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Sox seek more offensive balance

(MCT) — NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The greatest fears of manager Robin Ventura were realized late in the 2012 season when the Chicago White Sox suddenly failed to hit in the clutch and became overly reliant on the home run that suddenly stopped in late September.

"Yes, it’s something we want to address," general manager Rick Hahn said Monday night. "We want to find other ways to beat you than strictly power, and I think I talked about that during my opening press conference. Given the league we play in and the ballpark we play in, we have to have the ability to hit the ball out of the park to compete, and we’re not going to shy away from power. It's wonderful to have a team that can hit 200 home runs.

"We’d like to do some other things too, have some speed, be able to hit and run and have the ability to go from first to third and score from second - do some of the little things that help you when your power is slumping or the wind is blowing in and you can’t quite compete like that. And we have talked about a few possibilities via trade and free agency that could come in and complement our offensive attack, but we’re going to need a power core in that ballpark."

The Sox ranked third with 211 home runs but were eighth with 109 stolen bases. Although they were more efficient in stolen base attempts than in past seasons, new first base coach Daryl Boston has spoken about the need for the Sox to be more aggressive on the base paths.

In addition, the potential departure of A.J. Pierzynski could leave the Sox without a productive left-handed hitter. Pierzynski produced 77 of the Sox's 277 RBIs by left-handed hitters, and Hahn knows that's a concern if Pierzynski leaves.

“It’s not a necessity, but is it a priority? Yes," Hahn said. "It would be nice (to have another left-handed hitter). Again, we talked about this on a conference call last week. Many of our right-handed hitters hit right-handed pitching well. So I don’t feel the lineup is fatally flawed if we have to have simply (Alejandro) De Aza and (Adam) Dunn as left-handed hitters in the everyday lineup. Ideally, though, there would be more balance. There would give Robin more options to play more effectively. Again, it’s not a necessity but priority is a better way of putting it.”

The Sox were 23-24 in games against left-handed starters and batted .252 against left-handers (compared to a .256 mark against right-handers).

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