It's incredible how a strength can turn into a weakness. Especially if that strength is reliant on the durability of the arms regularly flipping off 96 mph fastballs. But count me surprised by this one; J.J. Putz should be removed from any consideration as a reliable reliever...or as a guy that we'll see in the foreseeable future because for the second time in the space of the week, he threw a couple of pitches that would make Scott Linebrink mutter critically under his breath, then signaled to the dugout like Roberto Duran, and got the hell of the mound. It appears that his knee injury is not a problem that is going away anytime soon, and that new is bad. Real bad.
One of the positives of having veterans is that they at least realize when they are hurt, and can realize when something is wrong like "Hey, that last pitch was 56 mph", or "Hey, that last pitch went into the dugout", or "Hey, that pitch was fine, but the pain was so intense there are tears in my eyes and I'm a 34 year-old man". Of course the negative is that this happens to them more often....like it clearly has to Putz and Thornton.
We took a flyer on Putz; a guy who has essentially lost the last two years of his career due to injuries. It was a good gamble, and for the most part has been all profit for the White Sox. But now it appears that the downside will be setting in. He very much appeared to have the same knee problem crop up again Tuesday night, almost a week after its first instance. Maybe it's just tendinitis, maybe he just needs to stop doing squat thrusts to his Richard Simmons tape in his living room, but I really wouldn't be surprised if it's something that requires surgery....removing him for the year.
Seriously, stop....it won't help anyone.
Without Putz....and a banged up Thornton who sounds more and more like he actually will return in a week, the White Sox suddenly find themselves in an odd position. With Sale working out about as well as anyone could have hoped, and Erick Threets working his way through a rehab assignment, the Sox could have way more left-handers than they know what to do with, and no righties beyond Bobby Jenks (who seems healthy and saved the game from a fired-up but still awful Orioles teams Tuesday). Sergio Santos seems to be finally going through the growing pains of not really knowing how to pitch yet (1.75 WHIP in August), Scott Linebrink seems to be broken beyond repair, and Tony Pena has pitched his way out of any late-game responsibility....leaving us with....uh....well....hmmm...Jhonny Nunez? Kyle Bellamy? Rushed call-ups at this point would seem less than optimal, but with the trade deadline past, it's likely the White Sox will be forced to throw out their glut of left-handers and use their moribund righties situationally, when circumstances demand it.
Hey, at least it'll be different.