BOSTON -- Ask Ken "Hawk" Harrelson to name favorite White Sox players from his 33 years in the television booth and Chris Sale's name falls in the top five along with Mark Buehrle and Robin Ventura.That feeling of respect and admiration is reciprocated by the six-time All-Star, who sat atop
BOSTON -- Ask Ken "Hawk" Harrelson to name favorite White Sox players from his 33 years in the television booth and Chris Sale's name falls in the top five along with Mark Buehrle and Robin Ventura.
That feeling of respect and admiration is reciprocated by the six-time All-Star, who sat atop the White Sox rotation for five years before being traded to Boston as part of the organization's rebuild. In fact, Sale has gained a greater feel for Harrelson's impact looking back from the outside.
"It was kind of all I knew," Sale told MLB.com about Harrelson, who is working primarily Sunday home games during his final season in the booth. "But I come in [the Boston clubhouse], and people are saying, 'He gone,' and 'Put it on the board,' all his sayings that he had. Guys from other teams really love listening to him talk and do what he does.
"He's funny, he's energetic. Shoot, he still sends me texts every once in a while. I always love looking down at the phone and seeing Hawk texting me or calling me. It kind of stinks that he's done, but hopefully he'll come in for some guest appearances or something like that."
Harrelson, 76, was in Boston this weekend filming a documentary on his life, and his public appearance still produces numerous requests for selfies or cries of "Hawk" from devoted fans. He's an unabashed supporter of the White Sox as a broadcaster, a supportive quality carrying over directly toward the players.
"Absolutely. No doubt. He's always one of the first ones in the clubhouse, picking guys up, patting them on the back," Sale said. "He's not afraid to tell you, 'Hey, that was unbelievable, that was outstanding.' I appreciated that, especially being young and kind of growing up a little bit, and he always stayed the same.
"He's a character. He's full of life. He loves baseball. He knows his stuff. So, it's pretty impressive when you come to other teams, and they are saying 'Gas,' and all of that stuff. Looking back I appreciate it more now than I did when I was there."
Former White Sox standouts such as Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas will be in the booth with Harrelson for one game each this season.
Gonzalez eager to pitch
Miguel Gonzalez threw a bullpen Sunday at Fenway Park, marking the right-hander's second session this week. He pointed toward a possible Minor League injury rehab assignment in 10 days, but Gonzalez simply wants to be as healthy as possible after being out since April 18 with right rotator cuff inflammation.
"I gotta be for sure 100 percent this time," Gonzalez said. "I don't want another setback and have to do this again.
"Watching our guys play, it does get frustrating after a little while. It's getting to that point where I want to go out there and be able to pitch and perform and help the team win."
Gonzalez, 34, has made 155 career appearances and 148 as a starter. But Gonzalez wants to pitch again over any particular role.
"That's the No. 1," Gonzalez said. "If I feel healthy, to help the team win, it doesn't matter if it's in the bullpen or as a starter, I really don't care."
Third to first
• White Sox manager Rick Renteria had a pregame chat with Yoan Moncada on Sunday about pressing in his return to Boston. Moncada was hitting .167 over his last 16 games and was 4-for-26 on the road trip before getting two hits in Sunday's 5-2 victory.
"He's just got to be himself," Renteria said. "What we want him to do is to continue to improve every single day. Those expectations that he has of himself, that people have of him, those will take care of themselves as he continues to improve."
• Joakim Soria saved all four victories on this seven-game road trip, but Renteria wouldn't call him his closer. Renteria still could use Nate Jones in the ninth, although he refers to the usage of Jones as his crisis-managing situations. Both pitched scoreless baseball, as did Jace Fry, on Sunday.
• Adam Engel missed his fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring. But Renteria expects the center fielder back Monday against the Indians.
• In conjunction with Danny Farquhar's return to Guaranteed Rate Field on June 1, Chicago White Sox Charities raised $10,000 with all proceeds benefitting the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.