Manager Ozzie Guillen said before Thursday’s game that Jean Uribe still drives him crazy, but it may nevertheless still make sense to pick up the shortstop’s $5 million option considering how little else is out there.

It might be a case of his being the best of the worst, but Juan Uribe will probably take it if that means he returns to the White Sox next year.


Manager Ozzie Guillen said before Thursday’s game that Uribe still drives him crazy, but it may nevertheless still make sense to pick up the shortstop’s $5 million option considering how little else is out there.


“Believe me, there is nothing out there that is better than Uribe, (no one who’s) going to make us better than Uribe,” Guillen said. “Believe me, it is not there. But he drives me crazy. I'll be honest with you, Uribe can drive everyone crazy.


“All of a sudden, the season is over, you look up and 20 home runs and 70 RBI. As the manager say, ‘How the hell he do that?’ To be honest with you, I don’t see any shortstop better out there than Uribe. Maybe equal him on the field, throwing and catching the ball.”


The Sox are thin at shortstop in their minor league system, and the likes of David Eckstein and Omar Vizquel are the best free-agent options, which isn’t saying much.


There’s still a good chance the Sox could go the trade route and try to get a shortstop that way, but they could just as easily bring Uribe back for his fourth season on the South Side.


If he does come back, Guillen says it better be a thinner, leaner Juan Uribe.


“If someone is a friend of Uribe, tell him to lose some weight because he's going to be back to a utility player pretty soon,” Guillen said. “I just try to be honest and be a friend for him. When you’re young and you good, you can show up here weighing 350 pounds and play shortstop. But when you have kind of years like that and we’re a losing team, you can give someone else some excuse.


“He’s got to come out in shape, no matter if it is with us or no matter if it is anyone out there.”


Stay off the ledge


Guillen has seen the stories about panic on the North Side and remembers what it was like when his team almost lost a 15-game lead in 2005.


“As long as they keep normal and keep playing the way they should be playing and relax, I think things will work out,” Guillen said. “When you start listening to people out of the system and start reading papers and looking to see all the pressure, you start putting more pressure on yourself.


“I think they’re two games up with three games to go, I think Milwaukee is the one that should be worried about. That’s the one who doesn’t have time.


If the Cubs go there (to Cincinnati) and win one game, they’re in.”


Finish it out


Thanks to Jon Garland’s complete game Wednesday, the Sox came into Thursday’s game tied with Cleveland for second in the American League with nine complete games as a staff. That’s four more than they had last year and as many as they had in 2005.


-- Daily Southtown