The Chicago White Sox setup man and part time closer Matt Thornton has been shut down with a forearm injury.
"I'm not concerned with my overall health,'' Thornton said. "I'm concerned about missing some time is what I'm concerned about."
According to Thornton he's been able to "warm-up through" the forearm pain all year, but now the pain has become too much. "Now warming up has turned into some pretty good soreness. I've got to take a step back"
This couldn't have come at a worse time for the Sox. Going into today's game Tony Pena is unavailable because he threw 90+ pitches, Thornton is unavailable because of injury, and J.J Putz has a bad knee.
That means the Sox only have an ineffective Bobby Jenks, an even more ineffective Scott Linebrink, and 21-year-old Chris Sale.
Depending on Thornton's condition, the Sox will be forced to make some kind of move to bring up a relief pitcher. On the bright side, September 1 is right around the corner and that means expanded rosters. However, by September 1 the Sox might not still be in playoff contention if their pitching doesn't turn it around.
All year it has been the Twins and Sox 1-2 in bullpen ERA in the AL. Now the Twins have started to pull away as the top bullpen as the Sox are struggling.
Matt Thornton going down may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Or it might be the point in the season where someone else in the pen steps up.
Side Note: The Sox team ERA is ninth in the AL for August. Conversely it's their hitting that's carrying the team. The South Siders lead the AL in batting average and runs, and are third in homers for August. Who would have thought that a lineup that routinely has Mark Kotsay in it could ever be clicking offensively. Not me.