White Sox

Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday

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Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday

DETROIT -- The White Sox won’t hold Jake Petricka back when he’s ready to rejoin the club, which could happen as soon as Monday.

The relief pitcher is already set for a second rehab appearance on Saturday after he came out his first game in good shape, manager Robin Ventura said on Friday morning.

Ventura said Petricka, who finished last season with a 2.96 ERA and saves in 14 of 18 tries, would instantly become a trusted option in his bullpen.

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“He’s a good right-handed, ground-ball guy,” Ventura said. “He spent some time as the closer and I think last year was a good learning curve for him to be able to get back and hopefully get another (guy) in there that is a quality arm.”

Petricka tossed one inning for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday nigh, throwing strikes on 11 of 16 pitches. His performance comes on the heels of a 25-pitch simulated game in Glendale, Ariz. earlier in the week.

The addition of Petricka would appear to further strengthen the back end of a bullpen already bolstered by the offseason additions of David Robertson, Zach Duke and Dan Jennings. With Zach Putnam struggling early -- though he threw a scoreless inning on Wednesday -- the White Sox haven’t had as much consistency from the right side in bridging the gap to Robertson.

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Petricka did an admirable job when he and Putnam split closing duties the final three months of last season. After injuries to Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom, the White Sox were in salvage-mode in the late innings. Ronald Belisario struggled mightily but Putnam and Petricka converted 20 of 25 opportunities for a team that blew 21 saves.

“He threw well and all things are a go at this point for him to throw (Saturday) and we’ll re-evaluate after we see that,” Ventura said. “You pitch him where you need to pitch him. That’s why he’s out there. He’s been through enough already that you’re able to put him in there. It’s not like we’re going to ask him to go three or four innings.”

-- Ventura announced Jose Quintana would start Sunday’s series finale against the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox could have brought back Hector Noesi, who had his turn skipped with two days off this week.

-- Adam LaRoche is the starting designated hitter on Friday but should get a game at first base this weekend, Ventura said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans]

-- Geovany Soto is the starting catcher for a second straight time with Jeff Samardzija. Ventura said he likes their previous work history. “He has a good feel for him and there’s a familiarity there so I like that,” Ventura said.

-- The White Sox don’t intend to call up Carlos Rodon just because the Cubs have promoted Kris Bryant. Rodon allowed three earned runs over five innings for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday.

“I’m not going to sit here and (say) just because somebody else does something we have to do something,” Ventura said. “Until you get a report and you have a need, we’re playing in Detroit today.”

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 

YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE MLB POWER RANKINGS RIGHT HERE

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Looking for another example of how far Lucas Giolito has come this season? Look back to last year’s Crosstown series.

Giolito pitched in games on both sides of town, but the start he made against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was emblematic of his woeful 2018 season. He actually earned the win in that game, but he walked seven batters and threw three wild pitches. By the time he exited, his season ERA was nearly 7.00.

White Sox fans know that 2019 has been the complete opposite for Giolito, and he rides into his Wednesday-night start on the North Side as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Just like Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning home run Tuesday was the best snapshot of the White Sox rebuilding progress to date, putting last year’s start at Wrigley next to where Giolito is heading into this year’s start at Wrigley is the best snapshot of his amazing transformation.

“It was survival mode,” Giolito said Tuesday. “Now I feel like I’m on the attack. When I take the ball, I have full confidence in myself that I will come after you with really good stuff, changes in velocity and movement. Last year I went out not knowing what I had that day.

“I don’t want to walk seven, like I did last year here. I got the win somehow. The offense and defense bailed me out a ton. This year I’m much different. I’m all about filling up the zone, attacking hitters. That’s pretty much the M.O.”

The difference has been obvious to anyone who watched Giolito struggle last season to the tune of a 6.13 ERA (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), a 1.48 WHIP (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), 118 earned runs (the most in baseball) and 90 walks (the most in the American League). This season, he’s been dominant, on an incredible run that’s made him as good a Cy Young candidate as you’ll find. He’s got a 2.22 ERA right now, best in the AL, with 95 strikeouts in 81 innings.

Over his last eight starts, Giolito has a 0.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .149 against him during that span.

The dude’s on fire, a near lock to be an All Star, and perhaps most importantly, he’s totally changed his long-term perception in the minds of White Sox fans. They groaned during the walks and the runs and the wild pitches last year and cast him out of their projected future rotations. Now they’re cheering a guy who looks capable of leading that rotation of the future.

What a difference a year makes.

If those White Sox fans are anything in number and volume like they were Tuesday night, when they made Wrigley Field sound like Guaranteed Rate Field after Jimenez’s homer in the ninth, then Giolito can expect a rocking atmosphere as he looks to keep the good times rolling — and make a Crosstown moment worth remembering this time.

“I want to give the fans a show as much as I can,” Giolito said. “I like to see we’re filling up our ballpark with more White Sox fans, more people starting to pay attention. Just want to continue on that train. Our team is playing really hard and we’re happy to be here.

“My goal every time I pitch is to win, so not too much changes. But it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll say that. I'm looking forward to it.”

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