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Pitcher picture still fuzzy
Now White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is really confused, suddenly trying to juggle three struggling starting pitchers into two spots and wondering if the odd man out can fill a long role in the bullpen.
Rookie John Danks lasted only 4 1/3 innings while giving up a season-high-tying six runs Sunday in a 6-0 loss to Seattle. That came a day after Gavin Floyd was pounded for seven runs in four innings. Now the Sox have to figure out what to do with whom and when to do it.
"We don't know yet," Guillen replied about fitting those two in with veteran Jose Contreras.
Complicating matters, the Sox have no long reliever in the bullpen, although pitching coach Don Cooper said Sunday "that's what the minors leagues are for."
Guillen and Cooper have been worried about the number of innings thrown by the 22-year-old Danks. He now has 122 1/3 , compared with 140 in the minor leagues last year.
Could his outing Sunday—in which he allowed three long home runs—have shown that he may be wearing down?
"I feel fine," he said. "I felt like I had good life on the fastball at certain times. It's just part of it. I just got hit around. I didn't have any command and against a good lineup sometimes this happens."
"He didn't have it," Guillen said. "He was really struggling, behind the counts all the time. When you get those types of days, they're going to score really easy on you. That ballclub can hit and when you pitch that way, that's what you're going to get."
While Danks was getting knocked around, Mariners pitcher Jeff Weaver was coasting to a complete game, even though he started the day with a 3-10 record and a 6.20 ERA. The Sox pieced together only five hits, and the first inning was the only one with two.
"He did what Weaver does—change speeds, use the whole plate, cut it, sink it, change arm angles," said catcher A. J. Pierzynski, who doubled in the ninth. "When Weaver puts it over the plate, he is pretty successful."
With the White Sox having a day off Monday, Guillen and Cooper could wait to decide what to do about the rotation and bullpen.
Contreras is set to start Friday in Seattle and neither Floyd nor Danks is scheduled before then.
"We still want to make sure Danks is taken care of, we don't want to overtax him," Cooper said. "We still want to give Floyd as many opportunities as we can and Jose has earned another shot."
"We want to see more out of [Floyd]," Guillen said. "Whatever decision we make, it's one we're going to keep all year long."