SEATTLE -- The White Sox might be on a six-game road swing, but utility player Brent Lillibridge feels right at home.
That of course, may have something to do with sleeping in his own bed and seeing friends and family, but that's the perk for the Seattle-area native when the White Sox visit the Mariners.
"I've got family and friends [here], the randoms and people I haven't seen since high school will yell at me after being in the beer garden or something, but it's just part of it, it's fun," Lillibridge said. "I love my parents seeing me play, and the brothers and also just having my wife here and my little baby, so everyone can see them."
Lillibridge, who starred at the University of Washington from 2003-05, wasn't able to give an estimate of how many family and friends would be at the games this weekend, but said he always welcomes seeing familiar faces.
Because most of his time is taken up by baseball, Lillibridge won't be able to visit many of his old haunts while in Seattle, but every day he'll arrive for work at one of the places that was part of his childhood.
"I have more memories with the Kingdome than Safeco, but the Seattle Mariners are part of my family's fandom," he said. "I grew up on the '95 team and the 2001 team. Those teams were so fun to watch and you have so many memories of what you were doing when this [or that] happened."
Spacious Safeco may help struggling hitters
SEATTLE -- On first glance, Safeco Field might be the worst place for the struggling White Sox offense to play a three-game series.
But the spacious ballpark, commonly known as pitcher-friendly, just might be the cure for the White Sox woes.
"I just look at it as it's probably better for us sometimes to get to places like this because you don't feel like you can freewheel and hit the ball in the air, and think you get something out of it," manager Robin Ventura said before his club pounded out a 7-3 victory Friday. "So you get to a place like this, and you have to hit more things on a line and look a little more down in the zone than maybe you do at a park where you can hit some homers."
"Sometimes it's good for a team to come to a park that's a big park because it kind of takes the power out of the equation and you go up there and do what you should be doing to begin with: Just hitting it hard, and just trying to stay up the middle and hitting balls on a line," first baseman Paul Konerko said.
Konerko is one of the few White Sox players not struggling, as he has opened up the season hitting .340 with nine RBIs and five doubles. Adam Dunn, after hitting two homers and driving in five runs Friday, is hitting .265 with three homers, 12 RBIs and five doubles.
Teammate Alex Rios believes Chicago could add to its doubles totals this weekend, as there are plenty of extra-base hits for the taking at spacious Safeco Field. While the home runs might not come in bunches, he said, there are other qualities that cater to batters, if the park is used correctly.
"You can take a bunch of doubles and triples at the same time, it's not all about homers and power numbers," he said. "You can definitely take a bunch of doubles and triples in this ballpark."The White Sox hit two homers and two doubles among their eight hits on Friday.
Ventura to be candid, but in private
SEATTLE -- Even though the White Sox have struggled offensively to begin the season, don't expect manager Robin Ventura to publicly call out any players. The first-year manager said he prefers to keep the lines of communication open, but behind closed doors.
"I don't think I have to do it publicly -- we'll definitely do it within the clubhouse," Ventura said. "I've just always felt that way. I've played on teams, [and] that was how it was done.
"To me, that was the right way to do it; That was the way I came up in the game, the guys that you learn from and respect the most, that was the way it was done."
Ventura said that doesn't mean he'll shy away from difficult subjects with the players, but he doesn't feel it's necessary to do it in a public setting.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski had recorded an RBI in a career-high seven straight games, but he went 0-for-3 on Friday and saw that streak come to an end. It is the longest such streak by a White Sox player since current teammate Paul Konerko collected RBIs in eight straight games from May 28-June 7 of last year.
The White Sox struck out 16 times Thursday against the Orioles, tying them with Baltimore for the most in the American League this season with 111.
After starting the season in a bit of a slump, outfielder Alex Rios has an eight-game hitting streak.
"I'm just trying to focus on having a good approach and good at-bats," he said before a 1-for-3 performance Friday. "I'm not trying to overthink it on mechanics and stuff like that. Basically, I'm trying to keep it simple."