Thursday, April 7, 2011Posted: 10:25 a.m. Updated: 3:19 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
Before the home opener, outfielder Lastings Milledge was designated for assignment, as the pitching-pressed White Sox called up reliever Jeff Gray.
The way we played the last couple of games and the way the pitching has been used, we didnt want to overuse anyone and then all of a sudden, June or July, we regret it," manager Ozzie Guillen explained. "Thats the reason we did it.
Guillen agonized over how and when to tell Milledge, who he had grown fond of during spring training, during which the 25-year-old made the Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee.
Personally, it was very hard for methats the hardest thing you can do, Guillen said, who admitted that he was having trouble looking Milledge in the eyes as he talked with him. When you send someone down and it has nothing to do with his performance, thats something. I was on the plane thinking all flight how I was going to handle it.
Milledge told CSNChicago.com relatively early in spring training that he would accept a minor-league assignment from the White Sox if he didnt make the team, and was eager to learn from some of the first mentors hed ever encountered, including Juan Pierre and Paul Konerko.
He handled it very well, Guillen said. I talked to Milledge about the problem we have. Unfortunately, thats part of the game. Its one of the hardest talks I had with any player.
As for Gray, he scuffled in the Cactus League but pitched well during his short stint in AAA Charlotte, earning the nod when the White Sox found themselves short of arms.
Theres a need for a pitcher because of the extra-inning games and some of the other things that have been going on, said pitching coach Don Cooper. We need another guy, and he was the guy chosen. He had a sideline two days ago, so he's ready to go He threw the ball well and he had good stuff in spring training. He can give us innings.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.