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updated: 7/10/2012 8:46 PM

Sox GM Williams not done dealing

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  • White Sox general Manager Kenny Williams takes a breather as he watches batting practice before a game against the Cubs last month at U.S. Cellular Field.

       White Sox general Manager Kenny Williams takes a breather as he watches batting practice before a game against the Cubs last month at U.S. Cellular Field.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

The trade for Kevin Youkilis -- thus far -- looks like the stuff of genius.

Then again, nearly everything Kenny Williams has done of late looks like the stuff of genius.

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The White Sox GM has seemingly picked the perfect manager at the perfect time, and his farm system -- systematically ripped for being unproductive -- has produced 10 rookies for the 25-man roster, not to mention young players like Chris Sale -- who could win the Cy Young Award this year.

But as he scours the majors for bullpen help, perhaps Williams can pull off one more magic trick and find a starting pitcher.

If the Sox are to hang on to their Central Division lead they're going to need a lot of luck or a little more help in the rotation because there are so many unknowns at the moment.

The Sox have been extra careful with Sale, but no one knows how he'll hold up under the stress of so many innings.

Jake Peavy has been absolutely brilliant, but his health is always in the back of your mind.

Jose Quintana has been a godsend, but it's unfair to expect him to maintain the same pace.

Gavin Floyd is Gavin Floyd, great when he's hitting the mitt and awful when he's thinking about his repertoire.

The fifth starter is a mystery, with Dylan Axelrod doing what he can to hold down the fort while the Sox wait for Phil Humber to return to action.

There's no reason to be optimistic about John Danks at this point, and even if he's pronounced healthy down the road, he will need spring training all over again and an extended period of time to get ready.

Danks would certainly be the perfect midseason acquisition if they can get him back, but they can't count on him right now.

Williams obviously knows all this, so he has to be thinking about a starter, and someone like Ryan Dempster would fit in nicely. But this is a seller's market, and the Cubs are going to ask for a bundle in return.

Still, Williams right now has the sleight of hand working brilliantly.

Does he have one more ace up his sleeve?

The wonder years

Twelve games does not a career make, but Anthony Rizzo's short time with the Cubs looks quite a bit different from his 49 games with San Diego a year ago.

He has shortened his swing, is quicker to the ball and is willing to take the pitch the other way. The results are an absurd 1.055 OPS in 48 at-bats, with 4 homers, 9 RBI and .354 batting average.

Perhaps just as important, he's brought a real professionalism to the clubhouse, lineup and defense that was sorely lacking, and he sets a terrific example for his fellow youngsters.

It is a tiny sample size, but so far Rizzo appears to be the real deal and is a fabulous building block for Theo Epstein.

Cavs vs. LeBron

Normally, teams in the same conference don't help another team create a Big Three capable of becoming a conference superpower.

So you have to wonder why Cleveland was trying to help Brooklyn acquire Dwight Howard -- though reports Tuesday suggested they were out of it -- even if there were modest benefits for the Cavs.

Maybe it's because the Cavs are still interested in making LeBron James' life as miserable as possible in Miami.

Check down

Best moment of baseball's first half had to be Mets closer Frankie Francisco calling the Yankees "chickens," leading reliever Tim Byrdak to buy a real chicken in New York's Chinatown.

He brought it to Citi Field, and the Mets named it "Little Jerry Seinfeld."

Congrats

To Arlington Heights golfer Doug Ghim, who will represent the East team in the AJGA Wyndham Cup on July 23 at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla.

The Wyndham Cup brings together 40 of the nation's top juniors in an East-West match play tournament.

Best tweet

From @TheFakeESPN: "Ochocinco says he's going to play until he's 40. Patriots say they cut him because he played like he already was."

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Robinson Cano grounds into 6-4-3 triple play at Home Run Derby."

And finally

NBC's Jay Leno: "Republican John McCain and Democrat Harry Reid have called for the federal government to step in and help regulate the sport of boxing. Is that a good idea, something so corrupt and unethical attempting to regulate something so corrupt and unethical?"

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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