There’s bad news for the White Sox on this Wednesday afternoon, as top reliever Jesse Crain and first baseman and Captain Paul Konerko are headed to the 15-day disabled list. Left-hander David Purcey and third baseman Brent Morel have been promoted from AAA Charlotte.
Information, Outlook on Jesse and Paulie
Crain has been placed on the DL due to a shoulder strain and had an MRI earlier today (via a tweet from Mark Gonzales). His injury is horrible for the ballclub and a few different fronts. Obviously, the team will miss his performance, as he’s been one of the best set-up men in the game this season. His ERA on the season sits at a microscopic 0.75, and the earned run he allowed on Saturday was the first time he allowed an earned run in his last 32 appearances.
However, this possibly hurts the team more on the trade market than anything else, as Crain is one of the most sought after bullpen arms out there. His DL stint is retroactive to June 30, so he should be able to return right after the All-Star break. With that said, any lingering concerns with his injury could still drive his trade value down substantially.
Konerko has been struggling with back pain over the past week, sitting out the New York and Cleveland series and even receiving injections. He returned to the lineup last night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and we can probably assume that his back just didn’t respond the way he or the Sox would have liked it to.
It’s a shame for our captain, as Paulie was finally starting to get the bat going. Before the back issue arose, Konerko was on a seven game hitting streak, hitting .407 over that span and raising his average by over 20 points. On the year, Konerko is at .249 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Rick Hahn has recently said that Konerko and Chris Sale are the only two players he wasn’t open to dealing this month, so unless Konerko’s name is just a smokescreen by the Sox front office, him heading to the DL shouldn’t affect any trade plans.
Taking a Look at Purcey, Morel
David Purcey has been called up to take the bullpen spot vacated by Crain. A native of St. Charles, Illinois, Purcey was recently named an International League All-Star while playing for AAA Charlotte. The 31 year-old left-hander has compiled a 3.03 ERA this season in 26 appearances (which leads the team), striking out 43 in 38.2 innings while walking just 12. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2011, when he compiled a 5.61 ERA in 33 games while bouncing around between Toronto, Oakland, and Detroit.
The Sox have played the last couple of weeks with just one left-hander in the bullpen (Matt Thornton), so adding Purcey eases Thornton’s burden a bit. However, the responsibilities of Nate Jones, Ramon Troncoso, and the recently promoted Simon Castro increase, as someone has to step up and fill the role of the go-to righty set-up man.
Morel’s someone we are all much more familiar with, as he’s spent parts of each of the past four seasons with the big league club. We just saw him a few days ago with the Sox when Conor Gillaspie went on paternity leave, as he hit .222 in three games. If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already know that Morel’s had a fantastic year for the Knights, hitting .283 with a team-high 40 RBI (tied with Josh Phegley).
It’s unclear what exactly Morel’s role will be, but Adam Dunn will likely serve as the everyday first baseman instead of splitting time between first base and designated hitter like he was with Konerko. Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger have been platooning at third base, but adding Morel to the mix gives them another option. On any given night, two of those three will likely be in the order either at third base or as the designated hitter. Also, the Sox toyed with the idea of playing Morel at shortstop back in Spring Training, so don’t be surprised if Alexei Ramirez finally gets a day off here before the All-Star break.