CHICAGO -- Ed Farmer, the White Sox radio play-by-play man, formed a nearly four-decade friendship with broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell when the reliever pitched for the Tigers in 1973. Farmer remembered his friend fondly following the passing of the Major League Baseball legend at 92.
"When they gave me the press release, I almost couldn't get through the inning. That's how much I cared about him," said Farmer. "He was married for 68 years and he was the voice of the Tigers. He knew how to do it right.
"He not only showed us how to be a gentleman when I was with the Tigers. But in dying, he showed us how to be a gentleman and lived through something that was traumatic, and near the end, was coming."
Farmer received great broadcasting advice from Harwell: Let them know where the ball is, let them know the score and let them know the passion for the White Sox. More than anything, Farmer valued Harwell's friendship.
"We are going to miss him as a person, No. 1, and as a broadcaster, No. 2, but also his influence on the game," Farmer said. "What a gentleman."
Thornton's future beyond 2011 uncertain
CHICAGO -- At some point in the not too distant future, Matt Thornton might have to make a decision about his career.
The White Sox hold a $3 million contract option on the 33-year-old Thornton for 2011, which they would seem fairly certain to exercise on possibly the best left-handed setup man in the American League. But assuming a multi-year deal is not discussed with Thornton, the 2012 season could bring a chance to close for the man with a fastball in the high 90s.
If that closing opportunity doesn't come with the White Sox, meaning Bobby Jenks or even Sergio Santos fills that particular role, then Thornton could look to another team for that opportunity as a potential free agent.
"It's something I'll tackle when it comes around," Thornton said. "If someone came in and wanted me to be their closer and that situation isn't here yet, that's something that will be kind of a tough choice.
"Obviously, the reason I'm not closing here is because we have one of the better closers in the game in Bobby. It's one of those things where I don't know, but I'm two years away from where I have worry about that. If it came about and I'm in that situation, it would be an interesting choice. I would sit down with my agent and family and figure out which way to go."
Having Thornton in the fold has been like having a second closer behind Jenks. Entering Tuesday, Thornton ranked third among AL relievers with 18 strikeouts and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings at 12.79. Left-handed hitters were a meager 5-for-26 (.192) with 11 strikeouts against Thornton, who had a 2.84 ERA in 12 games.
As for his future home, Thornton would like to remain in the same city where he developed into an elite reliever.
"I love playing in Chicago," Thornton said. "Every year I've been here, they've made every move possible to make this a winning team.
"Like I said, right now I don't worry about it. But I don't want to be that guy bouncing around from team to team, that's not my goal. I'm a very simple person, and I want to stay in one place. Hopefully it works out some day where I get to stay here a few more years after that. I hope to finish my career here."
Buehrle lacking in 'Bieber Fever'
CHICAGO -- White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle has thrown two career no-hitters, including a perfect game hurled against Tampa Bay on July 23 of last season. He started a game in the 2005 World Series and saved another one.
Yet, catching the ceremonial first pitch from pop sensation Justin Bieber prior to Monday's 5-1 victory over the Royals just might be the crowning glory of his illustrious career.
"It meant the world," said Buehrle with a laugh. "I guess if my daughter was a little older and she was freaking out, I guess it would be a bigger deal. But to be honest, I knew who he was and what he does. Other than that, you could have played a song and I wouldn't have known it was him. I guess he's a boy Hannah Montana."
After catching the toss from Bieber, which made it from the mound to home plate on the fly, Buehrle had a cordial discussion with the mega-superstar as they walked off the field. The White Sox ace asked Bieber how he handles his immense amount of success and also joked with him about his female following.
"I asked him how many women he was dating, and he said six or seven," said a smiling Buehrle. "I was making fun of people in here because they were all over taking pictures.
"He's in a position that a lot of people in here might be in now. But I mean, he's 10 or 15 years younger than most. That's the amazing part. Hopefully, he's a good kid and does the right things."
Bieber enjoyed part of Monday's game from a U.S. Cellular Field suite and actually retrieved a Paul Konerko foul ball that he signed and gave to a fan. The White Sox are 1-0 with Bieber in attendance, but as for the young man being the team's new good-luck charm?
"Oh, geez," Buehrle said. "Don't even start that."
Anderson pitching in with the Royals
CHICAGO -- Brian Anderson, the White Sox top pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, gave up his big league outfield quest this Spring Training to become a pitcher. It's a career path change the young man has been talking about for a few years, according to Scott Podsednik, Anderson's friend and teammate in Chicago and with the Royals.
"From what I understand, he's doing pretty well and has shown some potential," said Podsednik of Anderson, who is working to build up his arm strength during his first foray into pitching. "I think he's probably one of the first guys to hit for the cycle during Spring Training and at the end of Spring Training, converted to a pitcher."
The career .227 hitter with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs last pitched for the University of Arizona. Anderson was said to have a fastball in the mid-90s at that time.
South Siders' Peavy on the right track
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen hopes the stellar seven-inning showing from Jake Peavy during Monday's 5-1 win over the Royals gives the hurler a boost of confidence after a shaky April.
"Sometimes no matter how good you are, when you don't start good, you start to put doubts in yourself," said Guillen of Peavy, who fanned nine and walked one.
"For us, it was great. For him, it was more important to see him do what he does best. I think, hopefully, it will be the beginning of a good season for him."
First to third
Current White Sox left-hander John Danks and former slugger Ron Kittle served as honorary head coaches during the 42nd Annual Special Olympics Spring Games Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday morning. ... Carlos Quentin and his wife, Jeane, attended the "Working in the Schools" (WITS) Power Lunch and read to students at McLellan Elementary, a Chicago public school near U.S. Cellular Field. ... The White Sox officially will select 13th overall in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, starting on June 7. They also pick 63rd, 95th and 114th overall. ... The White Sox dropped to 3-8 against the American League Central with Tuesday's 7-2 loss to the Royals.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.