Ozzie Guillen took the White Sox to a World Series championship two years ago. Now he’s trying to keep them from having the worst record in the major leagues.
Sounds like a strange time to give him a new contract, but that’s what the team did Tuesday when it announced Guillen had agreed to an extension through the 2012 season. Guillen’s previous deal ran through next year, with a club option for 2009.
“The problems that we are having right now, I simply do not believe that they are problems that are with our coaching staff or with our manager,” general manager Ken Williams said, calling the contract extension an easy decision.
Williams said he wanted the players, Guillen and the fans to know that the White Sox — who had 99- and 90-win seasons before this year’s debacle — would engage in an offseason plan to ensure there would not be a repeat of this year’s record.
“When you are winning, you are king. When you’re losing, you are nobody,” Guillen said.
“I appreciate they still believe in me, they still believe in what I can bring to this club and believe I can have a lot of success running this club,” he added. “It feels good that somebody believes in not what I did in the past, but what I can do in the future.”
Pirates name prez
Frank Coonelly, a top labor lawyer in the commissioner’s office, has been selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates to become their next team president, according to the only other known finalist for the job.
Chuck Greenberg, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer whose group owns three successful minor league clubs, was told by Pirates controlling owner Bob Nutting that Coonelly was the choice.
GM search on
Former Houston Astros general manager Bob Watson interviewed for his old job along with current assistant GM David Gottfried.
Watson, vice president of on-field operations in the commissioner’s office, was Houston’s general manager from 1993-1995, then became GM of the New York Yankees. He played for the Astros from 1966-79.
McDonald signs extension with Jays
Shortstop John McDonald and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $3.8 million, two-year contract extension through the 2009 season.
McDonald, a former Indian, began Tuesday with a .252 batting average, 16 doubles and 28 RBIs, and his .985 fielding percentage led AL shortstop who had played 100 or more innings.
Roger Clemens threw a bullpen session, pronounced himself ready to return to the mound Sunday night at Boston and revealed tests showed ligament damage in his sore right elbow.
Clemens threw at about 80 percent before Tuesday’s series opener at Toronto. Yankees manager Joe Torre already had tentatively slotted him in for the series finale at Fenway Park.
Torre said he will wait until after Clemens throws Thursday before making a final decision on his Sunday starter.
Surgery for Wells
Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells will have surgery after the season to remove a cyst caused by a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
A cyst is a sac within tissue containing air, fluids or semisolid material.
Wells said he sustained the injury sometime last year. He’ll have surgery once the season ends, or earlier if doctors think he needs additional recovery time.