Ex-White Sox top pitching prospect Molina back on radar

Ex-White Sox top pitching prospect Molina back on radar
February 1, 2014, 3:30 pm
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He was acquired as a starter but health concerns appear to have Nestor Molina destined for the bullpen.

Per Baseball America, Molina -- who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2011 for Sergio Santos -- was the No. 2 White Sox prospect headed into 2012. But that was before an elbow injury in 2012 and a subsequent shoulder injury that caused him to miss two months in 2013.

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But once he returned last season, the right-hander had moderate success in the bullpen with a 3.28 ERA in 15 appearances.

“We put him in the bullpen because of health issues,” assistant general manager Buddy Bell said. “He actually did really well the last month and a half. Lot of health problems so maybe putting him in the bullpen means a little less stress.”

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Molina, 25, slipped from No. 2 in 2012 to No. 28 in BA’s 2013 organization prospect ratings.

But the White Sox haven’t yet counted the converted third basemen out of their plans. Molina -- who had 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 24 2/3 relief innings -- finished last season at Double-A Birmingham. If he continues to have success he could find himself back in the mix for a White Sox bullpen with few contracts committed beyond 2014.

“He’s got a chance,” Bell said. “It will be interesting to see what he does this spring because he got some velocity back that we never really saw before. But he’s on the radar. You’re always sort of hitting and missing with (converted guys) anyway.”