The White Sox might utilize six starting pitchers, yet they are hesitating to say they are going to a six-man rotation. Welcome to Sox baseball, where everything seems to defy logic.
Prior to Chicago's 6-2 win over Baltimore on Monday, general manager Ken Williams talked about the possibility of Jake Peavy returning to the rotation by next week and how the team would handle the situation. Peavy has a rehab start scheduled for Thursday with Class AAA Charlotte, and he is expected to get his pitch count up to 100. If he does and there are no setbacks, he would join the White Sox on their West Coast trip.
But with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Edwin Jackson all cemented in the rotation, and Phil Humber pitching as well as any of them while occupying the spot Peavy was supposed to have, a tough decision would seem to be coming. Instead, Williams has a plan in which the Sox would move around their starting pitchers for matchup purposes.
The thought process would be to make sure that Peavy stays healthy into the second half, and to provide extra rest for Buehrle, who has seemed to fade down the stretch the past few seasons. Williams said that he would discuss it with pitching coach Don Copper, as well as the pitching staff, to get their pulse on the idea.
There is other potential benefit that Williams obviously didn't want to discuss: By picking and choosing spots for certain starters to have more success, it could help come July when the trade-deadline talks heat up.
Both Jackson and Buehrle are free agents after this season, and with Peavy's hefty contract all but impossible to trade and Humber pitching so well, there could be some pieces to move.
Even if the Sox decide to stick to five starters, Humber will still be very important after Peavy's return. He will be the safety net out of the bullpen, already stretched out and able to eat up multiple innings. He could stay in that role if Tony Pena continues to struggle, as well.
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