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Guillen on Ramirez and Longoria
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen watches practice Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.


Associated Press

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Published: 10/5/2008 12:21 AM

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The 2008 American League MVP is nowhere to be found in this series pitting the White Sox and Rays.

Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez and Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria both might receive votes, however, and they are going to battle it out for Rookie of the Year honors as well.

"Those two guys walk on the field, you know they're baseball players," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Ramirez, a 27-year-old former Cuban star, batted .290 and had 21 home runs and 77 RBI. The slender infielder's grand slam against the Tigers last Monday helped propel the Sox into their tiebreaker game against Minnesota the next day.

Longoria, who turns 23 on Tuesday, batted .272 for the Rays and led all rookies with 27 HRs and 85 RBI despite missing 30 games with a fractured right wrist.

Like Ramirez - who could be starting at shortstop for the White Sox next season - Longoria looks like a future Gold Glove winner.

"Offensively you've seen (Longoria's) power, his ability to hit in clutch situations," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Defensively, he is capable of making fantastic plays with a very accurate arm. He is a complete player.

"Ramirez, I'm getting to see more consistently. I am impressed with him also. He is another young man that I think stays in the moment. I don't think he's overwhelmed by anything."

Give A.J. a hand: John Danks credits catcher A.J. Pierzynski for helping him break through as a major-league starting pitcher this season.

The 23-year-old lefty was 12-9, and his 3.32 ERA was the fifth-best in the league.

When he feels a little overwhelmed on the mound, Danks looks to Pierzynski for help.

"A.J.'s great for me," Danks said. "A.J., I don't want to say he holds my hand, but he kind of does. He's real good at recognizing whenever things are starting to speed up in my mind, and I'm trying to do too much. He is good at coming out there and slowing the game down for me."

Good call: On Sept. 22, 5-year-old Jake Hahn made a decision that helped the White Sox get into the playoffs.

With homefield advantage for a possible AL Central tiebreaker at stake, Jake told his father Rick Hahn, the Sox' assistant general manager, the coin toss would land on "heads."

Taking his son's advice, that's what Rick Hahn called and the White Sox wound up beating the Twins 1-0 at the Cell last Tuesday to win the division and advance into the postseason.

Tonight, Jake Hahn will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the ALDS.