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posted: 7/31/2012 5:30 AM

A real deal, a scapegoat and a fall guy

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  • The addition of third baseman Kevin Youkilis was a big move by general manager Kenny Williams to bolster the White Sox' chances of winning the AL Central.

      The addition of third baseman Kevin Youkilis was a big move by general manager Kenny Williams to bolster the White Sox' chances of winning the AL Central.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North

It's good to know that Kenny Williams isn't buying the malarkey that the Detroit Tigers are the team to beat in the American League Central.

With recent moves, like the top pickup of the year in Kevin Youkilis, and the additions of Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano, he not only has added some veteran help and extra arms, but Kenny is sending a loud-and-clear message to players and fans: Detroit might be the fashionable pick, but the White Sox in first place on Aug. 1 means the Sox can win the division.

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I'm right there with him! The Chris Sale arm issue is a concern, but with some reinforcements I think the Sox have enough.

Scapegoat for the Jets: Tebow or Sanchez?

I'm amused by people who keep saying on the air or in the press that Tim Tebow will be prey for special teams when he lines up on the kickoff team for the New York Jets.

Tebow has put on about 10 pounds of muscle, and his weight stands at about 250 pounds. If Tebow has the ball and is running full speed right at you, I can guarantee there are other players you'd rather tackle than him.

The bias against the guy is hilarious, and people at Jets practice were even heckling him. Why?

In the meantime Bart Scott, his Jets teammate, says Tebow is a great guy and teammate.

I do know by Game 6, there will be a quarterback controversy between Tebow and Mark Sanchez, and it won't be either guy's fault. The Jets just aren't that good, and the quarterback will be the scapegoat.

Boston's Chickengate holdovers have to go:

Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox manager, takes a lot of heat.

He took over a horrible situation, has had multiple injury problems and has coaches and players who still roll their eyes when he manages.

Rumors are he will be gone at the end of the year. I hope not.

Whether you like Valentine or not, you can't retain coaches from the previous regime who are indifferent toward you.

Same goes for players, like the .265 hitting Dustin Pedroia, who this week coaxed Terry Francona into hanging in the Boston clubhouse while Valentine was there.

Pedroia and six or seven players fawned over their ex-manager while he was here on assignment for ESPN. Pedroia has been chirping against Valentine since the beginning of the season.

If Valentine stays, the holdovers of last year's Chickengate from the Sept. 7-20 Red Sox debacle -- Pedroia and Josh Beckett -- have to go. It should be an interesting off-season for Boston.

•Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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