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Sox' Wise feeling better, eager to get back
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Dewayne Wise

 

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Published: 4/21/2009 12:01 AM

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Nothing has ever come easy for Dewayne Wise.

He had to scratch and claw to get to the major leagues, and shortly after making his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000, Wise injured his big toe and was sidelined nearly three months.

The run of bad luck continued with the Atlanta Braves in 2004 (elbow), the Cincinnati Reds in 2006-07 (ankle, hamstring) and now with the White Sox.

"When it happened again, I was like, 'Man, here we go again,' " Wise said Monday in a phone interview. "It gets you frustrated, no doubt. But you have to be strong. I've been through so much since I started playing baseball.

"When I was younger, I didn't handle it too well. I'd get really frustrated. Now I just try to stay positive and deal with it."

Wise right now is dealing with separated right shoulder, which he suffered against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park last Monday.

In the fifth inning, Wise ran down a deep drive to right-center off the bat of Ramon Santiago. After gloving the ball and saving 2 runs in the process, Wise hit the ground and immediately knew something was wrong.

"I was in a lot of pain," he said. "I was hoping it was just a stinger, but when I got up and tried to lift my arm I couldn't do it."

Diagnosed with a more serious Grade 3 separation, Wise is out 6-8 weeks. He has been in Chicago since injuring the shoulder, and he's starting to emerge from the doldrums.

"I can actually get my (right) arm up over my head now," Wise said. "I'm feeling a lot better."

Wise probably could boost that feeling even more if he turned off the TV when the White Sox are playing.

"I watch and just wish I was out there with my teammates," Wise said. "They've been playing great, but it's been pretty tough."

The 31-year-old outfielder played in just seven games with the White Sox before getting hurt, but his name always seemed to be in the headlines.

Breaking training camp as the Sox' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, Wise was dropped to the bottom of the order after going 0-for-8 with 4 strikeouts in the first two games while being targeted by boos at U.S. Cellular Field.

In his last five games, Wise settled down and went 5-for-11.

"I know at first I said everything was fine, but I put a lot of pressure on myself," Wise said. "It was the first time I ever made an opening-day start and I was trying to be a different player than I've been in the past.

"I talked to Ozzie (Guillen) about it, and he said he was going to drop me down in the lineup until I started swinging the bat better, and then he'd move me back up."

Had Wise continued to hit like he did just before getting injured, he might be back in the leadoff spot now. And had Wise stayed healthy, Jerry Owens likely would still be at Class AAA Charlotte instead of backing up Brian Anderson, the White Sox' new starter in center field.

And had Wise stayed healthy, the Sox probably don't resign Scott Podsednik, who is down at Charlotte waiting for a chance to rejoin his old teammates.

"I know there have been a lot of moves since I got hurt, but I can't worry about what goes on," Wise said. "I haven't even thought about what is going to happen when I'm ready to play again.

"That's up to (general manager) Kenny (Williams) and Ozzie. I'm just staying positive and looking forward to swinging a bat, maybe in 2-3 weeks."

White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards

TV: Comcast SportsNet today and Thursday; Channel 26 Wednesday

Radio: WSCR 670-AM

Pitching matchups: The Sox' Jose Contreras (0-2) vs. Brad Bergesen (0-0) today; John Danks (1-0) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-0) Wednesday; Bartolo Colon (1-0) vs. Adam Eaton (0-1) Thursday. All games start at 6:05 p.m.

At a glance: The White Sox wrap up their road swing after winning three of four against the Rays in Tampa Bay. They are 4-2 overall on their first trip of the season. Carlos Quentin is back in a groove and has hit home runs in three straight games. Bergesen, the Orioles' top pitching prospect, makes his debut tonight. The Sox were 5-4 vs. Baltimore last season (3-2 at Camden Yards).

Next: Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field, Friday-Sunday