Just a week or so ago, it seemed like the White Sox season had been dealt its death blow in the form of a wave of pitching staff carnage that claimed their top arms. And let's be honest, it's still could have been the death knell--we're 3.5 games back of Minnesota with a harder schedule. The losses of Putz (knee tendinitis), Thornton (forearm soreness), Threets (torn ligament that allows you to throw hard), only exacerbated the periodic problems of Jenks (calf, back, desire to live), and the long-term loss of Peavy (exploded back muscle). To top it off, Gordon Beckham took a fastball to the hand (a blow that probably would have put Carlos Quentin in the hospital for a month), and Freddy Garcia was pulled out of his last start with cramps.....in his back.
But apparently, in some sort of weird phenomenon, over a course of time, injuries can heal.
Well not all of them...the Sox are still a beaten-up wreck of a team, but at least things aren't as preposterously awful as we thought.
Oh wait no, he's still extremely injured. He'll probably never play for the White Sox again. Bye, bye Erick and your very becoming neck tattoo....see you in 18 months or never.
Aaahh the old "Oh I just gave up a home run that emblemized our season's failure so I'm going to take two weeks off and get my stuff together" trick. Thornton creeped us all out by going on the DL with forearm/elbow soreness (also known as Mark Prior disease), but now is ready to come back to the roster in time for the all-important Boston series, having spent only the minimum time on the shelf. Arm inflammation in pitchers still makes me pretty terrified, especially when they're pitchers who have been complaining of overuse all season long. I would try to dislike Thornton's injury status on Facebook.
This is probably the injury I have the least faith in its solving itself...well, besides Threets. On two separate occasions J.J. has come out, failed to hit 95, then made one of those depressed expressions to the dugout, and ambled off in a disappointed huff. This doesn't seem like simple inflammation; guys who are sore have crappy outings and then complain of pain during the post-game interview. Guys who try to pitch and experience a failure to generate anything resembling their typical muscular response tend to be epicly screwed and need Joan Rivers-levels of surgery.
When you get hit in the hand with a fastball, the primary risk is your hand shattering like a Faberge egg. And fortunately, Gordon Beckham's hand did not shatter like a Faberge egg. Sure he writhed around in pain like he had been set on fire, and it probably swelled to the size of a watermelon; but he claims he'll be back, and we damn sure need him. Beckham's been a .965 OPS-guy in the 2nd half and the most awesome-super-fantabulous-wacky-wonderful period of Brent Lillibridge's career seems to have grinded to a halt. I'd say play him so long as the hand hasn't sprouted an infection so powerful it's capable of independent thought.
Freddy left after 4 innings in his last start against Cleveland, continuing the trend of guys on the White Sox in not great shape having back problems. Fortunately, Freddy claims to be ready for his next outing. Garcia is most likely the best judge of his own body, but count me skeptical of the "old guys playing through pain and hoping it's nothing" approach. I think Freddy is shaky as the next guy, but shaky is still a lot better than Carlos Torres. Though back in the day, we didn't need 5th starters....and by back in the day I mean 2004.
Believer or not, Jenks isn't actually hurt right now. But with how unreliable he's been from a durability standpoint and his increased recent workload, some aches and pains are bound to crop off unless he gets help soon.
On the plus side....Chris Sale can close apparently.
As is stands, a healthy Thornton could do wonders, even if he doesn't provide any lefty-righty balance. Putz and Threets might as well be counted out, so an injury to Jenks, Santos, or Chris Sale being taken away if the U.S. Selective Service re-institutes the draft, will probably be the final crisis-inducing blow to a bullpen that might just kick the bucket in Boston this weekend anyway.
But as you can tell, I'm staying optimistic.