Skip to content
McCarthy states his case for 2007
After struggling all season in an uncomfortable relief role, Brandon McCarthy didn't hurt his chances of landing a spot in the White Sox's rotation next year.
McCarthy, in his first start since May 16, pitched effectively Wednesday night as the Sox beat Cleveland 2-1 in a game called in the top of the eighth inning after a rain delay of 1 hour 58 minutes.
"I feel more comfortable," McCarthy said after pitching 5 1/3 innings of two-hit ball. "I don't know if it shows. I have a better idea of what I'm doing."
General manager Ken Williams is expected to rejoin the team this weekend in Minnesota, where he will discuss potential changes for 2007 with manager Ozzie Guillen that likely will include McCarthy, 23, returning to the rotation.
"It's one of the best games we've pitched in a little while," Guillen said. "I was happy for him. It was great to see that performance.
"We haven't made the decision yet [about McCarthy's status]. We'll think about it. I don't know exactly what we have, what we're going to do or where we're going. But if we need one guy, he's a kid who should be the one. We're not going to hand it to him."
The numbers back up McCarthy's case to start. He has a 3.94 ERA in 12 major-league starts, compared to his 4.88 ERA in his last 10 relief appearances.
He will earn just $327,000 this season and won't be eligible for arbitration until 2009, compared to the $51 million that will paid to the five Sox starters--Javier Vazquez, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle and Jose Contreras--if they return.
The Sox's five starters will earn from $9 million to $12.5 million next season, and trading a starter could free up some money to address other needs, such as a leadoff hitter.
Free-agent starters include Barry Zito, Mike Mussina, Ted Lilly, Jason Schmidt, Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis and Sox nemesis Vicente Padilla. World Baseball Classic star Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions of the Pacific League in Japan also could be available.
McCarthy (4-7) was pulled after allowing a homer to Andy Marte and his only walk, to Grady Sizemore, with one out in the sixth. But he tied a career high with eight strikeouts. His fastball was clocked twice at 94 m.p.h. and he effectively mixed in his changeup and curve.
The Sox's lineup featured Tadahito Iguchi in the fifth spot for the first time; catcher Chris Stewart making his first major-league start (nailing Sizemore on two steal attempts); Jerry Owens getting his first two major-league hits, stealing a base and scoring the Sox's second run on Alex Cintron's RBI single; and Charlie Haeger earning his first major-league save. Ross Gload homered in the first for the first Sox run.
Iguchi could move down in the order in 2007 to an RBI position, but only if the Sox have a capable replacement in the second spot.
"Iguchi is an RBI man," Guillen said. "He did a lot of stuff for us that wasn't in our game plan. He comes to the United States (from Japan) as a power, RBI guy, and all of a sudden we bring him to the second spot."
He was needed there as a contact man. The Sox broke the 2004 franchise record for strikeouts as they whiffed 10 times Wednesday to increase their season total to 1,032 with three games left.