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White Sox call up Gregory Infante for second time in seven years

A lot has happened in between his stints in the majors

Chicago White Sox v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The White Sox had an opportunity to troll fans and media mercilessly by timing the optioning of Cody Asche to Charlotte to line up with the day Yoan Moncada could be promoted without burning a year of team control.

Instead, they quashed the speculation quickly by informing the beat writers they planned to call up a reliever.

Still, they managed to surprise with the specific pitcher. They went off the board by purchasing the contract of Gregory Infante, a move first reported by Larry on Twitter. In order to make room, the Sox moved Geovany Soto to the 60-day disabled list, announcing that Soto will “undergo arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday in Chicago for debridement with loose body removal on his right elbow.”

Infante, a hard-throwing righty, seems like he should be retired by now. The White Sox signed him out of Venezuela all the way back in 2006, and his only taste of the big leagues came as a September call-up for the White Sox in 2010, back when I was still running Sox Machine. He finished all five games he pitched, allowing two hits and four walks and striking out five over 423 scoreless innings.

And yet despite signing 11 years ago and making his first and only appearance six-plus years ago, he’s only 29 years old.

A brief timeline between cups of coffee:

  • 2011-12: Pitched for Charlotte and Birmingham with diminishing returns.
  • 2013: Made 27 appearances with the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate.
  • 2014-15: Had a volatile two seasons between Triple-A and Double-A in Toronto's system.
  • 2016: Struggled to distinguish himself over 39 appearances between Triple-A and Double-A with the Phillies.

Infante then rejoined the White Sox by signing a minor-league contract on Jan. 20. His first month with Charlotte has been some of his best work -- 16 strikeouts to 13 baserunners (seven hits, six walks) and a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings. Opponents are hitting .163/.260/.279 off him over 50 plate appearances. The 12 percent walk rate is still worrisome, but less so when he misses bats.

His stay may be a short one, depending on whether the White Sox rotation can start pitching into the sixth and seventh innings with regularity again before their next scheduled day off on May 25. Then again, it’s not like Chris Beck has solidified his spot, so he might be able to usurp one of the other low-leverage relievers if he’s able to stand out. Infante might also not be the low man on the totem pole immediately should Dan Jennings need a short-term replacement due to an infante of his own:

Kevan Smith, conversely, can unpack his bags. It seemed like Soto’s second disabled list trip was going to last longer than the first given the recurrence of the elbow pain. Sure enough, the Sox say he’ll miss a minimum of 12 weeks, meaning Smith will get a chance to earn his keep backing up Omar Narvaez.

Asche was demoted to Charlotte following Sunday’s game, as he hit just .105/.177/.175 over 62 plate appearances. At least he was able to raise his OPS+ to 1.