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White Sox Mon Mar 30 2009

Sox Make a Wise Move in Centerfield

It might have been the least thrilling position battle in Chicago baseball: the fight for the starting centerfielder's job for the White Sox. While the job was expected to belong to minor league hopeful Jerry Owens, contenders Brian Anderson and Dewayne Wise hung around long enough to make it a three-horse race until the very end.

Problem was, the decision eventually came down to not who would emerge as the strongest candidate but the one who would be the least detrimental to the lineup. While all three candidates were pretty solid defensively, their production at the plate left something to be desired. Owens had a pretty lackluster spring, batting .194 for much of the sessonincluding 0-for-4 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. So much for that leadoff man spot the Sox were eying him for.

Anderson, probably the best candidate defensively, performed considerably better, batting .283 this spring, but his regular season batting average dips are legendary, making his selection an exercise in optimism.

Which left Wise who, while batting slightly above .300 this spring saw his performance dip a bit in the past few weeks. While not the strongest defensively in center, his ability to get on base and steal as a leadoff man was definitely in his favor.

Which brings us to today, when the White Sox finally arrived at a decision and tabbed Wise as the starting centerfielder, although he is expected to share a lot of that time with Anderson. Despite his productive spring, Wise will still have to prove himself as an everyday player. He is a career .214 major league hitter, not exactly leadoff man numbers.

As for Owens, once thought to be a sure bet to be a key member of the Sox regulars, he was was placed on waivers.

The entire situation may not be fulled etched in stone yet. Word is that the team is looking at the Yankees' Melky Cabrera, though that depends on who you talk to.

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