White Sox Hope Baldwin Can Solve Fifth-Starter Problem

Geoffrey ClarkCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2009

18 May 1998:  Pitcher James Baldwin of the Chicago White Sox in action during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.  The Athletics won the game, 14-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport

After being dissatisfied with how 2005 returnee Freddy Garcia performed in Tuesday night's loss to the Kansas City Royals, White Sox GM Kenny Williams decided that since it was too soon to call on any former starting pitchers from last year's division-winning ball club, he would turn to an ace from the 2000 division-winning staff instead.  The team announced the re-signing of James Baldwin, the All-Star Game winner of that year.  The move also indicated that Williams can no longer wait for Jake Peavy's return to plug up the hole in the rotation.

"I was hoping this wouldn't be necessary," Williams said, "but the fact of the matter is we're trying to win this year and we're trying to pull out all the stops.  Someone on the 2000 staff has to have something left.  [Mike] Sirotka hasn't pitched since then and [Jim] Parque confessed to using 'roids, so Baldwin proved to be the best option."

Baldwin, 38, last pitched with the Baltimore Orioles in 2005, but White Sox management insists that he has been working out in anticipation of getting another call to the bigs.  Specifically, he has kept his arm loose by firing fastballs to the ballplayers at Pinecrest High School in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where he is the manager.  Strangely, most of his pitches were hit for what would have been extra bases during a game, but that's not why the Sox gave him a call.

He also joined a summer beer softball league for men ages 35 and up.  When facing Baldwin, the wannabe Major Leaguers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and that's when a team scout spotted him during one of the games.  However, there are rumors that Baldwin got the scout to chug a few brewskis after said game and convinced him to sign a contract with the club.  Sox officials have denied this claim.

Baldwin could not be reached for comment as he is believed to be pointing and laughing in David Wells' face somewhere for winning a bet the two supposedly had.