Colon to White Sox? Williams not saying

Published2/21/2008 12:10 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Ideally, Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez pick up where they left off, Jose Contreras regains his health (both physical and mental), and John Danks and Gavin Floyd learn from last season's roller-coaster ride.

This is the time on the baseball calendar when the White Sox are allowed to dream a little, and they envision big things from their starting rotation as the full squad checks in today for the first workout of spring training.


"I like the way they look right now,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of his starters.

For the second time in three days, Guillen heaped praise on one of Floyd's early throwing sessions. He also liked Contreras' work Wednesday.

But with general manager Kenny Williams at the switch, no roster spot is ever set in stone.

Having already upgraded the lineup and bullpen, Williams is rumored to be pursing free-agent starter Bartolo Colon.

While he leaned more toward shooting down the rumor that appeared in Impacto Deportivo, a cryptic Williams stopped short of a full denial.

"All the rumors and all the things that kind of surface, they start to take up a large, large portion of my day,'' Williams said. "With all of the things that come out of the Internet, out of talk radio, out of blogs, all of that stuff, I'm just not going to continue to make a habit of confirming or denying anything.

"Believe me, there are times, and this is one of them, where I really want to say what I feel. Sorry.''

Manager Ozzie Guillen saw Colon pitch in the Dominican Republic in January and came away impressed. But while deferring to Williams, Guillen said there is nothing imminent with Colon.

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"It's all rumors,'' Guillen said. "Right now, we don't know anything. Maybe later on. You've got to ask Kenny and (assistant GM) Rick (Hahn). I don't get involved in signing people, but they will let me know if they did or not.''

If the terms are right, signing Colon makes sense.

The burly right-hander was the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2005, when he went 21-8 (3.48 ERA) for the Los Angeles Angels. Colon pitched for the White Sox in '03, going 15-13 with a 4.62 ERA.

Two hurdles stand in front of Colon's return to the South Side.

First, he is rumored to be seeking an $8 million contract for this season, although that figure has been dropping. The Sox reportedly offered a one-year, incentive-based deal.

For as good as he has been, Colon has missed most of the past two seasons with shoulder injuries, and he also has back issues. Colon was a combined 7-13 with a 5.90 ERA the past two years.


Second, at least 10 other teams are rumored to be after the 34-year-old pitcher, and Colon reportedly is interested in signing with a National League team.

After coming up empty in pursuits of free agents Torii Hunter, Kosuke Fukudome and Aaron Rowand during the off-season, Williams obviously is trying to avoid another round of bad publicity.

"I'm not going to say anything,'' Williams said. "Sorry.''


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