The Chicago White Sox are hopeful their trade for All-Star pitcher Freddy Garcia will help them win the AL Central. But before they can start entertaining thoughts of the postseason, they have 90 games to play.
The White Sox will try to earn a share of first place in the Central when they open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
“We have an opportunity to challenge for the division in a better way,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said.
Garcia went 4-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts for the woeful Mariners this season, but is 76-50 in his six-year career with a 3.89 ERA. He is expected to make his first start for the White Sox on Wednesday.
“It caught me by surprise. I know we’ve been trying to get another pitcher in here, but I never thought Miguel was going to be the one who’s going to go away,” White Sox shortstop Jose Valentin said.
“When you try to get something good, you have to pay the price and give something good away, too. It’s a good trade for us, and we’ll see what happens.”
The White Sox took two of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend to pull within a game of the first-place Twins. Olivo and Timo Perez homered, and Paul Konerko drove in three runs in Sunday’s 9-4 win.
“Hopefully, we take the same intensity we had (Sunday) and this whole series in there,” said Mark Buehrle, who will start for the White Sox on Tuesday. “We have to realize they are the first-place team, and we have to beat the team in front of us if we want to win the division.”
“We’ll come back against the White Sox and see if we can right this thing and get to playing good baseball again,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Center fielder Torii Hunter certainly isn’t ready to hand the division over to the White Sox.
“This is our division,” he said. “We have to try to keep that first place no matter what. We have to … kick ourselves in the butt and come back with a different mindset.”