Damon-White Sox talk is surfacing

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Talk surfaced Thursday that the White Sox are pursuing free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon.

Here's why such a move would make sense:

The White Sox's need for a leadoff hitter. Damon is superior to the team's current leadoff option, Juan Pierre.

The White Sox's need for a left-handed bat. Pierre, Mark Kotsay, Mark Teahen and A.J. Pierzynski currently are the team's only left-handed hitters. The Sox want either a left-handed bat with power or strong on-base skills. Damon offers both.

The role. The White Sox balked at keeping Jim Thome because they could use him only as a DH. Damon would offer more versatility. Manager Ozzie Guillen could use him both as a DH and left fielder.

The ballpark. Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field is far more hitter-friendly than Detroit's Comerica Park. Damon put up big numbers last season at the new Yankee Stadium. If he did the same in Chicago on a one-year deal, he could re-enter the market in a strong position next season.

The town. Damon likely would pick Chicago over Detroit, and his wife, Michelle, is said to prefer a bigger, more cosmopolitan city.

Of course, the possibility also exists that Damon's agent, Scott Boras, is merely trying to draw the White Sox into the bidding to persuade their division rival, the Tigers, to increase their offer.