Could relief be in Peavy's future?

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Could relief be in Peavy's future?

Jake Peavy set the bar for 2012 at 30 starts and 200 innings, a high mark to shoot for given he hasn't hit either of those numbers since winning the National League Cy Young in 2007. But Peavy, who turns 31 in May, has repeatedly talked up his health this spring training, as he's done in years past -- but this time, the news is positive.

However, if he can't reach that 200-inning mark in 2012, Peavy told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com that he'd be open to considering a relief role in the future.

"If I can't stay healthy for 200 innings, if somebody says something about closing or being a reliever, I can do that, I can be a reliever," Peavy said. "How do I know that? I can be a reliever because I think I can. That's the bottom line. I can do something because I believe I can do it. If it comes down to that, I'll do it because I love this game."

That transition from being a starter who's plagued by injuries to the bullpen has paid off for a few pitchers, including Kerry Wood and John Smoltz. But both those guys had relief pitcher profiles -- i.e. mid-to-high 90's fastballs with a devastating slider.

Peavy gets by with four or five pitches and his fastball velocity has tailed off in recent years. Perhaps a move to one or two-inning situations in the bullpen would lead to a velocity spike, which we did witness in Peavy's only relief appearance of his career.

Last June, Peavy pitched four outstanding innings in relief against Washington, striking out seven without allowing a walk or a run. His fastball maxed out at 95 miles per hour early into his outing and averaged about 93 miles per hour over those four innings, about two miles per hour faster than his season fastball average.

So, based on that game, Peavy does have it in him to reach back and find the mid-90s. And he was mainly fastballslider in the game, throwing only four changeups and three curveballs.

While concerns over his durability would still persist, maybe a move to the bullpen would actually be beneficial to Peavy at least in terms of extending his career with success. He may ultimately remain more valuable as an oft-injured starter than a healthy reliever, but it'd be hard to blame him for trying something different after years of frustration.

Even if Peavy falls well short of his goals in 2012, don't expect him to move the bullpen on his next contract. It'd be worth it for him to give starting one more shot, probably on a one-year deal, before deciding to market himself as a reliever.

But another year of tired arms, injuries and the like may begin to push Peavy's needle from the rotation to bullpen. He's certainly thinking about it already.

White Sox bullpen hopes its fortunes have changed in win over Mets

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White Sox bullpen hopes its fortunes have changed in win over Mets

NEW YORK — David Robertson may call his next charitable endeavor No Socks For Wins.

Looking to change his and the bullpen’s fortunes on Tuesday, the White Sox closer wore his pant legs all the way down in a scoreless inning to close out a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field — one that snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Robertson, Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones combined for four scoreless innings to lead the White Sox, who rallied from four runs down, to their first victory since the opening game of a May 23 doubleheader. In between, the White Sox bullpen blew three games late in Kansas City, including allowing a seven-spot in the ninth inning Saturday.

Robertson, who routinely wears his pants hiked up to expose his stirrups, runs a foundation with his wife Erin for tornado victims called High Socks For Hope. But after he allowed six runs Saturday, he wanted to mix things up a bit. Robertson said he also wore a different, lighter jersey and shaved his beard in between.

“Listen, we’re mixing it up,” Robertson said. “We needed a win, so I went with them down. I wore a different jersey. It felt uncomfortable, but it worked.”

The White Sox need more performances like this from the bullpen if they want to rediscover a formula that led them to a 23-10 record.

The unit recorded a 1.69 ERA in April as they stormed out in front of the American League Central. But that same group has struggled for the past three weeks with the low point coming in Kansas City when they collectively allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. The bullpen entered Tuesday 1-7 with a 4.85 ERA in May. Included in those totals are losses in games in which the White Sox lead by four, five and six runs.

“It was good to see the bullpen back to their old selves,” said starter Mat Latos, who allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings.”

Latos retired eight of the last 10 he faced before he gave way to Putnam, who struck out Asdrubal Cabrera with two aboard to end the sixth inning and keep the White Sox down a run. Jennings, who allowed a run in Friday’s loss, pitched around a single in a scoreless seventh. He earned the victory when the White Sox rallied for three runs in the eighth.

Jones, who lost after he allowed three runs in Sunday’s loss, pitched around a two-out single in the eighth to get it to Robertson. Robertson struck out Cabrera and Michael Conforto and retired Yoenis Cespedes on a fly out to right.

The bullpen also pitched a scoreless inning in Monday’s loss.

“You’re starting to piece that back together as rough as it has been the last week for those guys at the end,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was a nice job by those guys and you’ve got to stick with them.”

Only Robertson — who has 13 saves in 15 tries — knows if he’ll stick with the low pant legs. But at least for one night they worked.

“It’s definitely a much better feeling than we’ve had the last few days,” Robertson said. “Knowing that we’re going to get the final out and get a win, it feels nice. We’ve been playing really hard, but things just haven’t worked out. We hit a little bump in the road, but hopefully today’s a start toward getting us back on track.”

Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

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Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

NEW YORK — Tyler Saladino delivered a sweet — and long overdue — sound to the White Sox on Tuesday night.

The shortstop capped off a career game with a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the White Sox rallied from four down and snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the New York Mets in front of 32,781 at Citi Field.

Saladino’s homer off reliever Hansel Robles lifted the White Sox to their first win since the opening game of a May 23 doubleheader. He reached base a career-high four times as he also singled, walked twice and stole two bases. David Robertson capped off four scoreless innings from the bullpen with his 13th save.

“It’s huge,” Saladino said. “Losing, especially losing up here, that’s tough. It’s tough on everybody. It weighs on you a little bit. You definitely lose a little bit of sleep. But getting the win, I mean it’s a boost of morale.”

They needed the boost in the worst way.

Losers in six straight series, the White Sox appeared headed for a seventh as Mets starter Steven Matz dominated them early. They trailed 4-0 through five innings. The White Sox showed a much-needed sign of life with a three-run rally off Matz in the sixth.

Several days after manager Robin Ventura addressed them following a loss to the Kansas City Royals, the White Sox completed their comeback off Robles and two Mets relievers in the eighth.

“It can look bleak,” Ventura said. “You’ve got a guy like Matz pitching the way he’s pitching and you can just lay down but they won’t do it.

“You’re down 4-0, I think a lesser group rolls over and just gives up and they won’t do that.”

With one out and Melky Cabrera on first after a leadoff walk, Saladino fouled off three straight Robles fastballs before he ripped a 2-2 heater out to left field for a two-run homer to put the White Sox ahead for good. Saladino — who also had a three-run homer in Saturday’s loss at Kansas City — briefly looked into the visiting dugout as he rounded third.

“I’m just so pumped for the guys to take the lead,” Saladino said. “You got to give it to them. This is a team and everybody is pulling for each other. Every time you do something good, everybody is there ready to high five. It was just a team hit right there. Felt really good for the guys rounding third.”

The White Sox continued to apply pressure in the eighth as Robles walked pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and stole second, the team’s fourth of the game. Adam Eaton also walked again and Brett Lawrie jumped on the first pitch from Logan Verrett for a two-out RBI single and a critical insurance run.

Matz had the White Sox stymied in the early going. He induced nothing but grounders in the first few innings and didn’t allow a hit until the third. Matz, who entered with a scoreless streak of 14, cruised through the fifth inning, too.

But trailing 4-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the sixth inning.

Jose Abreu singled off the glove of James Loney and Todd Frazier crushed a two-run homer to left-center field, his 16th. After Avisail Garcia grounded into a double play, Saladino kept the inning alive with a walk. He easily stole second and third base before Navarro chased Matz when he singled just over the shortstop’s glove to get the White Sox within 4-3. Matz allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

Pitching on seven days rest, White Sox starter Mat Latos didn’t have it easy in the early innings.

He allowed two unearned runs before yielding a two-run homer in the third to fall behind 4-0. But Latos finished strong, retiring eight of the last 10.

He handed it off to the bullpen, a group that allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Kansas City. The group took a big step in the right direction as Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones all put up zeroes to get the ball to Robertson.

Robertson said Ventura merely implored the team to keep fighting, something it displayed in each loss at Kansas City before the bullpen’s meltdowns.

“That’s the way our whole team has been thinking,” Robertson said. “We’ve been playing hard, and things just haven’t worked out. If we hit well we didn’t pitch well, and if we pitched well we didn’t hit well. You just need things to work out for you and today they did.”

Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

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Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

NEW YORK — At least the White Sox have one thing going for them: Austin Jackson could return in time to play the Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox are optimistic their center fielder may require only another missed game or two before he returns to the lineup. Jackson exited Sunday’s game with turf toe on his left foot and hasn’t played since. A day earlier, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the club hoped to avoid a trip to the disabled list for Jackson, even if it meant not having him for a week.

“It’s still day-to-day stuff,” Ventura said. “I’m really hoping to get him to the off day and have him back by the weekend. It doesn’t look DL worthy. I know today would be tough one to have him in there.”

“It’s right in the joint. Painful. It should be all right by Friday.”

The White Sox play one more game against the New York Mets on Wednesday before they get the day off. They return to action on Friday in Detroit, their first meeting with the Tigers.