SoxFest kicked off Friday, and here are some of the highlights from the Palmer House Hilton:
*You can read more details on this in tomorrow's paper, but closer Bobby Jenks looked great.
Challenged by manager Ozzie Guillen late last season to keep his weight under control, Jenks looked to be about 20 pounds lighter.
He is still stung by Guillen's typically candid criticism, but Jenks appears to be motivated for a monster 2010 season.
“He looks the best I've ever seen him,” said GM Kenny Williams. “I'm really proud of this guy. We're in a good place with Bobby Jenks.”
*Kenny was carrying a list of free-agent left-handed hitters in his pocket, and there is a chance he could sign a big bat (no, not Jim Thome) before the season ends.
But for now, Kenny is going to sit back and see how Ozzie's rotating DH system works.
*Speaking of Thome, it looks like he's close to signing with the rival Minnesota Twins for maybe $1 million.
“He wants to stay with the White Sox,” a source told me at the Palmer House. “But he wants to play, and he doesn't need the money. He's talked to the Twins and Tampa Bay, but he wants to stay in the Midwest and he likes the way the Twins play the game.”
*As it stands now, Gordon Beckham is going to stay in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, behind new leadoff man Juan Pierre.
And, no, Beckham is not moving from second base to shortstop after playing third base last season.
*Who got the loudest cheers during SoxFest introductions?
Gordon Beckham, A.J. Pierzynski, Jake Peavy and Ozzie were about even in rabid support.
*Best quote I: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” _ Kenny Williams when asked about opening last season with Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon in the final two spots in the rotation.
*Best quote II: “You know how to find a good hitting coach? Find good hitters.” _ Ozzie when a fan complained about hitting coach Greg Walker.
*Best quote III: “(Jake Peavy) gets the first fine of the season for those holes he has in his jeans. Like he can't afford to fill a few holes.” _ Williams on Peavy, who was wearing well-worn jeans and a San Diego Chargers T-shirt during Friday's media gathering.
*Best quote IV: “Hey, I'm comfortable. Nobody told me this was a black-tie event.” _ Peavy when told about Williams' dig.