White Sox reliever Anthony Swarzak looks to start new scoreless streak

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AP

White Sox reliever Anthony Swarzak looks to start new scoreless streak

SEATTLE — Anthony Swarzak likes the role he has worked himself into in the White Sox bullpen.

He’s not at all concerned with his workload.

And the veteran reliever said Thursday afternoon that he’s ready to rebound after surrendering his first runs of the season a night earlier. Swarzak isn’t worried about that either, seeing as the home run was yielded to one Michael Nelson Trout. Swarzak enters Thursday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners with a 1.37 ERA and 22 strikeouts and only two walks. Prior to Wednesday’s loss, Swarzak had made 15 straight scoreless appearances.

“It was just one game,” Swarzak said. “It was three hitters and it all kind of snowballed on you and that’s kind of what I’ve been avoiding this whole year. I didn’t dodge it (Wednesday) and had the wrong guy up at the wrong time and he’s on fire right now. I was up for the challenge, that’s for sure. I was ready to get in there and face him because I wanted that and he got me. So maybe be careful what you wish for.”

Manager Rick Renteria has said over the past few days he’s aware of the heavy workload heaped upon Swarzak so far. With Nate Jones and Zach Putnam down, Swarzak and Tommy Kahnle have picked up a large amount of high leverage work because the White Sox have been competitive despite a losing mark.

Swarzak’s 19 2/3 innings leads all White Sox relievers.

“It’s a long season,” Renteria said. “You have to make sure you allow the other guys who have done well also to slot into situations he might take to give him a break. It’s the wise thing to do. “There’s a lot of season left.”

Even so, Swarzak is only on pace for 84 innings, a total he has already surpassed each season from 2011-14. Beyond that, Swarzak has only pitched one-plus innings three times since he unofficially moved up the bullpen food chain on April 29. So while his manager may keep an eye on him, Swarzak likes how often his number has been called. This is a role he has always desired and he’d like to keep going.

“I’ve thrown close to 100 innings out of the bullpen multiple years in my career,” Swarzak said. “I’m ready for this. I feel great.”

“I’ve put myself in a position to help the team when it matters and that’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole career, pitch out of the bullpen in bigger situations. Unfortunately, we lost some key players in the bullpen early on in the year and that’s where my opportunity came about and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

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Swarzak may be one of the White Sox players most tuned into the Seattle Mariners’ Thursday remembrance of Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell, who was found dead in his Detroit hotel room earlier in the morning of an apparent suicide.

The right-hander’s walkup music at home games is Audioslave’s ‘Cochise,’ a band for whom Cornell also performed lead vocals. Swarzak, 34, grew up during the era of grunge rock and has some personal connections to the scene.

The Mariners plan to remember Cornell, 52, with a moment of silence before the game. They also plan to play a heavy rotation of Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog songs throughout the contest.

“I love the whole grunge style of music and the whole Seattle scene here,” Swarzak said. “Their music is just timeless, it seems to go on for decades now and I don’t ever see that stopping. You’ve got Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, the whole thing. Definitely took a hit with Cornell and it’s pretty sad. It’s a pretty sad day for the music industry and for Seattle and hopefully we can just remember the good voice he had because it was something special.”

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Top pick Jake Burger can't wait to someday take a bite out of Chicago; When will Sox trades begin?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Top pick Jake Burger can't wait to someday take a bite out of Chicago; When will Sox trades begin?

After taking batting practice for the first time with the White Sox, number-one pick Jake Burger sat down with Chuck Garfien to talk about getting drafted by his favorite team, what it was like getting a phone call from Paul Konerko, why he wants to be a leader like Jonathan Toews, playing on Team USA with Seth Beer and more.  

Then CSN's Dan Hayes joins Garfien to discuss the return of Carlos Rodon, when the White Sox might start making trades, and Rick Renteria's short temper with umpires.   

Listen here to ketchup with top prospect Jake Burger: