TORONTO -- James Shields not only got the physical preparation he needed, but he’s confident he received the mental work necessary, too.
The White Sox starter is set to return off a two-month long disabled list stint on Sunday and thinks his three-start rehab assignment has him amply prepared. Shields strained his lat muscle during an April 16 outing. He had a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings at Triple-A and won’t mind if he never hears about the first DL trip of his career ever again. The White Sox will activate Shields off the DL on Sunday morning and make a corresponding move.
“I’m kind of the over the whole DL for the first time thing,” Shields said. “Just excited to get back in action.
“Those guys made me work. It was great. It was good to see. They gave me a lot of work down there. I got tested for sure. I always thought Triple-A wasn’t too much of a difference except for experience and knowledge and that’s about it.
“We got some good work in.”
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The White Sox rotation could use another steady hand after it has endured its share of struggles recently. Including Mike Pelfrey’s start on Saturday, the rotation has produced only five quality starts in its last 25 games.
During that stretch, White Sox starters have a 6.03 ERA.
Coming off a disastrous 2016 campaign, Shields was off to a good start to 2017. Despite walking 10 hitters in 16 2/3 innings, Shields posted a 1.62 ERA with the aid of 16 strikeouts.
“It seemed like he had reinvented himself using his breaking ball a little more, a couple of different speeds with it and throwing it for strikes,” manager Rick Renteria said. “That’s been very helpful to him. But he was commanding the strike zone. I think he was throwing a lot of strikes and he knows how to manage particular situations, who to get to and who not to get to. I think his experience has been invaluable in order for him to kind of get the thing moving this season.”