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Big Opportunity, Smaller Role

White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, in varying moments, can talk about Ken Griffey Jr. as a part of his outfield or a part of history. But this October, those two identities -- Griffey's current ability and his legend -- have made for a delicate juxtaposition. On July 31, the White Sox acquired the future Hall of Famer from Cincinnati. But with his new team, Griffey had 131 at bats, a .260 average and three home runs.

In the last week, he's been pulled for a pinch runner. And Guillen sat Griffey on the bench for Game 2.

Griffey has been around long enough to understand -- and he's handled the diminished role with grace. "That's baseball," he said.

And he's also adapted, contributing in less flashy ways. In Game 3, he alertly tagged up to second base in the third inning, an aggressive move that turned into a run when the next batter singled.

"Junior makes it easy for me," Guillen said. "A lot of people thought he is going to be a pain in the butt here. He has been awesome. He has been great for the club, for his teammates, contributes a lot. ... I can tell my grandkids I managed that guy once."

Is this all worth it for Griffey -- swallowing a little ego for a chance at the postseason? You bet. Until this year, he hadn't appeared in the playoffs since 1997.

By Chico Harlan  |  October 6, 2008; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  White Sox  
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And so of course, he Ks for the last out.
We still love you, Jr.

Posted by: ce | October 6, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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