DETROIT - Before Saturday night's game against the Tigers, manager Ozzie Guillen insisted the White Sox are going to be a much better team in 2010, and he expects them to contend for the AL Central title.
"I love the way we look for next year," Guillen said. "Do we have to get better? No doubt."
Guillen realizes the Sox' offense needs to show the most improvement, and not just struggling regulars like Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios.
The White Sox' manager issued stern warnings to utility players Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge and even rookie catcher Tyler Flowers. They all need to start playing "small ball" if they hope to stick on the 25-man roster.
Nix has 12 home runs in 93 games, but he's struck out 63 times in 254 at-bats. Flowers only has 16 at-bats, but he's struck out eight times.
"I take the heat for everything, so I have to demand some stuff," Guillen said. "You are going to continue to do that, you won't be with us. It's going to be tough for them to be here. I don't think they play the game they should be playing in the big leagues. You've got to hit and run, you've got to move the guy over.
"You can't strike out 60 times when you're a backup player. You can't. OK, you have a few home runs, but you can't strike out that many times. Their game's got to change because the way we're going to play from now on, it's a different ballgame and we've got to be prepared for that."
Shape up: Manager Ozzie Guillen said he still expects injured closer Bobby Jenks to be back with the Sox next season.
If Jenks isn't traded, Guillen wants him to report to spring training in better condition.
"Obviously, this kid's got to show up in shape," Guillen said. "That's his problem every winter. Hopefully, he knows about it. That's his career and that's the way he's going to make money, if he takes care of himself a little bit in the winter. Not just him, I think everybody should."
Forget Figgins: Eligible for free agency at the end of the season, Los Angeles Angels third baseman/outfielder Chone Figgins figures to be in high demand, and the free-spending Yankees are rumored to be eyeing the leadoff hitter.
Maybe that's why manager Ozzie Guillen isn't at all optimistic about Figgins joining the Sox.
"I don't think Figgins," Guillen said. "To be honest with you, would we like to have players like him? (Bleep), everybody does. But this kid is going to cost you a lot of money."