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White Sox fire scouting director after 35 years

CHICAGO -- As the Chicago White Sox staggered into their
second interleague series with the Cubs on Friday, they fired
longtime scouting director Duane Shaffer.


General manager Ken Williams said dismissing Shaffer, the senior
director of amateur scouting, had nothing to do with the major
league club's miserable performance -- 19 losses in their previous
24 games. Shaffer was in his 35th season with the team,


"This is a man who's dedicated his life to this profession, and
I don't take it lightly. It was something that we just had to
assess over the course of time as to whether we wanted to continue
down this path or try a new path out," Williams said.


"This is just where we are. It's not a good feeling, not a good
feeling at all to have to do this, but it was necessary for where
we are right now and in no way correlates to what's happening on
the field."


During Shaffer's tenure, the White Sox picked Jack McDowell in
the first round of the 1987 amateur draft, and the right-hander
went on to win an AL Cy Young Award in 1993. They also selected
current regular third baseman Joe Crede in the fifth round in 1996,
and pitcher Mark Buehrle in the 38th round in 1998.


But when the White Sox have dipped into their Triple-A pool two
years after winning the World Series, they've had little success in
finding help.


Williams said that was not a factor in making the change. He
said he expects to appoint a replacement from within the
organization soon.


He said he didn't want to use "philosophical differences" as
the reason but added that description was fitting.


"It doesn't mean my philosophy is any greater than his. It just
means at this point and time, we're going to try it my way,"
Williams said.


Shaffer served as a player, coach, roving instructor, manager,
scout, scouting supervisor and scouting director. He supervised the
team's draft picks from 1991-2007. A pitcher, Shaffer was chosen by
the White Sox in the 11th round of the 1969 draft.


Williams was asked if there are any of his players who are
untouchable with the July 31 deadline not that far away and the
White Sox apparently out of contention.


"I think there are obvious certain core players that we think
it would behoove us to keep around for a longer period of time. But
at the same point, if an offer come in that makes you better as a
whole, then I think you have to consider anything," he said.


"Sometimes you have to remove Player X and Player X's salary
slot to redistribute that in certain ways, much the way we did
Carlos Lee a few years ago," he added. "I would never say never
to certain players, but I can say unlikely to a number of them."


Williams said the most difficult part of a trade would be
deciding if the season-long struggles by proven veteran players are
just a blip or the sign of a downward spiral.


"So can you pick and choose which ones are the ones to keep or
move on?" he asked.


Manger Ozzie Guillen, who played 13 seasons for the White Sox,
said this is the most disappointing stretch of baseball he can
recall because of the talent on the team.


"When you play the way we play everybody is on edge, counting
myself," he said. "I don't come here thinking, I'm going to get
fired today. But some players have that in the back of their mind
--I'm going to get traded or the rumors people are talking about
right now. ... Everybody in baseball, if not now in a couple of
weeks, will start talking about trades to make the team better or
break up the team. Right now, we are not in that position."