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updated: 4/7/2014 11:21 PM

It's early, but Sox' Paulino struggles again

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  • White Sox starting pitcher Felipe Paulino waits as the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning Monday night.

    White Sox starting pitcher Felipe Paulino waits as the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning Monday night.
    Associated Press


Interesting timing.

On the same day the White Sox signed one reclamation project, starting pitcher Tommy Hanson, another one is looking like a swing and a miss.

It was only his second start of the season and Felipe Paulino deserves more time before being emphatically judged after struggling against the Colorado Rockies on Monday night in an 8-1 interleague loss at Coors Field.

But the Sox knew they were taking a bit of a gamble when the signed the free-agent pitcher to a one-year, $1.75 million contract Dec. 9. The deal also includes a $4 million club option for 2015.

Considering Tommy John surgery kept Paulino away from the major leagues for almost two years before he started the White Sox' second game of the season last Wednesday against the Twins, he figures to improve as he goes along.

As his first 2 outings have shown, there is plenty of room for that. Paulino labored against Minnesota, throwing 109 pitches while allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5⅓ innings.

"Five innings is too short for me, but I'm looking for more," Paulino said after his debut. "So it's the first of the season and hopefully next time with 100 pitches, I can throw 100 pitches and go longer. But this game, it's tough sometimes."

Fortunately for the 30-year-old pitcher, the Sox rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the seventh inning and beat the Twins in 11.

Against the Rockies, Paulino threw 99 pitches in 4⅓ innings, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks. And unfortunately for the right-hander, the White Sox' offense did nothing against Colorado starter Jordan Lyles and three relievers.

Not only did Lyles keep the Sox completely off balance with a steady diet of breaking pitches over 6⅔ innings, he was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI.

The White Sox' run came in the seventh inning when Alexei Ramirez ended Lyles' shutout bid with a double that scored Avisail Garcia.

While it's early, Paulino clearly does not look capable of holding his lofty No. 2 spot in the rotation. And if he doesn't eventually come around, the Sox could look at Hanson down the road.

A star in the making in 2009, when he went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA with the Atlanta Braves while finishing third in National League Rookie of the Year voting, Hanson gradually tailed off while dealing with shoulder issues and was traded to the Angels before the 2013 season.

Last year with Los Angeles, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound right-hander went 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) and was granted free agency at the end of the season.

Hanson tried catching on with the Texas Rangers this spring but was released after going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in 14 innings.

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