Podsednik plans to return to what works

Updated: December 15, 2004, 5:35 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- New Chicago White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik has a simple explanation for the dramatic drop in his numbers last year.

"I tried to do way too much, and I simply failed," he said Wednesday. "I think that I showed up to spring training '04 clearly trying to go out and be the player that I was the season before. I tried to do way too much from an offensive standpoint. I came out of my comfort zone. When you're playing against the best, you simply can't do that."

After nine years of bouncing around the minors, Podsednik had a breakout year in 2003 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit .314 with nine homers, 58 RBIss, 43 stolen bases and a .379 on-base percentage. He led NL rookies in nine offensive categories, reached base safely in 47 straight games and was runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting.

He became just the fourth rookie ever to hit .300, steal 40 bases and score 100 runs, joining Jimmy Barrett (1900), Shoeless Joe Jackson (1911) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001).

"That first year, I didn't go out and try to do too much," he said. "I stayed within myself, I didn't try to overswing."

Last season, though, was a different story. He led the major leagues with 70 stolen bases, but his batting average dropped to .244 and his on-base percentage fell to .313.

"I definitely got in the mode where I was trying to pull too much, I was trying to hit those gaps," he said. "It's just a matter of getting back to my approach, getting myself back on base. That's what I'm going to try and get back to."

But Podsednik will be doing it in a different uniform, traded to the White Sox on Monday along with Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named for slugger Carlos Lee.

Though Lee had 31 homers and 113 RBIss last year, general manager Ken Williams wants the White Sox to get away from their reliance on the home run. He wants consistent run-production, more speed and better defense.

Podsednik fits that description perfectly, and also gives the White Sox a true leadoff man. He also gives them another left-handed bat.

"When you've got a guy getting on base at the top of the lineup, it sparks the offense," he said. "With my speed, I can use my legs to try to get myself on base and try and get into scoring position. That's how I'm going to help ballclubs, play solid defense in the outfield and getting myself on base and providing a spark for the lineup.

"That's my game," he added. "Those are my tools and I'm going to try and be best player I can using those abilities.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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