CHICAGO — Scott Podsednik helped the Chicago White Sox end a long championship drought. He may soon be in position to do the same for the Cubs.
The Chicago Tribune, citing a major league source, reported on its Web site Friday that the Cubs claimed Podsednik off waivers. The White Sox had two business days to work out a trade with the Cubs, simply let him go to the North Side team or pull him off waivers.
The Cubs, who began the day a half-game behind Milwaukee in the NL Central, could use a leadoff hitter and left fielder, with Alfonso Soriano nursing a torn quad muscle. Podsednik would fill those needs, although he would not provide the power.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry could not immediately be reached for comment.
White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn would not comment on Podsednik’s situation or say how many players the team had on waivers.
“I don’t think any club would place just one player that they’re looking to trade on waivers because then it would be obvious to other clubs what your intention is or how you view a specific player,” Hahn said. “The fact that a specific player was or was not placed on waivers or was claimed by a club is not indicative of the likelihood of a deal.”
Podsednik didn’t want to get involved in any conjecture.
“The game is hard enough without concerning yourself with outside business that’s going on,” said Podsednik, who was batting .262 with seven steals entering Friday’s game against Seattle. “First and foremost, we don’t control that.”
A catalyst in 2005, when the White Sox won their first championship since 1917, Podsednik had been dropped from first to seventh in the batting order. He was in the lineup Friday, after being limited to 34 games due to injuries.
He underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in the offseason for the second straight year, but injuries continued to plague him. He spent two months on the disabled list because of a strained adductor muscle early in the season and went back on the DL in July because of a strained left ribcage muscle.
At the time, manager Ozzie Guillen called Podsednik “unreliable,” but he took a different stance on Friday.
“I never will say that about my players,” Guillen said. “A lot of people have a ring on their fingers because of him. When that came out, I had a meeting with my team and expressed, myself, what I really meant and the way it came out.”
Acquired from Milwaukee in the Carlos Lee deal in December 2004, Podsednik batted .290 with 59 steals — second most in club history — and he supplied one of the most memorable moments of the postseason in 2005. He hit a game-ending homer off Brad Lidge in Game 2 of the World Series, and the White Sox went on to sweep Houston for their first championship since 1917.
But he’s had trouble staying healthy.
Podsednik missed two weeks in 2005 with a strained left adductor. He appeared in 139 games last season but batted .261 with 40 steals.
The Cubs, seeking their first championship since 1908, began the day 59-55 and were tied for fourth in the wild-card race after a slow start this season.