Results tagged ‘ Clayton Richard ’

Bartolo Colon out; Randy Williams up

Bartolo Colon was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation retroactive to July 25, prior to Wednesday night’s series finale at the Metrodome, which basically means Clayton Richard’s exit from the starting rotation amounted to absolutely zero skipped starts.

My best guess is Gavin Floyd, who pitched Saturday in Detroit, will work the series opener against the Yankees on Thursday and Richard will pitch on Friday–both on regular rest. That leaves John Danks for Saturday and Mark Buehrle against CC Sabathia in a Sunday classic.

Ozzie Guillen didn’t want to go without a second left-hander out of the bullpen, so Randy Williams had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Colon. Actually, with Matt Thornton home with his wife for the birth of their daughter, the White Sox had been going without a first lefty in the series.

There’s no doubt Richard has earned the right to stay in the rotation, and I’m guessing Colon might have made his last pitch for the White Sox. But that’s purely a guess on my part, and I guessed that before and was wrong, even with Freddy Garcia getting himself ready in the Minor Leagues.

Williams was one of the surprises of Spring Training as a non-roster invite. So, we will see how the southpaw produces now that he has joined the White Sox.

No lefty in the bullpen

Matt Thornton returned to Chicago Monday to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, leaving the White Sox without a left-handed reliever to combat Minnesota’s Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel. Southpaw Clayton Richard, who still could move to the bullpen even after two stellar starts, was not available following his eight inning stint on Sunday in Detroit.

Pitching coach Don Cooper also is not with the team, returning home to deal with family matters.

Eight-man rotation? Not likely

I have to give credit to Mark Gonzales, my esteemed White Sox beat writing colleague and friend from the Chicago Tribune, for coming up with a funny image following Sunday’s 5-1 White Sox victory over Detroit.

Gonzales was talking about the picture from the 2005 White Sox World Series championship run that had all the starting pitchers holding baseballs with their arm outstretched in a group shot. He suggested if the White Sox took that same picture at this point this year, there might be eight guys in the picture.

Let’s see, there’s Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras. Then, there’s Bartolo Colon and Clayton Richard, and don’t forget Freddy Garcia getting back into pitching form with Class A Kannapolis, and Carlos Torres looking pretty solid in his one start for the White Sox. Even Aaron Poreda started for Charlotte after being optioned down, so his time can’t be too far away.

Has any Major League team ever gone to an eight or nine-man rotation? With the way Ozzie Guillen likes to match up out of the bullpen, there’s no way the White Sox will go one short in relief and even have a six-man starting staff.

But with two straight strong outings under his belt, I don’t see how Richard can be moved back to the bullpen. Some would argue how Richard has been great for two starts, but where was he the eight prior to that one? He could be just as helpful as the second southpaw in relief. In this sort of tight division race, though, you have to ride the hot hand.

So, who becomes the expendable piece? I would say Colon, with all due respect to the highly successful veteran right-hander. He looked sharp on Friday, but I think you can get what he provides from Richard or even Garcia down the line. The problem for Colon is he can’t work in relief, and I’m not sure if the White Sox are ready to cut ties with him.

It should be an interesting call to make. Then again, Richard’s trade value probably never will be as high as it is right now.

Having too many quality starters certainly is a good problem to have.

Rotation alteration?

Friday’s second-game start for Bartolo Colon at Comerica Park could have some interesting ramifications beyond the fact that a solid outing could lead the White Sox back into a first-place tie with the Tigers.

If Colon pitches well, there’s a good chance he’ll move back into the starting rotation as the team’s fifth man behind Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jose Contreras. Clayton Richard, who has a 60-40 chance to start Sunday, according to pitching coach Don Cooper, would move to the bullpen.

“Yes, Clayton would go to the bullpen,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I need a lefty in the bullpen. Hopefully we will have Danks to throw on his normal days. That’s what we think.”

Cooper said they would know more about Danks and the troublesome blister on his left index finger later on Friday. If he’s healthy, Danks would go Monday at the Metrodome. If he’s unable to go, Danks could go on the disabled list retroactive to July 18 and Carlos Torres could come back up to replace him.

Guillen also pointed out as to how Colon will not be judged by Friday’s performance alone in regard to his rotation re-entrance.

“I don’t want to say Colon is going to throw one game and see what happens,” Guillen said. “That’s not fair. But he has to bring more to the table. We need him or someone else to step up and pitch good in that spot.”

Colon could not be used out of the bullpen, in Guillen’s estimation. Richard would give the White Sox a second left-hander with Matt Thornton.

Taking the fifth

After the minor uproar involving the entertaining ‘Where’s Bartolo’ saga from the past week, Bartolo Colon took the mound Thursday night for Triple-A Charlotte and actually threw the ball fairly well, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

“The control was outstanding, his velocity was not there and he threw more breaking balls,” said Guillen of Colon, who gave up one run on two hits over five innings during the Knights’ 7-1 victory over Norfolk “That’s it. You know the way Colon is. He’s like, ‘OK, let me go out and do it.’ It was nothing impressive, but it was good.”

Guillen’s initial report on Colon, who walked two, struck out one and threw 40 of his 65 pitches for strikes, came from his son Oney, an employee of the White Sox organization currently located in Charlotte. Oney added that Colon threw some breaking balls on 3-2 pitches, a mixture of fastballs and off-speed offerings the White Sox wanted to see from the burly right-hander before Colon even was considered for a return to the Majors.

With Colon still a few starts away, though, Clayton Richard will remain in the White Sox rotation at the start of the second half. It looks as if Mark Buehrle will start the second half for the White Sox, followed by John Danks, either Gavin Floyd or Jose Contreras and then Richard. This alignment leaves three southpaws in line for the lefty-heavy Tampa Bay lineup at home and sets up Contreras for the four-game set in Detroit.

Richard lasted just four batters into the second inning of Thursday’s loss to the Indians, giving up six runs on four hits and three walks.

“Yeah, so far, we don’t have any choice,” Guillen said. “A lot of people talk about him, but when we talk about (John) Danks and (Gavin) Floyd, we were in (2007), we were not in the pennant race.

“We’re trying to get this guy under the belt, but in the meanwhile we have to win some games. We watched some video (on Richard), we don’t have any better choice. We have to see how Bartolo is doing, but for right now I’m supporting (Richard).”

As for Freddy Garcia, who is currently working out in Charlotte, Guillen doesn’t believe the big-game hurler is quite ready.

“I talked to him a couple of days about it,” said Guillen of Garcia. “I talked to Oney about it. He’s throwing the ball very well. But I don’t think Freddy has turned the corner yet.”

Poreda to be called up

For the second time in the last six days, the White Sox are turning to a top recent draft pick to infuse a little life into their struggling team.

Aaron Poreda, the White Sox top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, will be added to the team’s 25-man-roster prior to Tuesday’s contest with the Tigers, officially called up from Double-A Birmingham. The hard-throwing left-hander talked about the promotion on the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago Tuesday morning.

“I’d say I’m more excited than nervous,” Poreda said. “I’m excited to be in any kind of situation. Just being here is enough for me.

“I want to be doing what I’ve been doing all year long. Try to throw strikes, pound the zone. Use the secondary stuff, my slider and change up I’ve been developing. Really just go after hitters.”

Poreda, 22, figures to join the White Sox starting rotation, although he did pitch in relief during the Arizona Fall League and during Spring Training in Glendale. The addition of Poreda leaves a glut at the back end of the rotation, behind Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks.

Jose Contreras made a triumphant return in the nightcap of Monday’s split doubleheader with Detroit, allowing one hit over eight scoreless innings, and Clayton Richard has impressed the White Sox during his six-start stint–despite control issues in his last two starts. Bartolo Colon has lost five of his last six decisions and received criticism from manager Ozzie Guillen on Sunday for not using an effective secondary pitch behind his fastball with a velocity in the high 80s.

Poreda had a 5-4 record with a 2.38 ERA in 11 starts for the Barons, last throwing six scoreless innings against Montgomery on Friday, June 5.

His promotion follows Gordon Beckham, the team’s top selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, to the Majors. Beckham, who was the eighth pick overall last year, was called up by the White Sox last Thursday and is 0-for-13 since his arrival, although he did reach base on Monday via a walk.

More on the return of Jose

It’s hard not too root for a guy like Jose Contreras, who made such a triumphant return from early season struggles by giving up just one hit over eight innings during the White Sox 6-1 victory over the Tigers in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader. Contreras is one of the more affable individuals you could hope to meet, inside or outside of the world of baseball.

So, there was Contreras, holding his 13-month-old son, Joseph, while taking postgame questions from the media. Both Contreras’ men had smiles on their respective faces, but only one of them was grabbing the microphone held by Comcast SportsNet reporter Chuck Garfein. Here’s a little hint: it was not Jose.

Contreras said that he worked on his mechanics during a five-start stint with Triple-A Charlotte. But most of all, he built up his arm strength a little further and regained the confidence that was basically knocked from him during his first six big league starts at the season’s outset.

The big right-hander even showed his nimbleness on the mound, by making a behind-the-back glove save of Ramon Santiago’s second-inning grounder and easily throwing him out at first. Contreras then showed his self-deprecating humor after the game.

“I didn’t catch it. The ball caught me,” said Contreras of the play, through interpreter Ozzie Guillen, Jr., drawing big laughs fromt the media.

“Physically I felt strong,” added Contreras of his rough start to the 2009 campaign. “But maybe the pitching and the pitch counts in Triple-A made up for the pitches I didn’t have in Spring Training. Physically I was fine, but the consistency of getting reps in was the big difference.”

Where does the rotation stand after Contreras’ start?

I have to believe that Bartolo Colon is going to be the odd man out, although Guillen certainly wouldn’t commit to anything Monday night. The White Sox are not going to a six-man rotation and both Clayton Richard and Contreras deserve to trot out there every five days.

Ken Williams, unplugged

The White Sox general manager talked for 17 minutes prior to Friday’s game, with the focus falling primarily on the Jake Peavy situation. But here’s a few other tidbits that didn’t find their way into the main story on the trade that never was or the story to come centered on Williams’ optimism for the team to shake off the doldrums from the slow start.

On Bartolo Colon:

“Well, Bartolo, you know, you can’t get away with fastballs all the time. He’s going to have to mix in some more breaking balls. He’s got some of the best movement on his fastball in the game, but unless you’re mixing it up, then you’re not going to have any success.

And he knows that. To a great degree, that reality has to kind of set in that he doesn’t have 96, 97 mph anymore where he can go out and throw 90 percent fastballs and get an out. He’s just got to mix it up more, and that’s just the bottom line. If he doesn’t mix it up, he’s going to get it handed to him.”

On the inconsistent 2009 mound work from young starters such as Gavin Floyd and John Danks:

“Here’s what I’ll tell you. There are a number of clubs that are trying to get ahold of our guys in the rotation, particularly our young guys in the rotation, and get me to move them now thinking that we might have soured on them because they’ve had a little bit of a tough stretch. It’s not happening. We’ve got faith in John Danks and Gavin Floyd. I’m not too worried about how they’re going to rebound this year.”

On young players such as Aaron Poreda and Clatyon Richard hearing their names in the Peavy trade rumor:

“I have a standing policy that no one in that locker room has to guess what’s on my mind, on any of the coaches’ mind. All they have to do is ask the question, and we’ll give them a straight answer. To this point, I have not been asked by anyone to expound. But I’ve given them all that right. The difficult part is when you are, when things come out, and it may not necessarily be as accurate as you’d like it to be, but you don’t want to expound on it because you don’t want to give any legs to it.”

On sending a message to the White Sox fan base that the team needs to improve:

“I’m very careful about saying, ‘We’re going to improve on this, we’re going to make the moves necessary,’ because you can have as many great ideas as you want. You can have as much aggressiveness or desire as you want. But if the players aren’t available or if the matchups don’t fit with other clubs, there’s some things that are just out of your control. The guys with the gloves and the bats and the balls have the control around here. The rest of us, we’re just along for the ride.”

On finding the money to pay for Peavy, if he agreed to the trade:

“We were going to figure that out along the way. That’s not too much of a stretch.”

On making more of a personal pitch to Peavy to join the White Sox:

“Well, I made the offer. I had a flight scheduled to go out a couple of days before you guys even knew about it, or at least a day and a half before you guys even knew about it. So I was certainly willing to do so.

But it was very quickly articulated to me that this was not about his respect for the White Sox, the city, Ozzie as a manager, what we’re about, our aggressiveness in trying to field a competitive team every year. This wasn’t about any of that.

When you get a guy that has a no-trade clause in his contract, do you know what that means? It means he’s earned it. And when you earn that right, just like any of us would like, when you earn those certain rights, you’d like to be able to dictate and plot your own course. There’s nothing wrong, I don’t begrudge him or anyone else.

Years ago, I forget who it was, [Carlos Delgado]. Yeah, who expressed some of the same things, as well. It is what it is. You move forward. You find another way.”

On Plan B after Peavy:

“Usually I have a Plan B. At this stage, this pretty much was a Plan A kind of thing. I didn’t have anything really backing this one up right now. We’ll work on it.”

Tuesday thoughts

Many e-mailers and friends of mine, not to mention callers into Chicago sports radio, seem to be ready to drop Gavin Floyd from the rotation. That’s not going to happen any time soon, not with Floyd having agreed to the a four-year, $15.5 million deal during Spring Training, which exhibits the White Sox confidence and commitment to the right-hander. But there also isn’t a natural replacement for Floyd, even if he continues to face disastrous results on the mound.

One thing important for Floyd is that he doesn’t seem to be panicking during these tough times. Floyd always has possessed the talent to be a frontline starter, but it was a changed mindset since he joined the White Sox that helped him rise to a 17-game-winner in 2008. That season could be a one-hit wonder for Floyd, but as long he believes in himself and doesn’t lose that focus, I think he will bounce back. Maybe not to 17 wins but to re-establishing himself as a starter who gives the White Sox a regular chance to win.

–Brian Anderson could be back as soon as this weekend in Toronto. He will go on a brief Minor League rehab assignment first, according to manager Ozzie Guillen. But when I talked to Anderson on Sunday, he said that he felt amazing swinging the bat. Dewayne Wise might start taking batting practice this weekend in Toronto.

– The University of Michigan will be proudly represented in Ohio tonight with Clayton Richard on the mound, Chris Getz at second base and me in the pressbox (clearly the least important of the three in regard to the game’s outcome). White Sox fans are hoping Getz and Richard perform better than the Wolverines have in Columbus over the past five or six years.

Just as a side note, as I was walking through Cleveland’s airport yesterday, I noticed a couple of people shaking their heads as they walked by and a few giving me dirty looks. I don’t really know too many people here, so I didn’t think I had developed any true detractors. Then, I realized I was wearing my University of Michigan hooded sweatshirt in enemy territory. Jeers from Buckeyes’ fans mean little to me.

– How about those Blackhawks? I can’t remember the city being this excited about hockey since the days of the storied rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers featuring Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Mark Messier, etc., including the franchise’s Stanley Cup loss to the Penguins. I went to last Tuesday’s game, the last one they lost, and the United Center was beyond electric.

I’m curious how Chicago would celebrate an NHL title, with it having been so long since they even made the playoffs. But I think the Hawks beat the Red Wings in an historic Western Conference final and then win the Stanley Cup.

As one Facebrook friend pointed out to me, I did pick Richard Jenkins to win Best Actor at the Oscars. But I also picked North Carolina to win the NCAA hoops title.

More from the game tonight.

What a relief

The best news coming from Wednesday’s 2-0 loss, more so than Gavin Floyd’s tremendous performance, was the ninth inning pitched by Scott Linebrink. Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Miguel Olivo all went down swinging, with the right-hander looking like the All-Star setup man from the first half of last season.

Matt Thornton also breezed through the eighth inning, giving the White Sox exactly what they want from their final four relievers over the first two games of the season. But it’s Linebrink who truly plays a key role in this equation, as shown by the bullpen’s downturn last year when he went down with shoulder soreness. With a healthy Linebrink, Thornton, Octavio Dotel and Bobby Jenks, not to mention Clayton Richard, the White Sox just might have the strongest bullpen in the American League.

Sure, it’s a little early to judge. But this unit certainly has that special look.

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