The Chicago White Sox find themselves on the verge of significant roster turnover thanks to mercurial play on the field and a rash of injuries.
Simply stated, the White Sox—winners of seven of their last 10 games—are a franchise in a state of flux.
There will be, at minimum, two roster moves this weekend, and more are sure to follow next week.
Here is a brief look at some of the latest news for the White Sox.
What White Sox manager Robin Ventura does with the starting rotation is, perhaps, the most important decision of the young season.
Thanks to the impending return of left-hander John Danks, Ventura must decide whether he is going to send Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago to the bullpen.
Axelrod—who has won two straight and allowed a maximum of three earned runs in six of his last seven starts—would seem to have the edge. After all, he won the job out of spring training and has done nothing to lose it.
That said, there are those who believe Santiago will be the ultimate choice. MLB.com’s Scott Merkin is one of them:
My guess would be four southpaws and Peavy, although Axelrod has done a very solid job as a starter— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) May 18, 2013
Now, Danks has been a bit wild at Triple-A, issuing 12 walks in 15.2 innings, but general manager Rick Hahn does not seemed concerned. He noted that the real point was for Danks “to work on the elements of” his “mechanics” and not to win games (via Doug Padilla, ESPNChicago.com).
To be sure, Hahn and pitching coach Don Cooper will have their say, but the onus is on Ventura to choose wisely when he sends either Santiago or Axelrod to the bullpen.
Gonzo noted that the move was "precautionary" and that "the Sox added that Sale is expected to make his next start May 28 against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field."
We shall see if the rest will be enough, but if Sale is out an extended period of time, Hahn's decision to maintain pitching depth this offseason will prove prudent.
Gordon Beckham is Coming Back
Count me in the camp of those who are unexpectedly excited about Gordon Beckham’s return.
While Beckham will most likely not set the offense ablaze, he cannot be worse than Jeff Keppinger has been and will immediately improve the defense.
Does Conor Gillaspie deserve the start over Jeff Keppinger when Beckham returns?
It appears he will be back in a White Sox uniform sooner rather than later. In four games at Triple-A Charlotte, he is batting .333, has scored five runs and generally looks as though he is all of the way back from his hand injury.
What Ventura does at third base when Beckham returns will be intriguing.
Conor Gillaspie has proven capable at the hot corner and has been one of the more consistent hitters in the White Sox lineup.
Conversely, Keppinger has been woeful at the plate (.201/.209/.247) since signing a three-year, $12 million contract this past offseason.
What could happen is a super platoon with Beckham and Gillaspie getting the nod at second and third, respectively, while Keppinger gets ample at-bats spelling both.
Dan Hayes from CSNChicago.com noted that “Ventura will have to find a balance” as he fills out the batting order. Taking Gillaspie out of the lineup on a regular basis would be a mistake, though.
The White Sox are quietly knocking on some doors in the Dominican Republic in advance of the July 2 international signing period.
According to MLBTradeRumors.com, they have shown an interest in power-hitting outfielder Micker Zapata.
Here is a brief description of Zapata from Baseball America:
Dominican outfielder Micker Zapata, a 16-year-old who trains with Abel Guerra at La Academia, is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and is expected to be one of the elite prospects for July 2. In one round of BP, he hits three balls out of the park, then drives another one off the center-field wall
While young and unpolished, Zapata has the potential to become a Dayan Viciedo-type prospect who needs a few seasons in the minor leagues before making an impact on the South Side.
Stick and stay for more news as this season progresses.