You figured changes were coming after the White Sox' bullpen blew a 3-1 lead while yielding 5 runs on just 3 hits but a whopping 11 walks over 8 innings during Wednesday night's 6-4 loss to the Red Sox in 14.
Manager Robin Ventura burned through all seven of his relief pitchers and had to use Leury Garcia in the 14th inning. The utility infielder did the best he could but gave up 2 runs on 1 hit and 2 walks while taking the loss.
"After the other night (Tuesday), you thought it was getting back on track," manager Robin Ventura said of the Sox' bullpen. "If you judged it on (Wednesday) night, you wouldn't be happy about it. I wouldn't see it like that every night. I don't think anybody sees that kind of performance and just base it on that. They're going to grind. You look at they guys who are out there and eventually they will get the job done."
Thus Donnie Veal is no longer in the Sox' bullpen. The left-hander was designated for assignment Thursday after pitching 6 innings and allowing 5 runs and 7 walks.
Slumping Abreu sits:
Mired in a 1-for-20 slump that's dropped his batting average to .217, Jose Abreu was on the bench for the first time of the season.
"The hardest part of all this is that baseball's relentless," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's being able to gear back up and when you're not feeling quite right to be able to go out and perform. He's got certain pressures on him that probably other guys don't have, so today's a good day to just give him a day."
Paul Konerko started his second game of the season Thursday, replacing Jose Abreu at first base.
"In almost every game we've had, I've been on the verge of hitting, on the verge of getting in the game," Konerko said. "So you're prepared from about the fifth inning on. I'd say the first three or four innings feel like a normal off day bur from about the fifth inning through the rest of the game, you're paying attention to everything. Every guy that gets up in the bullpen, every pitch that's thrown, every score, you're really paying attention. So my switch is never really off."
Putnam up from Charlotte:
The White Sox purchased Zach Putnam's contract from Class AAA Charlotte, and the right-handed reliever took Donnie Veal's spot in the bullpen.
Putnam pitched 6 scoreless innings for the Knights, striking out 11.
"Last night our manager in Charlotte, Joel Skinner, called me and left a message," Putnam said. "I was sleeping actually. It was late, but I woke up. Best message you can get in the middle of the night."
Putnam had a brief stint with the Cubs last season, and the 26-year-old reliever allowed 7 runs on 9 hits in 3.1 innings.
The Sox' bullpen has been wild all year, and Putnam issued just 1 walk with Charlotte.
"As a pitcher, it doesn't matter what your role is," he said. "Trying to throw strikes, get ahead in the count is step one to success, so that's going to be what I'll try to do."