BOSTON -- With Reynaldo Lopez’s arrival nearing, the conspiracy theories began to fly late in Saturday’s night game when Derek Holland pitched in relief.
But following a 4-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, the White Sox insisted there isn’t much to Holland’s one-out relief appearance. The White Sox merely took advantage of a throw day for Holland, who’s scheduled to start Tuesday against the Houston Astros, manager Rick Renteria said.
“We were only going to use him for a couple of hitters if we needed to and then get him out,” Renteria said. “Obviously, we got the out there and that was it.
“I don’t think that they feel as much for one inning, that leverage, that it impacts them that much. I think we’re cognizant that they’re going to get ready and go out and start in a few days and balance it out by knowing the pitcher and what they can and can’t do. But Holly seems to be a guy who can, him and Pelfrey both. I think both of them have come out of the ‘pen so for them it was an easy transition to do a little bit of work and try to bring it into the game.”
Prior to Saturday’s game, general manager Rick Hahn suggested that Reynaldo Lopez could join the White Sox rotation as soon as Friday even though there aren’t currently any openings. Lopez is set to pitch Sunday at Triple-A Charlotte and the team will evaluate what’s next for him on Tuesday, Hahn said. With Lopez coming, the White Sox would appear to be in need an opening in the rotation unless they went with a six-man crew.
So, it was only natural for speculation to run rampant when Holland began to throw in the seventh inning of a three-run game.
Holland took over with two outs and a man on and retired the only batter he faced, Brock Holt. The relief appearance is the 22nd of Holland’s career and first of the season. He made two relief appearances for Texas in 2016. The outing not only came on Holland’s throw day, it also comes on the heels of his best start since mid-June -- Holland allowed two earned runs in six innings on Wednesday.
“I’ve done it before so obviously getting the mindset is definitely easy to do,” Holland said. “Getting ready is also something I’ve done before. It just clicked. It takes a second, but for the most part, once it’s go time, it’s go time. You’ve got to get the body ready to go and I knew what I had to do to do that. I told them I would be available.
“Me speaking on my own, I beat the bullpen up a little bit so that was good for me to get out there and help them. But it’s true. Anything to help the team and help those guys that have been pitching all the time. I want to be able to do as much as I can and I felt I was able to do that tonight.”
As for Tuesday, Holland isn’t concerned. He needed only three pitches to record the out.
“I’ll be perfectly fine,” Holland said. “No panic or anything like that. We are good.”