White Sox take a breather, then start gearing up for ALCS

Associated Press
Published October 10, 2005

CHICAGO - The tense days of late September when they were fighting to keep what they'd held all season - first place - seemed far away Sunday when the White Sox stepped into the cool air and warm sun for a workout.

Manager Ozzie Guillen announced his rotation for the league championship series set to begin Tuesday. Then, reflecting the loose atmosphere he has nurtured all season, he picked up a bat and stepped into the box during a simulated game with right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the mound. That he went 0-for-2 didn't matter.

After sweeping the defending World Series champion Red Sox in the division series and taking a day off, the White Sox were hoping to stay sharp, not knowing or caring too much who their next opponent is.

"The day off, we needed it mentally and physically. We have played with so much intensity the last three weeks," Guillen said. His team nearly squandered a 15-game lead before hanging on to win the Central wire to wire.

Right-hander Jose Contreras is scheduled to start Game 1, just as he pitched the opener against the Red Sox. Left-hander Mark Buehrle is scheduled again to pitch Game 2 at U.S. Cellular Field.

When the series shifts to New York or Anaheim for the middle three games, Guillen will use Jon Garland , an 18-game winner, in Game 3 and fellow right-hander Freddy Garcia in Game 4.

Garland didn't start against Boston, so he will be pitching on nearly two weeks' rest. Garland didn't seem too upset about the wait, but as a sinkerball pitcher, he acknowledged some of his best stuff often comes with he's weary, rather than fresh.

"Usually my best pitches are when I'm tired on a regular five days. That's when it's good," he said. "We'll see how it goes."

MEET THE NEW BOSS: Angels owner Arte Moreno , who bought the team two years ago, still hasn't met Yankees owner George Steinbrenner .

"I come in the back door" at Yankee Stadium, Moreno said. "This is his place. If he invites me up, I'd love to say hello."

Moreno didn't sit in his seats next to the Angels dugout during Game 3 on Friday night, but not because he feared the reception of Yankees fans.

"No, it was wet," he said.

He said he planned to split his time during Game 4 between the seats next to the dugout and a luxury suite.

BOUNCING BACK: Angels catcher Bengie Molina was in the starting lineup for Game 4 two days after getting hit on the left elbow by right-hander Tom Gordon 's pitch. Molina said Saturday the elbow was stiff but thought he could have played if he had to.

"Bengie's elbow is fine," manager Mike Scioscia said.