The White Sox are shaking up the bullpen to start the second half.
Prior to tonight’s series opener against the Houston Astros, the team announced the following five roster moves:
• Reinstated LHP Aaron Bummer from the 10-day injured list;
• Recalled RHP Reynaldo López from Class AAA Charlotte;
• Optioned RHP Matt Foster and LHP Jace Fry to Charlotte;
• Sent INF/OF Jake Lamb on a rehabilitation assignment to Charlotte.
One of the most intriguing names involved in all of this is Reynaldo Lopez. The 27-year-old has spent the entire season with Triple-A Charlotte, going 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA (33 ER/39.0 IP) and 50 strikeouts over 10 starts. Despite tossing six-innings of one-run ball in his last start, don’t expect to see him in the rotation – unless the team needs a spot-start. He is expected to be pitching out of the bullpen, and likely absorbing Matt Foster’s previous role. How long that lasts remains to be seen.
Speaking of Foster, we’re all aware of the struggles he went through during the first half. In 26 relief appearances, he posted a 6.15 ERA (18 ER/26.1 IP) with 32 strikeouts, one save, and two holds. He was viewed to be a key piece of this bullpen coming into the year, so it’s hard to imagine him not returning at some point. We might even see him swap roles with Lopez after some work in Charlotte, who knows.
Joining Foster in the Queen City is left-hander Jace Fry. The 28-year-old began the season on the injured list to recover from an offseason microdiscectomy – surgical procedure for a herniated lumbar disc. After being promoted back in late June, Fry struggled by walking three, giving up three earned, and striking out two over just a pair of innings. He will be another name to watch as someone who could join the ‘pen later down the stretch, depending on their needs.
In other news, Aaron Bummer will be making his return from the injured list for a strainted right hamstring – retroactive to June 28th. He was 1-4 with a 3.26 ERA (11 ER/30.1 IP), 43 strikeouts (12.76 per 9.0 IP), two saves, and 10 holds over 32 relief appearances thus far. While he’s had some tough luck, he did look like he was beginning to turn a corner right before his injury. The Sox will hope they can get the lights out lefty from last year’s shortened season right in time for the pennant race.
As for Jake Lamb or “Rake” Lamb, the outfielder will begin a rehab assignment with the Charlotte Knights. He’s been on the injured list since June 29th with a strained right quadriceps. At the time of his injury, he was hitting .224/.333/.424 with five home runs, 10 RBI, 16 runs scored, and a 113 wRC+ over 31 games this season.
We shall see if some of these moves can bring good mojo to a group of relievers who need it. While the bullpen currently ranks eleventh in the majors and fifth in the American League with a 3.92 ERA, they could most definitely use a spark and a solid presence to emerge as we approach October.
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