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White Sox resort to Hector Noesi ... again

The unlikely ninth starter will make an even more unlikely second start against the Cubs

Jonathan Daniel

With seven guys on the disabled list and another key component trying to get his groove back in Charlotte, maybe the White Sox should take their transactions page and rename it "Cries For Help."

The rising body count has forced a number of strange decisions to solve the crisis du jour. All of them make enough sense on their given days, but as time turns tragedy into comedy, there are a number of individual patches you can highlight to symbolize the scope of the problem.

You could say that Adam Dunn started a game in left field, and Robin Ventura would've been stupid not to do it.

You could say that they claimed a guy who was hitting .059.

You could say this:

But the clubhouse leader for me that will take effect tonight: They claimed Hector Noesi and his 14.21 ERA, then started him.


Noesi will take the mound for the Sox tonight against the Cubs, and I don't even know if Noesi is thrilled about it. It's not just that Hooters foundered before the Sox came calling (although that's part of it), but more that he's gone from failing to hold low-leverage relief jobs to being needed as a starter without even the benefit of a stretching-out period.

If you knew everything about his last two years and nothing about the White Sox' problems, you might think Major League Baseball is conducting an experiment to determine just how much the Cubs can't hit.

What's more remarkable is that the White Sox' ninth starter could be needed again if he succeeds. Of the three injured starters, Erik Johnson has the clearest path to a return date. He'll start his second game for Charlotte on Wednesday, and if it resembles his first one, he could rejoin the Sox a week later.

The only problem is that he's starting on Wednesday, so he couldn't take the next fifth-starter turn that rolls around even if he deserved it. Tommy Hanson is the Charlotte starter on Noesi's schedule, and there's a decent possibility he could become the 20th pitcher and 10th starter, provided he doesn't eat it against Lehigh Valley tonight.

Johnson's potential return would only address one of the three Plan B's in the rotation, but it's the most glaring one. Scott Carroll's running on Disney magic right now, but that's fun until it ain't. Andre Rienzo's first three starts look like a sample from his 2013 season, which is useful in the short term.

They'll have to hold down their spots for a little while longer, because Chris Sale threw his first bullpen session on Monday, and it didn't happen to solve all his problems instantly. Here's what the Sox are saying:

  • He threw a 40-pitch bullpen session.
  • Sale said he "got after it 'pretty good.'"
  • Don Cooper and Robin Ventura agreed.
  • A rehab stint looks possible in 10 to 14 days at this point.

And that's all the Sox were willing to say, as all parties involved are starting to get tired of the scrutiny.

"It's weird because I think quite frankly that we have been extraordinarily transparent about all these injuries and what has transpired, but still there has been daily speculation about where he's at and what it means," said Hahn of Sale, who will miss his fourth scheduled start as of Wednesday. "Not just with Chris but with some of the other injured guys. Frankly it makes me, at least personally, preferring to go to an NHL style and just tell you it's an upper-body injury and see you in the morning skate."