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Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Streaking Sox looking more like buyers

By Bruce Levine

Lance Berkman
Lance Berkman could be on the White Sox's radar again now that they look more like buyers.
CHICAGO -- The 2010 season restarts on Tuesday for the Chicago White Sox, who open a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

Winners of six straight, the White Sox stand at .500 with 94 games left and trail the division-leading Minnesota Twins by five games in the loss column.

White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, assistant GM Rick Hahn and their staff are looking at their team much differently now than they did two weeks ago when they trailed by as much as 9 1/2 games. The most likely scenario now is to add players rather than subtract.

If this recent trend of outstanding pitching continues through the Braves and Chicago Cubs series, the White Sox will be out there looking for some extra RBI pop in their lineup. Run production continues to be spotty for this team after Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. The rest of the lineup has been up and down all season, especially right fielder Carlos Quentin, who has shown some signs of returning to his 2008 form which was a monster offensive year for the former Arizona Diamondbacks No. 1 pick.

Teams that will soon be putting up their players for sale in the National League include the Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. The Cubs are on the cusp of that list as well.

American League teams ready to dump players include the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Productive left-handed RBI men like Washington's Adam Dunn and Houston's Lance Berkman are names that will be out there over the next 40 days before baseball's trading deadline on July 31. Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott, a big-time fly ball hitter, will be on the radar for teams like the White Sox who are desperate for left-handed run production.

A.J. Pierzynski leads White Sox left-handed hitters with 18 RBIs.

The Williams-Ozzie Guillen disagreement began in the offseason when Guillen asked for more flexibility with the designated hitter role and Williams agreed against his own better judgment. Williams made one last shot toward getting more left-handed when he went down to the wire with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, falling a couple million dollars short in his bid for the former Yankee, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

July 1 still may be a magic date for the Sox when they finish a nine-game segment against the Braves, Cubs and Royals. That period of games will help Williams and his staff determine the true worth of their roster. The White Sox have 10 games left with Minnesota and Detroit and time to make the American League Central a three-team race.