Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
With all the talk surrounding Manny Ramirez, the Chicago White Sox and GM Ken Williams may want to shift the focus to the left-field space behind where Manny Ramirez soon could be roaming at U.S. Cellular Field.
Indeed, with Fridays season-ending injury to Erick Threets, who will be undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, the need for bullpen help has seemingly leaped past the so-called shortcomings of Chicagos resurgent offense.
Wanting bullpen help and finding it are two different things, as White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen indicated before Saturdays game.
Its not easy, Guillen said. If Kenny wants to bring in somebody, thats up to Kenny.
The White Sox already have J.J. Putz (knee) and Matt Thornton (forearm) on the disabled list and need to be cautious with both Bobby Jenks, who has battled back spasms, and Chris Sale, who has a hard innings cap in his first professional season. Sale is currently the only left-hander in the bullpen, flanked by two other rookies, Lucas Harrell and Carlos Torres, who was called up from Charlotte on Saturday to replace Threets.
It was a very, very sad moment. He was throwing the ball very well, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, adding that he sensed that something was very wrong. He knew he was hurt badly. He didnt know what to say.
Guillen indicated that with a short, delicate, inexperienced bullpen, he had one recourse in the short term.
When you have trouble in the bullpen, theres one thing youve got to do: Get the starters to go long, he said. If the starters go long, we are all right.
The skipper indicated he was hoping that Saturdays starter John Danks could pitch a complete game, but with six runs allowed by the lefty in the games first three innings, the southpaws pitches piled up and he was removed after just 4.1 innings, trailing 6-5.
The 28-year-old Threets had yet to allow an earned run in 2010, over 11.1 innings in 12 games. His 0.973 WHIP spoke to how well he had rectified the control issues that had plagued him in the past.
Torres will pitch in long relief for the White Sox after being a mainstay of the Knights rotation all season long. Hes 9-9 with a 3.52 ERA on the season and was 7-4 with a 3.12 ERA over his past 16 starts. Torres has held AAA opponents to a .221 batting average, striking out an International League second-best 138 batters in the process. The righty was named International League Pitcher of the Week in April, May and June, becoming the ninth player in IL history to be so honored three times in a season. He started for the White Sox on August 3 at the Detroit Tigers, pitching six innings and allowing five runs on nine hits. Torres also pitched in eight games for Chicago in 2009, going 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA.
Guillen put a smile on the circumstances regarding three Charlotte rookies (Sale, Harrell, Torres) in his bullpen.
We have two long relievers: Torres and Harrell, he said. That can save you. I still have confidence in the guys we have there. Hopefully well get through any problems, and I think we will.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.