MINNEAPOLIS — Dan Jennings is set to start a rehab assignment, and Matt Albers could join him soon.
The White Sox right-hander will pitch a simulated game in the bullpen at Target Field on Tuesday and if all goes well appears ready for an assignment of his own. A non-roster invitee who made the team out of spring training, Albers has been out with a broken finger since an April brawl with the Kansas City Royals.
Though frustrated by sitting for two months, Albers, who had a 1.59 ERA and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, feels ready because he has been able to participate in most of the team’s shoulder program all along.
“It just kind of happens and you just have to deal with it, but I’ve kept positive, kept my shoulder in shape so whenever I could throw I’d be ready to go,” Albers said. “You can still do most of the shoulder program. Luckily I was able to keep up with that.
“There’s still plenty of time left in the season to contribute.”
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The White Sox would have plenty of bodies in the bullpen if Albers and Jennings can return in good health. Manager Robin Ventura said Monday that he has used lefty Zach Duke a little different than he would were he to also have a second southpaw in the bullpen, using Duke more as a specialist. Daniel Webb has pitched well since he rejoined the team in late May. Scott Carroll has handled the long-man role well, and Junior Guerra has a 3.00 ERA in two games.
“We’ve been getting through it, but you have these guys who have roles and you were counting on them,” Ventura said. “Especially with Albers being able to come back, it wasn’t a baseball injury, it was a freak accident. It will be nice to see where he’s at tomorrow, him going out there and competing and seeing what he’s got and we’ll decide after that.”
Ventura said Nate Jones continues to make progress as he rehabs back from reconstructive elbow surgery, but the team doesn’t intend to rush him. Jones, who had Tommy John surgery last July 29, was throwing his fastball between 96-98 mph in a simulated game earlier this month.