Gregory Infante

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

HOUSTON -- Two weeks ago Chris Volstad was focused on Hurricane Irma prep when the White Sox called to invite him to the majors. On Thursday night, he earned his first major league victory in more than five years as the White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Volstad, who had only made 10 big league appearances the previous four-plus seasons and spent all of 2017 at Triple-A Charlotte, allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings to pick up his first win since Sept. 10, 2012.

He hadn’t just shut it down after the Triple-A season ended, Volstad was actually shuttering his Jupiter, Fla. home and business the day the short-handed White Sox called.

“I was probably a little mentally shut down,” Volstad said. “But yeah, it’s kind of crazy how things can change. I guess it’s been about two weeks now. At home getting ready for a hurricane and then getting called back up to the big leagues.”

Volstad received word he might pitch early in Thursday’s game when a blister on Carson Fulmer’s right index finger worsened. Fulmer felt some discomfort after his Friday start at Detroit.

The White Sox let Fulmer try to go but yanked him after 20 pitches, including two walks. That brought out Volstad, who along with Al Alburquerque was promoted Sept. 10 after the White Sox lost several pitchers to injury.

The White Sox actually had to track Volstad down two weeks ago as he’d already been home for a week. He spent part of the time prepping for Irma, including boarding up his brewery.

He escaped a first-inning jam with a double play ball of the bat of Carlos Correa and ended a threat in the second with a pickoff at second base of Alex Bregman. After he surrendered a solo homer to Brian McCann in the third, Volstad retired the final eight men he faced.

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He was awarded his first victory since he defeated Thursday’s Astros starter Dallas Keuchel 1,836 days ago here. Volstad remembered the win because Houston was still in the National League and he had a base hit in the five-inning start for the Cubs. He went 3-12 for the Cubs that season.

“You’re able to lock it in pretty quickly and get focused at the big-league level, you have to,” Volstad said. “But being home in Triple-A for the last few years, just getting called up about 10 days ago, I’ve got people following it, but it’s kind of unknown I guess. It’s a little surprising, but I’m glad to be a part of a team for sure.”

Fulmer, Volstad, Jace Fry, Mike Pelfrey, Gregory Infante, Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar and Juan Minaya combined on a three-hitter for the White Sox. Tim Anderson extended his hit streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning solo homer, his 17th.

Seven years and 12 teams later, pitcher Gregory Infante back with White Sox

Seven years and 12 teams later, pitcher Gregory Infante back with White Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The last time he stood in a major league clubhouse, Gregory Infante was 22 years old.

Six-and-a-half years and 12 minor league teams later, Infante, 29, is back. The White Sox purchased the right-hander’s contract on Monday and promoted him from Triple-A Charlotte. The eighth man in the team’s bullpen, Infante said he briefly reflected on all the hard work he has put in since he pitched for the White Sox in 2010 after he learned of his promotion.

“I was just happy because I worked a lot the last seven years,” Infante said through an interpreter. “I took a moment to realize all the work, all the teams I had to pass through the last seven years. It was a very satisfying moment for me.”

Infante struck out five batters in 4.2 scoreless innings for the 2010 White Sox.

Since then he has played for Charlotte (three times), Birmingham (twice), Albuquerque, Chattanooga, Buffalo (twice), New Hampshire (twice), Lehigh Valley and Reading. After he spent seven seasons professionally with the White Sox, Infante pitched in the farm systems of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.

He also pitched for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League seven straight years. That included this last season in Venezuela playing for Ozzie Guillen, who encouraged Infante to be unafraid with his fastball and attack hitters — “to be confident in my stuff,” he said. Infante posted 0.38 ERA and struck out 25 batters in 24 innings in Venezuela last winter and re-signed a minor league deal with the White Sox. He made three appearances for the big league club this spring and started the season at Charlotte.

Infante struck out 16 in 13 innings at Triple-A Charlotte and posted a 2.08 ERA.

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“I am very happy and glad to get this opportunity,” Infante said. “The last seven years were tough years, but I also worked a lot in the last seven to get to this point because this is where you want to be as a player.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria suggested the White Sox could stick with an eight-man bullpen for some time. Though the team has the second-fewest innings pitched in relief (109) in baseball, the White Sox have two pitchers in their rotation who have yet to complete six innings in a start.

The moment isn’t lost on Renteria, either. He returned to the majors in 1993 with the Florida Marlins after last playing for the Seattle Mariners in 1988. In between, Renteria suffered what could have been a career-ending injury when he was struck in the face by a line drive at Triple-A.

“I’m sure he’s pretty excited,” Renteria said. “When you’ve been away a little bit, getting back, especially I’m sure he’s been working very hard to do what he needed to do to get here. We saw him in the spring and he did a nice job for us in spring. We brought him over from minor league camp to pitch a couple of innings. He’s been here. He’s experienced. Hopefully he’s comfortable with all of his teammates. We hope we can help him become comfortable and he can go out and do what he needs to do.”

White Sox call up minor-league pitcher, place Geovany Soto on 60-day disabled list

White Sox call up minor-league pitcher, place Geovany Soto on 60-day disabled list

The White Sox called up right-handed pitcher Gregory Infante Monday afternoon.

Infante takes the place of Cody Asche, who was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte Sunday evening.

In order to make room for Infante on the 40-man roster, the Sox moved Geovany Soto to the 60-day disabled list.

Soto has been dealing with an elbow injury and had surgery on Tuesday. His recovery will take at least 12 weeks, so Soto would never have been back within a 60-day timetable anyways.

"He's fine. Obviously nobody ever wants to go down, especially the catcher who has been doing a really nice job for us," manager Rick Renteria said ahead of Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels. "He's been having a lot of fun and has been enjoying the opportunity here, but I think he wants to resolve the pain that he has in his elbow because it's been very significant. He opted to have that cleaned up a little bit."

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Infante, 29, last pitched in the big leagues in 2010 with the White Sox. He did not allow a run in five games (4.2 innings).

Since that 2010 cup of coffee, Infante has bounced around the minor leagues, playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies systems before returning to the White Sox this season.

Infante is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 13 innings with Charlotte, striking out 16 batters and allowing just seven hits.

The 26-year-old Asche was hitting just .105 at the plate prior to his demotion, going 6-for-57 over the span of 19 games.