frank Robinson (joking, in 1984): He waited until I got fired to hit his homer. The truth is, he won’t hit one for a black manager.
Kuiper: I’ve still got the chair. It’s in the attic. I’ve still got the ball and the bat. As I was walking up to the bat rack (for my next at bat), (Indians teammate) Bill Melton said, “You’re not gonna use that again, are you?” I said, “Of course.” He said, “You might want to put that one away. You might not hit another one.”
He didn’t. In 1985, Kuiper retired, and he went on to become an Emmy-winning broadcaster for the Giants. His 3,754 plate appearances are the most for any major leaguer with exactly one homer–making his shot off of Stone the rarest in history.
Kuiper: You gotta have fun with it. Given the choice now, would I rather hit one or five? Unless the other four were walk-off grand slams, I’m pretty happy with one. I’m happy with the way it turned out.
White Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (6:05 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99) for the Sox, RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89) for the Yanks. Chris and the Sox defeated Kuroda and the Yanks in the second game of last month’s sweep.
Did You Know…
…that when pitcher Charlie Leesman, just promoted from Class AAA Charlotte, approached his locker in Boston yesterday he was greeted with a name plate that read, “Jose Leesman?” Mistakes happen.
Photo/Video of the Day
Tyler’s big blast.
Monday, August 12, 2013
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a three-game series. Starters: LHP Chris Sale (7-11, 2.77) for the Sox, RHP Doug Fister (10-5, 3.50) for Detroit.
Chris ranks fourth in the A.L. with an average of 9.70 strikeouts per nine innings and fifth with 161 strikeouts. He is on pace to record 225 strikeouts, which would be the fifth-highest total in club history and the most since Hall of Famer Ed Walsh fanned 254 in 1912. Sale has struck out 10 or more batters nine times in 50 career starts and five times in 2013, one behind Juan Pizarro (1961) for the second highest single-season total in Sox annals.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza. LF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; Garcia, RF; Keppinger, 3B; Jor. Danks, CF; Phegley, C.
John and Jordan visited Comer Children’s Hospital today and answered questions from the youngsters.
The Sox officially acquired infielder Leury (lay-OOH-ree) Garcia from the Texas Rangers yesterday as the player to be named later in the Alex Rios deal. He has been optioned to Class AAA Charlotte.
Garcia, 22, was hitting .264 (51-193) with four home runs, 19 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 31 runs scored in 47 games this season with Class AAA Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League. He made 42 appearances at shortstop and five in center field.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Garcia made the Rangers Opening Day roster and made nine starts at second base and two each at shortstop and third before being optioned to Round Rock on June 15. Prior to the season, Garcia was named by Baseball America as the No. 20 Prospect, Fastest Baserunner and Best Infield Arm in the Rangers organization. He recorded 30-plus steals each season from 2010-12, including a career-high 51 in 2010.
A native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, Garcia is a career .261 (468-1,794) hitter with 13 home runs, 143 RBI, 258 runs scored and 155 stolen bases in 475 games over five minor-league seasons in the Rangers organization. He has played in 400 games at shortstop, 58 at second base and 14 in center field.
His best season came in 2012 when he batted .292 (110-377) with 11 triples, 31 stolen bases and 55 runs scored in 100 games with Class AA Frisco.
Quote of the Day
GM Hahn on L. Garcia:
“Speed may well be his best tool. He’s a plus-plus runner, plus arm and defensive player, switch-hitter, and has the positive of his versatility. Even if the bat doesn’t quite develop to reach his maximum upside, he has some value on the big league club. Then it would be about figuring out the best way to use it.”
Play(s) of the Day
Adam Dunn hit his 27th homer of the season and the 433rd of his career in yesterday’s 5-2 loss to the Twins…Conor Gillaspie smashed his 10th of the year…Dylan Axelrod pitched four scoreless innings in relief, allowing just three hits while striking out three.
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.430) for the Sox, RHP Max Scherzer (17-1, 2.84) for Detroit.
Did You Know…
…that Avisail is the fourth Garcia to play for the White Sox? The first three were pitchers: Freddy (2004-06, 2009-10), Mike (1960) and Ramon (1991).
Photo of the Day
Leury could be the fifth player named Garcia to play for the Sox.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (3:05 p.m., CT, FOX). Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (0-0, 1.38) making his first home start for the Sox, RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-9, 5.23) for Minnesota.
Sox Lineup: Beckham, 2B; Gillaspie, 3B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; Garcia, CF; Danks, RF; Viciedo, LF; Phegley, C.
Sale on FOX
Chris will be doing a live interview from the dugout during the top of the third inning on today’s telecast.
Quote(s) of the Day
Listen to GM Rick Hahn’s interview with Dan Bernstein on WSCR from last night and to Paulie’s appearance with Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000 this morning:
@AvisailGarcia34 upon his arrival at the ballpark last night:
Play(s) of the Day
From last night’s doubleheader…
Game 1: Alexei Ramirez blasted a two-run homer, singled and drove in four runs in the 7-5 loss to the Twins…Paul Konerko hit his ninth home run of the season and 431st of his career, tying Cal Ripken Jr. for 44th place on the all-time list.
Game 2: Charlie Leesman was solid in his first major league start, going five-plus innings, allowing just one run (a solo homer) and four hits with eight strikeouts while getting a no-decision. Brought up as the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader, Leesman was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte after the game…Alexei hit his second homer of the twin bill to tie the score at 1-1 in the fourth inning…Blake Tekotte put the White Sox ahead 2-1 in the seventh with his first major-league home run and first RBI in a Sox uniform…Garcia made his Sox debut–he struck out as a pinch-hitter, was hit by a pitch and stranded on third in the 10th representing the potential tying run in the 3-2 loss.
The Ramirez and Tekotte homers in the nightcap:
White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the four-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (6-3, 3.51) for the Sox, RHP Kevin Correia (7-8, 4.84) for Minnesota.
Did You Know…
…that Alexei is the first Sox player to homer in each game of a doubleheader since Magglio Ordonez did it in April of 1999? By the way, Ramirez is batting .448 with a double, two home runs and seven RBI during his current seven-game hitting streak.
Photo of the Day
The future is now for the White Sox and No. 26.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
White Sox vs. Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.55) for the Sox, RHP Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.74) for the Tribe. Quintana is holding righthanded batters to a .232 average in 2013, the third-lowest mark among American League lefties.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Rios, RF; Dunn, 1B; Konerko, DH; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Beckham, 2B; Phegley, C.
White Sox Welcome Garcia, Three Other Prospects With Open Arms
By now you know that after last’s night’s game, we completed a three-team deal with the Tigers and Red Sox. We traded Jake Peavy and acquired 22-year-old top outfield prospect Avisail Garcia from Detroit as well as minor league infielder Cleulius Rondon and pitching prospects Francelis Montas and Jeffery Wendelken from Boston.
GM Rick Hahn shared his excitement about obtaining Garcia, whose first name is pronounced “ah-VEE-saah-EEL”:
“We truly feel this is a five-tool player, someone who is not only going to hit, hit for average, but hit for power, can run well and play above average defense. He’s still young and has a little bit of development ahead of him, but we feel we’ve acquired someone with a great deal of upside who will have a big impact on the South Side for many years to come.”
Garcia, who will be assigned to Class AAA Charlotte to get regular at bats, is hitting .380 with seven doubles, three triples, six homers, 27 RBI and 32 runs scored over 39 games with both Class AAA Toledo and Class A Lakeland (where he appeared in six games on a rehab assignment recovering from a bruised heel). Between the two stops, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound righthanded hitter, had a .424 on-base and .561 slugging percentage. He was Detroit’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 and entered the season as the No. 2 prospect in the Tigers organization. In his brief experience in the major leagues (53 games in 2012-13) he is hitting .269 with three homers and 13 RBI. He actually made his big-league debut last August vs. the Sox.
The switch-hitting Rondon, who is 19, is hitting .276 with Class A Lowell in the Boston system. From Venezuela, he has split time between shortstop and third base, playing primarily at short.
Montas, 20, is from the Dominican Republic. He has 96 strikeouts over 19 games with Class A Greenville this season and has K’d 171 in 49 games over four seasons.
Wendelken, 20, was a 13th round draft choice in 2012. Known as J.B., he is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA with 10 saves and 54 strikeouts over 27 appearances with Greenville this season. He is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA, 12 saves and 82 strikeouts in 40 relief appearances in two seasons.
Rondon, Montas and Wendelken all will report to Class A Kannapolis.
Avisail is Happy, Too
@AvisailGarcia34: I’m also looking fwd to my new journey in the @whitesox organization and I am very grateful for this opportunity.. #Chicago here we come!
Jordan Danks Recalled
Outfielder Jordan Danks has been recalled from Class AAA Charlotte to replace Peavy on the 25-man roster.
Play of the Day
Andre Rienzo, who last night became the first native Brazilian to pitch in the major leagues, was impressive in his debut. In seven innings, he allowed just five hits while striking out six without giving up an earned run.
Quote of the Day
Robin commenting on Rienzo’s solid debut:
“The kid was good. For all the excitement he had of having his first start, he was great. The one inning there was a little blip (the fifth when three unearned runs scored and he was spiked at first base)…but coming back that next inning with energy and composure was big. He’s got a neat little personality, brings his own energy, gets everybody into it. It was fun seeing him pitch.”
White Sox vs. Indians at Progressive Field (11:05 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (6-10, 2.69) for the Sox, RHP Justin Masterson (12-7, 3.42) for Cleveland.
Did You Know…
…that on this date in 1972, Dick Allen became the seventh player to hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game in an 8-1 White Sox victory over the Twins on the road at Metropolitan Stadium?
Photo of the Day
Our new “five-tool player”:
Thursday, July 11, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park (12:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale and rubber match of the three-game series. Starters: LHP Chris Sale (5-8, 2.78) for the Sox, RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-5, 2.70) for Detroit. Chris ranks among the American League leaders in the following categories: He’s first in opponents slugging percentage (.301), third in opponents on-base percentage (.260), baserunners per nine innings pitched (9.29), opponents average (.202) and strikeouts per nine innings pitched (9.77), fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.92) and ERA and fifth in strikeouts (123).
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Rios, RF; Dunn, DH; Keppinger, 1B; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Beckham, 2B; Phegley, C.
Peavy in Sunday Rehab Start
Taking his next step toward returning to the Sox rotation, Jake Peavy is scheduled to make a rehab start on Sunday with Class AA Birmingham at Huntsville.
Play(s) of the Day
Gordon Beckham continued his hot hitting with his second homer of the season, a solo shot, in last night’s loss to the Tigers. Now sporting a .340 average on the year, Gordon is hitting .400 in his last 16 games with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI…After exploding for a pair of homers and four RBI on Tuesday night, Dayan Viciedo singled, doubled, walked and drove in a run…Conor Gillaspie (below) smashed his seventh homer to get the Sox on the board with a run in the second inning, singled and scored twice.
Quote of the Day
Sox GM Rick Hahn, talking to reporters about the Sox’s strong suit:
“We do feel that you have to start with the pitching. 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.”
White Sox vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a three-game series. Starters: LHP John Danks (2-5, 4.31) for the Sox, RHP Jonathan Pettibone (5-3, 3.84) for Philly.
Did You Know…
…that the Sox are hitting .296 with runners in scoring position since June 1? It’s the second highest mark in the American League and third highest in the majors during that period.
Photo/Video of the Day
Watch Beckham go deep: