TORONTO — Maybe someday soon the White Sox will have their entire original starting rotation at their disposal but today is not that day.
The White Sox activated James Shields off the 10-day disabled list before Sunday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. But to make room for Shields, the White Sox placed starter Miguel Gonzalez on the DL with A/C joint inflammation in his right shoulder. Gonzalez — who is 4-8 with a 5.49 ERA in 13 starts in 2017 — is the fourth White Sox starting pitcher to be placed on the DL this season. Gonzalez said Sunday he played catch from 60 feet and has begun to feel better after he received a cortisone shot.
“It’s been bothering me for a while,” Gonzalez said. “Thought it was going to get better with the time, but it just didn’t. We decided to give it some rest and had a cortisone shot. Hopefully that helps. Feels better today. Went out and played some catch. No pain. Pain free so that’s a plus.”
Gonzalez said he has felt the pain in the joint, which is on the top of the right shoulder, for “at least a month.” The right-hander pitched very well through his first six starts but has struggled since. Over his last seven turns, Gonzalez has a 7.85 ERA with 51 hits allowed and 16 walks in 39 innings. The same injury previously sidelined Gonzalez for several starts in September 2015 with the Baltimore Orioles.
“When you’re not right, the ball doesn’t do what you want it to do,” Gonzalez said. “It’s always good to ... get it together and strong. I’ll do it day by day and see what happens. It feels good already.”
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The White Sox have been on the run from injuries since the season began. Carlos Rodon, who made his third rehab start on Saturday at Triple-A, was the first to fall. He started the season with bursitis in his left shoulder and is only now close to returning. Shields went on the DL after three April starts, which prompted Mike Pelfrey’s addition to the rotation. Rule 5 draft pick Dylan Covey replaced Rodon and made eight starts before he suffered an oblique injury. Covey’s injury resulted in David Holmberg moving into the rotation from the bullpen. Holmberg and Pelfrey, who delivered six sharp innings on Saturday, will stay in the rotation for now, though Rodon could return after one more rehab start.
Coupled with underperformance by Jose Quintana, the White Sox rotation has struggled. The rotation has only five quality starts in the last 25 games. Overall, White Sox starters are 18-31 with a 4.71 ERA.
“Every club goes through it,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We just happen to be dealing with it right now. If we continue to get outings like we just did from Pelfrey and Q and if Shieldsy jumps back in there to give us a nice outing, that helps us lessen the usage of our bullpen in certain situations, and that’s very helpful. Everybody goes through it. You just deal with it.”