BALTIMORE -- The White Sox feel like they’re in the best position possible to handle the temporary loss of David Robertson, who they’ll be without until Sunday.
The White Sox closer has been placed on the bereavement list to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, who passed away earlier this week after battling cancer.
Robertson -- who has eight saves in nine tries and a 0.87 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings this season -- closed out Wednesday night’s four-run win over the Toronto Blue Jays even though it wasn’t a save opportunity. He joined his family on Thursday, which allowed the White Sox time to promote both Daniel Webb and infielder Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez replaced Robertson on Thursday while Webb joined the team on Wednesday after Miguel Gonzalez was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte.
“We knew a few days ago, so I thought he handled it great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As tough as the news is, he knew he was going to need three days. He was with us for a couple of days after he got the news. He pitched in a game and gave us the opportunity to kind of maneuver a little bit. For him to get through this, all the way around it was the best you could hope for.”
The White Sox have utilized a 13-man pitching staff for a big chunk of their current stretch, which includes 19 games in 19 days. But with an off day around the corner, the White Sox chose to go back to a 12-man staff and call upon Sanchez, who could be necessary if any of their four games against the Baltimore Orioles are rained out.
Though Nate Jones is a likely option at closer, Ventura didn’t commit to how he’d manage his ‘pen in Robertson’s absence. He also listed Matt Albers and Zach Duke as potential options. And, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka have experience in the role dating back to the 2014 season.
Jones picked up his first career save during the team’s last homestand.
“We just talked about treating it just like any other inning, no matter who it is,” Jones said. “We have to close out the sixth, we have to close out the seventh. Even though it’s the final three outs of the game, it’s a little bit different. A lot of people put emphasis on it. But that’s what we’re going to try and do -- just treat it like it’s the whatever inning.”
The White Sox bullpen has been outstanding this season. The group leads the major leagues with a 1.32 ERA. Over the past nine games, White Sox relievers have only allowed two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings (0.73 ERA).
“Those guys have handled it as well as you can,” Ventura said. “They feel for Robby. In a lot of ways they want to help him out as well. Robby is a good teammate and part of this is being able to flow with it. I think these guys are going to step up. That’s what you do.”