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Hoge: Low Attendance Limiting Kenny Williams, White Sox

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Kenny Williams addresses the media. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Kenny Williams addresses the media. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) Asked Monday if he has restrictions in the moves he can make because of low attendance, Kenny Williams had a simple answer:

“Yes.”

The White Sox general manager ended his answer right there and the awkward silence started to set in as reporters waited for him to explain further.

“I don’t want to expound because then I get buried because I’m crying about money and I don’t want to do that,” he said.

But can you really blame him? At some point a fact is a fact: the White Sox’s attendance issues are going to have an impact on what kind of improvements can be made in the next month and a half.

That actuality couldn’t have been more obvious on a warm June night when the White Sox were just hours away from hosting the Cubs and the game wasn’t sold out yet.

And if your wondering if the always aggressive Williams wants to make additions to the club, that answer was obvious after he was asked if the possible return of John Danks and Brent Morel from the disabled list would impact whether or not trades are made.

“No matter if they were here or not, we’re still going to look at potential places where we can improve the club,” Williams said. “But you have to be careful with that because once guys start to believe in themselves as a unit, once they rally around one other … you have to be careful to disrupt that chemistry and right now it’s pretty good.”

The general manager also addressed a number of other topics before the start of the White Sox-Cubs series at U.S. Cellular Field. Here is what he had to say, word-for-word:

On what grade he gives manager Robin Ventura so far…

It’s an A. I don’t give grades out like that but it’s pretty obvious that we’re in a position to compete for a division championship so I think you have to do that. But it’s beyond that for me. It’s a stability that we needed. He was the right guy at the right time and I think his coaching staff is a compliment to him and gives our players the best chance to be who they are. I think you see a lot of guys who are comfortable in that clubhouse and are motivated in that clubhouse to achieve for themselves and for that staff as well.

On if he’s talked to Ventura about in-game decisions…

I honestly have not had any discussions — actually yesterday was the first little mini-discussion I had with regards to what the thought process was in a certain situation, but he always has good answers when we discuss the happenings of the day.

On limiting Chris Sale and Jake Peavy…

We’ve basically had those guys on a college schedule with pitching once every six days, once every seven days on occasion. The reason why Stewart is pitching tonight is so we can continue that and we’re not taxing them. You might see them go into 117-120 pitch count from time-to-time, a few extra than we normally would if they were on an every five game rotation, however, because we are giving them six and seven days, we can do that. In the second half of the season we will go to a more conventional five-day rotation where we’re really trying to grind it out and not do such things.

On if Quintana will stay in the rotation when Danks comes back…

He’s made it very interesting. Ultimately those are conversations that once we are completely healthy we’ll have to have. But you know how it is around here, we’re going to try to grind it out and it’s the best man wins. That’s what competition is all about.

On if that discussion was about Ventura taking Quintana out after eight innings and 77 pitches…

I didn’t say that. I just said there was something we discussed.

On if Adam Dunn can still improve…

I still think once he gets himself to a point where he’s starting to go to left-center field with some power too, you better watch out because it can get scary and he can get on runs where he carries a team.

On how happy he is for Dunn’s success…

The man never changed last year. I think you guys saw and dealt with him enough that he remained the same guy and a lot of guys will change their personality based on their success. They’ll get over inflated or they’ll get deflated and go away. He didn’t do that and remained a positive teammate for his guys so I couldn’t be happier for him as a person, as a player, and I’m happy for me too.

On if he ever considered playing Dayan Viciedo at third base in National League parks…

I did, but it was just in conversation and I was shot down in the room pretty quickly. Just because you throw out things and you banter them about and he wasn’t as bad as people want to think he was. I think in an emergency situation he can go in there — he’d probably be scared to death right now but we’re probably best to leave him. They were right, I was wrong.

On pitching prospect Simon Castro (acquired in Carlos Quentin deal):

We are really happy with his progress. He has returned to the guy that he was when he was one of the top prospects in baseball with San Diego. So we are really happy with his progress. We’re going to make sure that continues and have the conversations like we did with Quintana and some of the other guys that we have brought up quickly. Can he handle it make-up-wise? And will he continue to grow and not go backwards? So it’s a delicate situation when you are discussing something along those lines. But we couldn’t be anymore pleased than we are with him.

For more White Sox coverage, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).

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