OAKLAND, Calif. — The White Sox aren’t concerned about Miguel Gonzalez’s fastball velocity after the way he finished the spring.
General manager Rick Hahn said on Monday that Gonzalez — who signed a minor-league deal with the club on Sunday after he had been released by the Baltimore Orioles — would start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. Though financial terms of the deal for Gonzalez were not disclosed, Hahn said the agreement doesn’t include an opt-out date.
But starting at Charlotte allows the White Sox an opportunity to see what they have in Gonzalez, who struggled last season, going 9-12 with a 4.91 ERA.
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“We had sort of mixed reports on the velocity,” Hahn said. “Some of it was down early and then it was back to its normal form in the later starts, from what our scouts saw. We’ll get to know him a little bit and see if there are certain things we can do to get him back on track. Obviously it’s a guy with a pretty solid record of success between 12-14. 15 went a little bit sideways, and this spring was not his norm. We’ll find out together what we’ve got and put him in the mix to potentially help us down the road.”
If there’s one area the White Sox could use an extra body or two, it's starting pitching.
Mat Latos is coming off two straight seasons of injuries. And while the team has started to see progress from the right-hander, he still hasn’t pitched past beyond the fifth inning in any start.
Hahn said he believes the team still hasn’t seen the best from Latos, who pitched four scoreless innings in San Diego on Friday before he allowed three runs in his final frame.
Beyond Latos and John Danks, the White Sox don’t have a lot of proven arms.
You could make a strong case for Carson Fulmer — whom was drafted with the eighth pick in last June — as the team’s best minor-league option to pitch. Fulmer made big strides in spring camp with the addition of a cut-fastball and an alteration to his changeup grip. But ideally, the White Sox would like to give him more time to develop at Double-A Birmingham.
Gonzalez has a strong track record of success in the majors. From 2012-14, he went 30-21 with a 3.45 ERA. The White Sox would love to first turn to Gonzalez if they needed another arm.
“If he gets it right, he's a pretty good pitcher,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You've seen in the past do that. I think everybody's looking for pitching and he's got a chance if he pitches well. If something happens up here we'll use him.
“Everybody would like to have some depth.”