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Williams happy with 'core group'
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/30/2007 7:00 AM

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General manager Kenny Williams met with the media before the White Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 3-2 Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Williams isn't expected to be available for comment again until he makes his first off-season roster move.

Considering the Sox are one game away from finishing their worst season since 1989, Williams figures to be especially busy this winter, correct?

"Not as busy as one may think for a fourth-place club,'' Williams said. "Look at the base you're starting with.''

That would be the starting rotation, which features veterans Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez, Jon Garland and Jose Contreras and expands with the possible addition of youngsters such as John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Lance Broadway, Gio Gonzalez and Jack Egbert.

The heart of the lineup -- Jim Thome, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye --all are under contract for at least one more year, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to an extension Saturday.

With third baseman Joe Crede set to return in 2008, which would likely move Josh Fields to left field, Williams is left with decisions at shortstop, center field and second base.

As for the White Sox' beleaguered bullpen, Williams sounds like only two current relievers, Ryan Bukvich and Mike Myers, won't be back.

"We have a closer (Bobby Jenks) who is one of the best in the game, and two left-handers (Matt Thornton and Boone Logan) that I believe are going to grow into quality guys over the next number of years,'' Williams said.

"We've got to get (Mike) MacDougal back on track. We've got to work to get that better because he was something that we were counting on this year and we have to have a reasonable expectation of knowing what to expect next year from him.

"Ehren Wasserman has shown that he can be that funky guy from down low that makes some guys very uncomfortable. So you're really only talking about one or two spots in the bullpen that we're going to need to address.''

Even though the White Sox have been anywhere from bad to awful for most of this season and were similar to that in the second half of 2006, Williams still believes there is enough talent on hand to get back into contention next year.

"We had some tough times this year in getting everyone clicking at the same time,'' Williams said. "It really never actually happened, but I remain confident in that core group and the bright spot is some of the young players we brought in this year, they certainly have proven they can play, too.

"So we look at it as a nice blend of our core of veterans with some of our young players, and that will serve us well as time goes on.''

That's not to say Williams, an aggressive general manager by nature, won't make some splashy moves during the off-season.

But he sounded like he will try to add lesser-known players who are better fits for the scrappy style the Sox want to play.

"This year, very shabby,'' Williams said of the 2007 White Sox. "So it's incumbent on me at this point to go into this off-season and rectify some of the problems we've had this year.

"And that doesn't necessarily mean pure talent as the problem to fix our holes. Sometimes it's that mix, it's that fit that's right.''

White Sox 3, Tigers 2

At the plate: Juan Uribe's RBI single in the ninth inning decided the outcome and lifted the Sox to their fourth straight victory, which ties a season high. Jim Thome hit his 35h home run of the season in the first inning.

On the mound: Starter Gavin Floyd pitched 7 innings and allowed 1 run on 6 hits. Ehren Wasserman earned his first major-league win.

-- Scot Gregor