NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Like any other team this time of year, the White Sox are mostly consumed with improving their own roster.
But general manager Rick Hahn admits he is acutely aware of what the Detroit Tigers have done this offseason. The Tigers signed free agent outfielder Torii Hunter last month and are expected to get Victor Martinez back after he missed all of last season with an injury.
Detroit also is in talks to sign their free agent pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, and has been the subject of other speculation. Hahn said hes very aware of what the defending American League champions have done. But he also noted hes happy with how the White Sox, who were in first place for 117 days last season and won 85 games, stack up against their rivals.
We have to be aware of what were chasing, Hahn said. It certainly factors into the team we want to build. We cant look at ourselves and say, as we look around our room and talk to our scouts and coaches and look at our clubs and say maybe were an 80-82 win team. We cant think in good faith thats going to capture the Tigers, given what theyve accomplished and the players theyve added.
Fortunately, we dont look at ourselves that way. We like our team. We like the fact were bringing back Jake Peavy. We like the fact Chris Sale will be a year deeper into his career. Our bullpen will have experience under their belt from last year, that well add our opening day starter from last year John Danks who really didnt factor in much from last year. So we factor in ourselves much better. But we still have some areas we need to improve to compete with the Tigers.
The White Sox take on the Blue Jays this afternoon, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.
Today’s starting pitching matchup: R.A. Dickey (4-8, 4.08) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (1-2, 4.29)
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Zach Putnam is weighing his options after he had a second opinion on Friday and surgery is one of them.
The White Sox reliever went on the disabled list Tuesday with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. Putnam, who has a 2.30 ERA in 25 games this season, last pitched on Sunday in Cleveland.
“(Surgery is) possible,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “But again, we are exploring all the options. We want to make sure we have all the possibilities laid out before us. It’s just one of the things we are considering.”
“Still parceling through the options and at this point we don’t have a specific timeframe for him.”
The White Sox bullpen already is short-handed after losing Jake Petricka to potentially season-ending hip surgery earlier this month. Daniel Webb is out for the season after he had reconstructive elbow surgery earlier this month.
The White Sox bullpen currently features three rookies as result of those injuries and manager Robin Ventura doesn’t see any way of avoiding using them in key spots. Michael Ynoa and Chris Beck both got in and out of trouble and earned holds in Boston.
“We’re gonna have to find a way to get nine innings in and they’re gonna get tested,” Ventura said. “I thought Michael did a nice job the other day. I think even Beck after the first hitter, it could have been a mess. I thought he really showed what he’s made of by coming back. He gave up the sac fly and that was it.”
The White Sox held Jose Abreu out of the lineup on Friday and they’re hopeful it will be enough time for his sore leg to heal.
Manager Robin Ventura said Abreu -- who has a .997 OPS in June with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 89 plate appearances -- has experienced tightness in the back of his right leg, “but his left leg is the one that’s really sore,” he said. While Abreu could be used as a pinch hitter, Ventura said the absence is mandatory.
“He definitely needs (a day off) today -- he needs to be able to stay off it and not even DH,” Ventura said. “He’s a big guy. That’s part of the some of the stuff we’ve done the last couple of years is to get him a day here and there and in this one, he just needs it. He’s been on base quite a bit and as sore as his leg feels, it also looks not too good, either.”
Abreu agrees with Ventura’s call as he sees it geared toward the big picture. The first baseman could be seen limping some during Thursday’s contest, one day after he was hit in the leg by a pitch.
“Sometimes your legs are getting tired and your hamstring is getting tight and you need a break,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Today is a break for me. I came early, I did all my treatments. So far, so good for now. But, yes, I needed this day off.
“You always want to play, but sometimes you also have to realize that the best thing you can do is just to take a break thinking of the future.”
Todd Frazier started at first base for the White Sox and Tyler Saladino was at third with Abreu out of the lineup for only the second time all season.