ARLINGTON, Texas -- With their one left-handed reliever now in the minors and another in the rotation, the White Sox plan to utilize their bullpen differently.
While manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper previously could turn to left-handers Donnie Veal or Hector Santiago for a particular matchup, White Sox relievers now will have the opportunity to work longer.
Case in point: In Tuesday’s loss, Matt Lindstrom issued a one-out walk in the sixth inning and was pulled so Veal could face left-handed hitting Mitch Moreland. That’s no longer the case as Veal -- who had a 4.26 ERA in 12 games -- was sent to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday and Santiago is set to make his first start Friday at Kansas City. Given the same scenario arises, Cooper said the team would now opt to stick with Lindstrom.
“It will be their innings,” Cooper said. “(Tuesday) night we got Matt after a walk because if we are not going to use Donnie Veal there, we are never going to use Donnie Veal. We needed to use him and find out a little bit more and unfortunately he didn’t get it done. It kind of forced our hand to make that move.”
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Last season, Veal’s performance against left-handers approached near-ridiculous levels of success as they went 3-for-32 with two walks. This season, lefties are 5-for-11 with four walks against Veal.
Veal was informed early Wednesday he’s headed to Triple-A Charlotte and Brian Omogrosso had been promoted.
Through his Twitter account, Veal said: “Not happy, but definitely motivated. I'll be back in Chicago and even better when I return!”
After a slow start at Charlotte, Omogrosso thinks he’s on track to produce better results because of a recent adjustment he made with Charlotte pitching coach Rich Dotson.
Omogrosso was 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in 9 2/3 innings at Charlotte but said “things are moving in the right way.”
“I just got a little messed up,” Omogrosso said. “Started throwing the ball uphill as opposed to downhill a little bit and had to tweak a few little things. I’m one of them guys that, I struggle with giving up the single number. When things are going bad I’m a crooked number kind of guy which means I’ve got to stay on pace.”
Both Cooper and Ventura want to see Veal better command his offspeed pitches. Veal has walked six of the 31 batters he has faced this season.
Ventura said he’s in favor of using his relievers for longer chunks of time. The move could help a bullpen that has seen its share of struggles lately. Over the team’s last 12 games, the bullpen has a 5.75 ERA with 42 hits allowed and 20 walks in 36 innings. The White Sox have gone from a sub-2.00 relief ERA to 3.66 in that span.
“Now you can kind of link some stuff out, give them opportunities,” Ventura said. “Same thing as last night, in that situation you probably go a little bit longer. Down to one, at first we had a lot of lefties down there and now we’re down to one. You won’t use that same matchup in the sixth when you only have Matty (Thornton) out there.”