Ken Williams, noting that they’ve had “warnings” that Ozzie Guillen would not be back in 2012, said last night that he already has a narrowed-down list of candidates to replace Guillen as White Sox manager. According to Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago, Buddy Bell is at the top of that short list.
It’s hard to say how much juice there is to Bell’s candidacy — I’m sure a lot of names will spin out in the coming days and weeks — but Bell is currently in a the Sox’ front office, so it makes sense that his name comes up. If there is any traction to the idea of Bell taking over, you can probably imagine that the Sox are going to do their best to blow up the current roster and rebuild, because that’s pretty much Bell’s niche in the world as a manager.
Indeed, he has had three previous stints as a manager. In at least two of those cases — Detroit and Kansas City — he was part of a full-fledged rebuilding effort. He led both of those teams to a .399 winning percentage. He had more to work with in Colorado and finished at .465.
We’re less than 12 hours from the announcement of Ozzie Guillen’s departure so, sure, take what you hear about his replacement with a grain of salt. But to the extent we hear more names like Bell’s, the greater suggestion it is that Kenny Williams is going to tear it all down and start from scratch.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.