In the land of key relief pitchers battling arm soreness, the one who throws a scoreless inning is king.
Or, at least he's expected to head north with the White Sox at the start of April.
David Robertson bounced back from his bout with forearm soreness to post a zero in the fourth inning (one hit, no walks, no strikeouts) against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Robertson had downplayed the concern about the soreness over the last several days, and he stayed on message after his outing:
"I felt good. Obviously I got into a couple of deep counts. I would have liked to have shortened those at-bats, but I felt really good and in the end I put up a zero," said Robertson, who went to full counts against Carlos Santana and Moss. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball better than I was earlier in camp. I just needed a little time to get the soreness out, have my body recoup and get ready for the next outing.
"I'm a pitcher, so you feel soreness all the time. You get used to it. It's nothing I haven't had happen before, so for me, it was just a matter of having a little time to get my body right."
Jake Petricka's injury, on the other hand, continues to one-up Robertson's every step of the way. When it was first reported, Robertson was available to the media to talk about it; Petricka wasn't. Robertson's didn't require an MRI; Petricka's did.
Now, Robertson looks like he'll avoid the DL, while Doug Padilla says Petricka probably won't:
Petricka, who had an MRI on his right elbow area last week that came back clean, felt his discomfort during a morning long-toss session.
"I'm irritated," Petricka said. "I feel like I'm letting everyone down just not being able to go out there and do my job. I came in in great shape. Maybe I got a little too amped up in those live batting practice sessions (early in spring) getting a taste of the season again and threw too hard."
The competition to place Petricka is wide open, and it might mean that:
- The Sox won't have to decide between Matt Albers or Maikel Cleto, neither of whom are distinguishing themselves, or...
Kyle Drabek is this year's Hector Noesi, as the out-of-options guy the Sox learn about on the fly, or...
- Scott Carroll could win a long-relief job, or ...
- Arcenio Leon could get a lot of looks to see if that 0.00 ERA over six innings is a total mirage.
And if any of those guys are taking Petricka's spot, then Javy Guerra becomes the new Petricka in terms of responsibilities as the bullpen's third-best righty.