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Taking responsibility, with humor

Billy Koch stunk as the White Sox' closer, and as a result was sent packing to the Marlins. I think Koch's reaction to the trade is worth noting. As the Sun-Times headline reads, Koch closes Sox stint with class:

''I never dropped my ERA more in one day in my whole life.''

The Marlins are banking on a fresh start resurrecting Koch's career as a late-inning force. The Sox also realized a fresh start was probably the only way Koch could get out from under a cloud that hung over him for most of his career in Chicago.

''It will help the Marlins because it is a different scenario for him,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said Friday, a day after Koch was dealt to the Marlins for minor-league shortstop Wilson Valdez.

''Since he got here, he didn't do the job. But the way he acted when we told him yesterday, he showed me something. He is a class act.''

Koch said he told Ken Williams he knew the Sox' general manager gambled when the right-hander was acquired in December 2002 in a trade that sent closer Keith Foulke to the Oakland Athletics. Foulke is now one of the top closers in baseball, pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

''I told Kenny: 'It's a shame you put your neck out on the table for me and I didn't get the job done,''' said Koch, who was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and eight saves in 11 chances.

Billy's a former Clemson pitcher, so I'm by no means impartial, but don't you think a stand-up guy like him deserves to get his A-game back?