DETROIT -- Donnie Veal is happy to be all the way back.
The White Sox left-hander proved it on Friday night when, in his first appearance in the majors since Oct. 4, 2009, he struck out both batters he faced.
Veal spent all of 2009 in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but had two stints on the disabled list that season. Then he had reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2010 and spent a year in Florida with several other pitchers recovering from injuries, including former Pirates starter Kevin Hart.
We were all hurt together for about a year or so, Veal said. It was a grind down there. I wish it upon nobody to be hurt like that. But we got through it and I actually talked to Kevin last night. It was nice to get all the way back.
Veal said he felt healthy late last August after a setback landed him on the DL a month earlier. He finished the season at Single-A Bradenton and had a 2.08 ERA over his final 13 innings. Veal signed with the White Sox in November.
Ive been getting ready for this moment to help the team, Veal said. Im ready to go.
On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming.
Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts.
Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it.
Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.
So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control.
White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful.
In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert? Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike? What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.
If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here
Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: