ARLINGTON, Texas -- Andre Rienzo is here but his exact role isn’t easy to define.
For now he's simply the fresh arm.
Rienzo takes the roster spot of Felipe Paulino, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with right rotator cuff inflammation.
But just because he’s here doesn’t mean that Rienzo will assume Paulino’s spot in the White Sox rotation. Were he to make it through Sunday without being used out of the bullpen, Rienzo potentially could start on Wednesday at Detroit. For now, however, Rienzo’s role is to make sure the White Sox get through the next two days without wearing out the bullpen in the case of a short start.
“He’s available tonight, and then we’ll figure that out after, depending on how it goes from this point to when that next start comes up,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’ll make an adjustment. He might end up being that guy if he’s not used.”
Rienzo last pitched Monday at Triple-A Charlotte.
So far he has had mixed results with the Knights with a 4.85 ERA over 13 innings and three starts. Rienzo said he feels good after working on a slightly lowered arm angle with Triple-A pitching coach Rich Dotson. Rienzo said he has worked to throw more strikes, especially with his curveball.
“The last game I had bad luck,” Rienzo said. “I had four broken bats and four hits. It was killing me, but that’s part of the game. It counts. But the pitch works. I feel good. It’s worked. The results will come. The curveball, its strikes more, so that’s important.”
Ventura sees equal importance in the live-wire personality Rienzo brings with him. The bullpen could use a boost after the heavy workload it has handled without Nate Jones through 17 games. So far, White Sox relievers are averaging just shy of 3 1/3 innings per game. So while Rienzo needs to show better command, he’s a welcomed addition, Ventura said.
“He comes in with the energy,” Ventura said. “Some of this, it can shock you enough to sharpen you back up, knowing these guys can hurt you if you don’t get it in the zone and put guys on base.”
Rienzo has plenty of energy even after a 3 a.m. wakeup call from Charlotte manager Joel Skinner informing him he was needed in Texas. He didn’t expect to get the promotion but is excited to be back after spending the latter part of the 2013 season in the majors.
“It’s always different here,” Rienzo said. “In the minors people try to compete and they compete with another...They compete to stay here. People are more kind of relaxed and enjoy it more.”
In an additional move Saturday, the White Sox outrighted reliever Donnie Veal to Triple-A Charlotte. Veal was designated for assignment on Thursday. Veal is expected to join the Knights in the next few days.