Notes: Hall desires to be part of winner
Cintron recovering from removal of bone spurs
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Toby Hall had a strong desire to win and he was equally determined to return to playing baseball in the American League.
Analysis doesn't need to run much deeper than these two points as to why Hall signed a two-year deal, with an option for 2009, to support starting catcher A.J. Pierzynski with the White Sox.
"Exactly, that's where I'm at right now," said Hall of opting to play a reserve role with a championship contender. "My career so far, it has been reluctant 90- or 100-loss seasons every year.
"So, this is a chance to win, and I want to do whatever I can to help them out in this division," Hall added.
Hall, 31, played parts of seven seasons with the Devil Rays, before being traded to the Dodgers on June 27 of last season. His limited playing time with Los Angeles was the right-handed hitter's first experience even close to postseason contention.
From 2000 to 2005, Hall made impressive contributions to a team that won 70 games only once during that stretch and lost at least 95 games on four occasions. Even with Pierzynski firmly entrenched as the White Sox starting catcher, a player who prides himself on being ready to play every day even in this draining position, Hall's selection of the White Sox became fairly clear in his mind.
"Just playing against them throughout my career and seeing what they have accomplished the past four or five years and being in the atmosphere of Chicago," said Hall, listing a few more reasons for joining the White Sox. "This is where I wanted to be and where I wanted to win."
Ozzie Guillen certainly hasn't used the word platoon with the left-handed-hitting Pierzynski and right-handed-hitting Hall, and he made clear again Saturday his desire to keep the bat in Pierzynski's hands. But Hall does figure to get his fair share of playing time against the tough left-handers in the American League Central, such as Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee and Minnesota's Johan Santana.
"It's not easy to catch once per month," said Guillen of his plan to use Hall. "We can come with him against lefties or during day games. We will get him at-bats and find out how he will play."
Recovering and waiting: While Alex Cintron continues to wait with the rest of the White Sox for Juan Uribe's arrival, which still is scheduled to be with the other position players Thursday, the infield reserve is focused on getting his own game up to par after offseason surgery. Cintron had bone spurs removed from his right elbow, currently limiting him in on-field activity.
But Cintron believes he will be ready for action once the Cactus League gets under way. The December surgery was a necessity in Cintron's mind to relieve the pain felt during everyday play.
"Hopefully, I'll be better than last year because it bothered me with the bone spurs right there," said Cintron, who said he will be throwing from 50 feet, 75 feet and 100 feet to build up his arm strength, as well as taking 50-or-so swings per day to test his elbow. "I think I'm going to be fine.
"It's not like it's Tommy John surgery or anything like that. You have to deal with bone spurs and it's really a cleanup."
As for the possibility of increased playing time depending on Uribe's demeanor and physical conditioning following offseason legal problems, with a remote chance to move into the starting lineup, Cintron simply is focused on being ready to play regardless of the situation.
"I'm comfortable doing what I'm doing because I know my job is coming off the bench until they tell me to play every day," Cintron said. "Then, I'll prepare my mind to play every day.
"If not, I'll just be a utility guy, get my work in at the other positions and get ready to play for [Tadahito] Iguchi and Uribe and [Joe] Crede," Cintron added.
Coming attraction: Guillen plans to save his 'A' material for the speech delivered to the full squad prior to the first all-encompassing workout on Feb. 22. But the White Sox manager was happy with what he witnessed after just one day of the long Spring Training schedule.
"From what I see, I like it," Guillen said. "The first day of Spring Training, you cannot judge anybody. But it was fun to watch those guys throw the ball.
"The expectations are pretty high from my part and my coaching staff. The grinding has to come back."
Diversified behind the plate: Along with Sunday night's culmination of his highly successful storyline within TNA Wrestling as the heel to David Eckstein's good guy role, Pierzynski also spent the early part of last week filming a television commercial with Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs pitcher gave high marks to Pierzynski, calling him a "real nice guy," while Pierzynski personally enjoyed the experience.
"It was a fun time," Pierzynski said. "It was eight hours of hard work, laying in bed and pretending I was sleeping."
Around the horn: Javier Vazquez threw a brief bullpen session Saturday before heading back to the clubhouse. He was excused with flu-like symptoms but should return to workouts Sunday. ... Guillen expects Scott Podsednik to arrive in Tucson a bit earlier than the rest of the position players, but pointed out that he won't have anything to do baseball-wise until mid-Spring Training. "If [Paul] Konerko had the same problem, he might be back in three weeks because he doesn't use his legs," Guillen said. "But Podsednik, that's his game and we have to be careful and make sure he's ready to go."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.