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Rowand loves Chicago, but he liked Giants' deal better
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

San Francisco Giants new center fielder Aaron Rowand, right, runs onto the field at the start of their spring training baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Thursday.


Associated Press

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Published: 3/9/2008 12:21 AM

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Aaron Rowand was in the lineup Saturday at Tucson Electric Park.

In his perfect world, the bulldog center fielder would have been wearing a White Sox uniform.

But after coming close to returning to his old team during the off-season, Rowand landed with the San Francisco Giants. He wanted a five-year contract, which he got from the Giants at a total cost of $60 million.

Sox general manager Kenny Williams held firm with a four-year offer.

"(Williams) said it wasn't in their plans,'' said Rowand, who played for the White Sox from 2001-05. "I understand the business side of things and they have constraints as far as what they can do.

"I would have liked for them to (add the fifth year) because God knows I would have liked to have gone back to Chicago. I mean I love the fans, love the city and the organization.''

Ron Schueler was the Sox' general manager when Rowand was selected on the first round of the 1998 draft. Now a special assistant with San Francisco, Schueler was instrumental in getting Rowand to join the Giants.

"Kenny was very honest and said the most they could do was four years,'' Rowand said. "He said, 'If you can get five years, I hope you get five years and I hope you can get as much money as you can because you deserve it.' He was very open and honest from the beginning.''

Rowand is tight with White Sox third baseman Joe Crede, who has been rumored to be heading to San Francisco in a trade at some point during spring training. While he's not the Giants' GM, Rowand did give Crede a glowing scouting report.

I'm not playing recruiter; it's not like I'm going to (the front office) and saying, 'Get him,' '' Rowand said. "They asked me, and obviously everyone knows what he can do on the baseball field. I told them, 'You're asking a guy that is biased, but I'll give you my answer.' God knows, I want to play with Joe again.

"He's healthy now. He played three or so years with the back like that and did well. Now that he's healthy, I think he's going to be a better Joe than what we've even seen.''

Rowand visited the Sox' clubhouse after the game and manager Ozzie Guillen, for one, was happy to see him.

"I feel proud for him because he works hard, and when you work hard you deserve what you get,'' Guillen said. "Believe me, I think he just made this trip because it was us. He played eight innings (Friday) and it's something you appreciate when a former player likes you the way he does.''

Linebrink's back: After being sidelined with migraine headaches, White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink returned to the mound Saturday and pitched 1 inning, allowing 1 run on 2 hits.

Linebrink has dealt with migraines before.

"They just come in at a different times, but usually when I get one, I get a second one,'' he said. "It seems to trigger a second one. It's just one of those things that you have to put up with at certain times.''

White Sox 6, Giants 4

White Sox' record: 6-7

At the plate: Brad Eldred's 2-run homer in the eighth inning decided the outcome. Brian Anderson was 2-for-3 with 1 RBI, raising his Cactus League average to .364. Joe Crede (.105) was 0-for-3.

On the mound: Starter John Danks pitched 4 innings and allowed 1 run on 3 hits. Matt Thornton and Mike MacDougal each pitched 1 scoreless inning.

Next: Jose Contreras starts against the Padres today in Peoria.

-- Scot Gregor