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."