Blackhawks

Sox bullpen flourishing as Myers acclimates to new role, team

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Sox bullpen flourishing as Myers acclimates to new role, team

Brett Myers has only thrown 4 23 innings since joining the White Sox two weeks ago, but players and coaches have seen his impact extend beyond what he's done on the field. Since he moved from Houston to Chicago, White Sox relievers entered Saturday's game with a 1.19 ERA in their last 30 13 innings, and Myers has been a big part of that -- even if he's only appeared in six games.

"Another veteran in the bullpen is just more knowledge down there for us to pick their brains," rookie Nate Jones said. "He's been in the league for over 10 years. That does nothing but help us. He's already come and talk to me and Addison Reed and Leyson Septimo about certain situations, certain pitches and stuff. That does nothing but help."

Kenny Williams said he owed it to the White Sox to add another veteran to the team's bullpen, which had grown exceedingly young as the season wore on. But Myers has also given manager Robin Ventura more flexibility in how he dispatches his relievers, whether it's in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.

"You're not always having to use Crain -- him and Crain will be the same two guys that you can use in the same situations," Ventura said, adding that he'd turn to Myers to close if Reed needs a day off. "You don't have to overuse somebody."

Myers had only pitched as a closer in his two seasons pitching in relief before coming to the White Sox. But the 11-year veteran says he isn't concerned with when he's pitching.

"I've still gotta get people out. It doesn't matter," Myers said. "The only thing different is, as a closer you get saves behind your name, as a setup guy you get holds. It's not really a big deal. I've still gotta go out there and throw a scoreless inning to help us win a ballgame."

There is a monetary payoff for Myers, though, to closing. If he finishes 45 games, a 10 million club option vests for 2013. With about two months left in the season, Myers has finished 31 games.

But Myers' role has been as a setup man. And with him in that spot, everyone else in the bullpen has had more concrete duties.

"Since he's came over, it seems like him, Jesse and Matt control the later innings before we give it to Addison," Jones said. "That does nothing but helps us out in the pen, too, because everybody knows their role, like when they need to get ready, situations and whatnot."

When Hector Santiago was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for Francisco Liriano, it gave the White Sox an even number of rookies and veterans in their bullpen. But while getting used to the team, Myers, whose locker is closer to those of Jones, Reed and Septimo than Crain and Thornton, has spent more time with the rookies.

"Actually, I've been hanging around the younger guys to help me get acclimated," Myers said. "Veterans have their routines, I have my routine, but it's their bullpen. I just came over to try to help."

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: