Outside of the lackluster defense and incompetent offense, the main trend of April for the White Sox was injuries. While fans have had to wait patently for some of the team's more prominent names to return, it looks like the waiting process is finally dwindling down.
With Danks Getting Closer, Ventura Dismisses a 6-Man Rotation
There’s some news out of Charlotte, as John Danks has made another rehab start.
For Danks Saturday night in Buffalo, the veteran got through 4.2 innings and letting up two earned runs. Though he did strike out five hitters, the four walks and 2 hit batsmen he issued is worrisome. He threw only 51 of his 95 pitches for strikes, as his control continues to be the biggest worry (if not velocity) surrounding him.
He could be in line to make his return to the White Sox on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field against the Miami Marlins (this according to the twitter accounts of both Scott Merkin and Mark Gonzales), but you have to assume those chances were better before this extremely pedestrian start in Buffalo Saturday night.
In related news, Robin Ventura spoke to the media about Danks’ impeding return this morning, saying that he is “leaning towards” moving Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago to a long relief role rather than going with a six-man rotation.
It will be interesting to see who RV decides to move to the bullpen, but with the promotion of Veal meaning there are now two left-handers in the bullpen, that could mean Axelrod’s Monday start against the Red Sox will be his last one as a member of the rotation (at least for a while). But with Hector Santiago not looking so great in his last two starts, it's becoming less clear as to what'll happen.
That’s just speculation on my part, though. Team management will also likely base their decision largely on who that slot in the rotation (Axelrod or Santiago) would face in the next handful of upcoming starts.
Beckham Begins His Rehab while Sanchez Continues His
While one man could possibly end his rehab Saturday, another man got his underway, as Gordon Beckham reported to Charlotte to rehab from his broken hamate bone he suffered in Washington last month.
He started at DH in Buffalo and impressively went 2-for-4 with a walk while scoring three runs. That doesn't mean they're going to fast-track his rehab, but it's certainly nice to see him get off to a nice start.
In addition, Angel Sanchez has begun his rehab assignment with the Knights and is 2-for-8 in three games. Whenever he or Beckham finish up rehab, that likely means the end for Tyler Greene as the utility infielder.
It’s a bit more up-in-the-air as to who the second man to get optioned or DFA’ed will be, but Casper Wells seems like the odd-man out at this point.
The next situation to monitor will be if Ventura makes Jeff Keppinger his utility man and re-inserts Beckham as the starting second baseman. That's what seems most likely at this point, with a potential Gillaspie/Keppinger platoon at third base (Keppinger starting against lefties) looming.