To account for a day spent away from the internet, let's try to play catch-up on recent events
So much for an extra day for Jesse Crain's oblique.
He was added to the 15-day disabled list Friday, which is more like adding him to the 8-day disabled list because he's been inactive for the last week.
In his stead comes Dylan Axelrod, who is unquestionably the most talented option sitting in AAA Charlotte, but has also been working as a starter. It's uncertain how Axelrod will be deployed down the road, as it's likely the Sox will still want him stretched-out and available for spot starts throughout the year. Friday saw Dylan work 2.1 innings of garbage time. Zach Stewart must be jealous...or is getting promoted to more important stuff.
As J.J. notes, this situation likely offers up more high-leverage opportunities for Nate Jones, and puts Addison Reed as the primary righty set-up man. Friday night's appearance hardly qualified as high-leverage after John Danks had allowed the dam to break, but Jones allowing 5 baserunners in an inning of work hardly screamed for more opportunities.
In any case, it creates more of a need for Hector Santiago to figure things out on the fly. Santiago has already been largely without the screwball that revitalized his career and was the talk of Spring Training, now--as Jim Margalus picked out in some video analysis--he might be giving away his off-speed pitches with slower arm action.
That's an awful lot to work through, and while the importance of the closer role has been overstated throughout recent history, it's not that worthless that Santiago--not exactly of the highest pitching pedigree or reputation--should be working through his issues on big stages. However, the Crain injury increases the likelihood that Ventura will stay the course, now that his list of alternatives was just shortened.
There are reasons to be confident about the top 6 of the White Sox order. Alejandro De Aza seems worthy of his job, Alexei Ramirez has been dreadful but is trusted to rebound at some point, Dunn and Rios have both shown a pulse, A.J. is off to a hot start, and Konerko is Konerko.
Yet, the bottom triumvirate of Morel-Viciedo-Beckham is hitting .204/.230/.286 this week, and that's propped up by a mildly resurgent Brent Morel. Hard to say how much the Sox really need from the bottom of the order, but it's more than that. Additionally, there are no attractive alternatives.
Finally, legendary former White Sox player and ambassador Moose Skowron passed away on Friday at the age of 81. KenWo at South Side Sox had great retrospective on Skowron's life and legacy. It pains me to admit my familiarity with Skowron is limited simply to the many references to his warm presence and excellent stories I've heard in the 2+ years I've been writing this blog, but sometimes you can get the sense of how important a man was simply by observing the outpouring of love shown at his passing.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, addison reed, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, boston red sox, Brent Morel, Dayan Viciedo, dylan axelrod, Gordon Beckham, hector santiago, jesse crain, John Danks, moose skowron, nate jones, Paul Konerko, White Sox