TORONTO -- Bo doesn't know managing, but that won't keep him out of the lineup when the American League Championship Series resumes here tonight.
Chicago White Sox manager Gene Lamont said yesterday that he thought Bo Jackson was not only wrong, but also diplomatically insensitive with remarks made after Game 2. But Lamont also said he thought Jackson presented the best hope to give his struggling team a lift against the Toronto Blue Jays.
With Frank Thomas declared fit to return to his normal first-base position, Jackson will be inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter. In Thomas' absence the first two games, Dan Pasqua played first base and, like most of the White Sox, was offensively and defensively defective.
Down two games to none in the best-of-seven playoff series, the White Sox face what is virtually a must-win situation tonight, when left-hander Wilson Alvarez faces Pat Hentgen, the rookie right-hander who won 19 games for the Blue Jays this season.
Following the White Sox's 3-1 loss to Toronto Wednesday afternoon, Jackson refrained from making a verbal second-guess Lamont, but left no doubt he disagreed with some of his manager's decisions. "We've been playing for two days one man short," Jackson said after the White Sox lost to the Blue Jays for the second straight time.
"We've been missing that extra at-bat. It shows the last two games. We're trying to play catch up. Not being able to help
your teammates is frustrating."
Lamont indicated here yesterday that one way Jackson could help at least one of his teammates (Pasqua) was to keep his mouth shut. "I'll tell you why I have a problem with statements like that -- because it is also directed toward a player," said Lamont.
"I would hope no player would say we played one man short. If Bo played and struck out four times [which he has done], I wouldn't want somebody to say we had played one man short.
"If I had my choice, Frank Thomas would've played first base. But I didn't think Frank could play well enough defensively.
"I think my job as manager is putting players in the right spots," said Lamont. "And I think I know my players pretty good."
The White Sox, collectively, couldn't have been in a very good mood yesterday. Not only are they two games down in the ALCS, but they encountered mechanical problems with their chartered plane yesterday. They were 2 1/2 hours late arriving in Toronto, causing a delay for the day-off workout.
Jackson wasn't as quotable yesterday as he had been the day before. He refused to comment either before the workout or after had been told by Lamont that he would be in the lineup tonight.
"Get away . . . get away . . . get away," Jackson said before he took the field. "I've got more important things to do. Don't tick me off, I don't have anything to say."
Then, approaching the batting cage, Jackson said to White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice, "Why do they want to talk to me? I didn't even play [the first two games]."
During the workout, Lamont spent considerable time talking to Thomas, Jackson and George Bell, another disgruntled, no-commenting DH in waiting. What he saw during the workout was enough to convince him that Thomas could play in the field.
"Unless something happens overnight, Frank will play first base and Bo will be the DH," he said. "The biggest reason I didn't start Frank at first base was because I was afraid he'd be a little tentative.
"I don't want him to get hurt. But he's had a little more time now, and I think he'll be OK."
Lamont informed Jackson of his decision personally, rather than through one of his coaches, but said he didn't mention the "playing one man short" comment that annoyed him. "If I was going to do something like that, I would do it in the quiet of my office," said Lamont.
Lamont said his reason for choosing Jackson over Bell, neither of whom has had much success against the Blue Jays, was based on his observations the last month of the season. "Bo has been swinging the bat better," said Lamont. "I just think he's the right man.
"I think George has been a great hitter, but he hasn't been swinging the bat good. If they were both swinging the bat good, it would be a tough decision. But right now, Bo is swinging the bat better."
Lamont recognizes the urgency of the situation facing the White Sox, but insisted it was far from hopeless. "Being down 2-0 is bad, but it's not impossible," he said. "If we lose tomorrow [tonight], I'll say the same thing -- but there's no question that's a very big game for us.
"We've lost two in a row a lot of times during the season and come back to win the next four," said Lamont, who again refused to say Toronto's postseason experience was the major factor.
"I'm sure it's helped them," he said. "But there's nothing we can do about that. We just have to score some runs. I don't think our [postseason] inexperience has anything to do with that."
And Lamont is hoping that Bo Jackson knows hitting enough to help rectify the situation.
AL PLAYOFFS TONIGHT
(Blue Jays lead series, 2-0)
Site: SkyDome, Toronto
White Sox starter: Wilson Alvarez (15-8, 2.95)
Blue Jays starter: Pat Hentgen (19-9, 3.87)
TV: Channels 11, 9
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)