The White Sox are putting the finishing touches on a 36-hour makeover of the pitching staff.
At one end, they regained the services of Chris Sale, who will start against the Yankees tonight. Robin Ventura said he doesn't expect him to throw 100 pitches, which, of course, leaves the door wide open for more than 100 pitches.
At least you can rule 127 out (probably). Over at The Catbird Seat, James goes through the timeline of Sale's injury and rehab stint, which early on included multiple underestimations of the injury, and a timetable that ceased to exist as April turned into May. One could interpret the initial downplaying as a CYA mechanism in the face of easy and justifiable criticism, and if that's the case, you'd think they wouldn't run that risk again anytime soon.
"No, like I said before, it’s what you signed up for,’’ he said. "That’s just sports. Nothing matters except for wins, and if it comes to that again and I have to do it, I will. There’s not going to even be a question about it.’’
... and that's fine. It's his job to compete, and his bosses' job to make sure children can sing his praises on a weekly basis.
On the other end of the staff, Matt Lindstrom will be out of action for three months, as he need surgery to repair a tear in the sheath of his ankle. This could be a season-ender if there are any setbacks, which compromises a few plans the Sox may have had in mind.
So the big changes will be taking place in between. To make room for Sale, the White Sox are designating Frank Francisco for assignment. To fill the vacancy in the bullpen, Scott Carroll will move out of the rotation, which means that Hector Noesi's starting job is safe for now.
You'd be right to have doubts about how well Carroll's game will translate to relief work, but at least it's a far more useful allocation of resources -- especially with Noesi, John Danks and Andre Rienzo comprising three-fifths of the rotation. Now that Javy Guerra's in the fold but hasn't pitched yet, the Sox don't need another unknown short reliever. They have to carry a question mark, so he may as well be able to throw three innings or more.