Every team in baseball has to deal with key injuries. Look at the Twins. Justin Morneau has been out since the All-Star break and Joe Nathan has been missing for the entire season. How about the Red Sox? Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez, Jacob Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Clay Buchholz are among those who have been laid up and Youkilis, Ellsbury and Cameron are out or likely out for the year.
So as much as it took away from last night’s more-exciting-than-it-needed-to-be 7-5 victory over the Orioles and the reality that we gained a game on the Twins, we just have to deal with this unfortunate fact: both Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz are going on the DL and we’ve got to head into the stretch without two key components.
There’s no word at this juncture as to who will replace them. It’s expected that Erick Threets, who has been on a rehab assignment, will take Thornton’s spot–joining rookie Chris Sale as the two lefties in the pen. The other callup could be Carlos Torres or Lucas Harrell, who did such a stellar job when he was promoted to Chicago earlier this year. Or maybe it could be former “cup of coffee” major leaguer Ryan Braun, who has 18 saves and a 2.00 ERA at Charlotte.
Of course, the timing couldn’t be worse. The bullpen has been overworked and struggling as it is. Because of Sergio Santos‘ erratic performance last night and Putz’s injury, Bobby Jenks had to be summoned two days after hurling three innings in Kansas City. The good news is that he was terrific both times–and got the save last night–but how much longer can he hold down the fort by himself? And Ozzie, shown above making the change from Santos to Putz in last night’s harrowing ninth inning, will have to do a major juggling act.
In baseball, sometimes up is down and down is up and what’s expected plays out exactly the opposite. Let’s hope for that.
It just shows how much I know. Thinking Paul Konerko was a cinch to make it as a reserve first baseman and Alex Rios had a shot at a backup outfield spot, I was dead wrong.
Instead it’s Matt Thornton as the lone White Sox All-Star rep (well-deserved, of course) and Rios is shut out completely. Paulie still has a shot in the Final Vote balloting, competing with the impressive quartet of former Sox Nick Swisher of the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox, Delmon Young of the Twins and Michael Young of the Rangers. Although all of his competitors have strong fan backing, Konerko can take heart that the Sox fans have sent two previous Final Vote candidates, Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski, to the Midsummer Classic thanks to strong marketing efforts.
In the best tradition of Chicago elections, vote early and often for Mr. Konerko. With 20 HR, in the league’s top five with 59 RBI and in the neighborhood of a .300 BA, he belongs.