Cubs the Talk of White Sox Brass

White Sox General Manager Ken Williams said his peace in a Sun-Times article on Wednesday when asked if he could ever see himself as the general manager of the cross-town rival Cubs.

His response?

"That would be a betrayal," the White Sox GM said. "God, I would really, really have to need the job. Oh, wow, really need the job."

On Thursday, it was his manager's turn to tackle a similar scenario, when Ozzie Guillen was asked if he could ever put the blue and red on and manage the Cubs.

"No. I don't know," Guillen said. "I can't say I'm going to burn the bridges. I don't think I'm going to need money. I'm going to wait until (Sox board chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf dies, and then I'll take a look at that. I'll never do it to Jerry Reinsdorf. I'll never do it to Kenny Williams. I don't think. It's hard for me to say no, but it's going to be tough for me to wear that uniform."

The Cubs-Sox series remained the talk of the town, as the teams are on a collision course this weekend.

"I dislike it more from a manager's point," Guillen said of the series. "Believe me, don't take me wrong, it's a great thing for the city. It's an awesome thing for the fans. It's an unbelievable feeling and you go out and people in the streets talk to you about this series. It's great. A lot of people ask about the New York series. I don't think the New York series is bigger than this series. With all the respect to New York fans, this series here, I can't believe it's that important to the fans.

"But from a manager's point, the only good thing about this series is when the game starts, you're going to compete against one of the game's best managers and one of the best teams in the game right now, and that's the only good thing in my way."

Zambrano to Have MRI

The Cubs will know more Friday about ace right-hander Carlos Zambrano, but the bottom line is that Zambrano will miss Tuesday's start against Baltimore and probably one more after that.

Zambrano left Wednesday's start against the Rays after 6 2/3 innings because of "discomfort" in his right shoulder. The 27-year-old Zambrano, who has no history of serious injury, was examined by team physician Stephen Gryzlo Thursday and will undergo an MRI arthrogram Friday to determine the cause of the discomfort.

The Cubs said Zambrano did not have the arthrogram Thursday because he didn't fly to Chicago until Thursday morning and had to have the doctor's exam.

Zambrano experienced neck stiffness last month, but the Cubs said the two ailments are not related.

If the Cubs have to put Zambrano on the disabled list, they're likely to recall left-hander Sean Marshall from Class AAA Iowa next week.

Cubs News and Notes

--OF Kosuke Fukudome, whom manager Lou Piniella has anointed his leadoff man until LF Alfonso Soriano returns from his broken hand, started in center field. Fukudome, normally the right fielder, played in place of Jim Edmonds, who suffered soreness in his left foot Wednesday night. Piniella said he likes Fukudome as his leadoff man because of his high on-base percentage and patience at the plate.

--C Geovany Soto served as DH, with Henry Blanco catching in the finale against the Rays. With a day game at home on the heels of a night game at Tampa Bay, the Cubs are trying to keep their regulars fresh. Soto likely will catch Friday's series opener against the White Sox.

--OF Reed Johnson likely will be ready to play Friday. Johnson missed the final two games at Tampa Bay because of stiffness in his back. The Cubs could use the right-handed Johnson in the series opener, as the White Sox will start LHP John Danks.

--1B Derrek Lee went 3-for-4, all singles, after going 0-for-6 in the first two games at Tampa Bay. Lee has not homered since June 10. Twelve of Lee's 14 homers have come at Wrigley Field.

--SS Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to four games with an RBI single. However, Theriot was 4-for-19 on the trip overall and is looking again like he needs a rest. Ronny Cedeno might get the call at short Friday.

Enemy Camp

--LHP John Danks was scheduled to pitch against the Cubs last season in Wrigley Field but got pushed back a day and missed his turn. Not this time, however, as the second-year player is looking forward to his first start in Wrigley Field on Friday. "Yeah, I was disappointed last year when I got pushed back a day and had to miss my start over there," Danks recalled. "Things are a little different this time around."

What sort of preparation is Danks doing for the atmosphere that awaits him? None. "I don't really notice what's going on around me when I'm on the mound anyway," Danks said. "You watch a game on TV and you see guys in the background waving their hands, but I have never seen a guy do that when I'm on the mound. I'm just focused. I'm sure I'll find out what people think about me when I'm warming up, but that's all fun, I don't care."

--1B Paul Konerko may really be missed this weekend against the Cubs considering his history of performing so well on that big stage. With Konerko on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique muscle, the Sox will be without his 14 career homers against the Cubs.

--DH Jim Thome is ready to play first base if need be this weekend, but manager Ozzie Guillen still wasn't making a commitment one way or the other as to whether he would use the veteran in that spot or simply as a pinch hitter.

"It's all about how he feels," Guillen said of Thome. "It's not about how the game is coming down. We have (Juan) Uribe and (Pablo) Ozuna taking groundballs there, just in case. In the middle of the game if we have to make a move, I'm not going to play Jimmy in the middle of the game, that's for sure. The plan is still out there."

--C A.J. Pierzynski and his 13-game hitting streak will get the start, even with the Cubs scheduled to throw LHP Ted Lilly.

--INF Pablo Ozuna continued heating up. The reserve got the start at third base to give Joe Crede a rest, and he went 3-for-4 in the win. Ozuna is hitting .462 in his last 14 games, but Crede was expected to start Friday against the Cubs.


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