Closer’s Role Gets More Complex as Putnam Heads to Disabled List

The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Chicago White Sox this season, as players have hit the disabled list right and left. This afternoon, we were met with the news that yet another important member of the club will spend some time sidelined, as Zach Putnam was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Andre Rienzo was recalled from AAA Charlotte to take his spot on the roster.

Since his promotion from Charlotte in the middle of April, one could argue that Putnam has been the team’s most consistent reliever. In his 33 appearances, Putnam’s pitched to a tune of a 2.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and has recorded a team-high 12 holds. Behind the success of his nasty splitter and cutter, he recently saw some work in the ninth inning and converted two save chances in last weekend’s series against the Houston Astros.

In the meantime, Rienzo figures to serve as a true long-relief man, which actually could benefit the team as a whole considering the hit-or-miss nature of Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll this season. As for the closer’s role, my money’s on Petricka to be on the mound when the Sox have a lead in the ninth as he was on Monday, but it’s been different almost every time since Ventura announced the committee approach to the role last month.

Daniel Webb, who the Sox have been reluctant to use in the role despite our pleas for Ventura to do so, is still an option. Recent call-up Taylor Thompson closed some games for Charlotte, but having that kind of responsibility fall on a guy who was just promoted last week is a bit of a stretch. With Ronald Belisario back to being locked in and performing well in a set-up role, he doesn’t figure to be a part of the committee even with Putnam now sidelined. However, Ventura hasn’t given us any hints as to who he trusts most, so it’s very possible any of these players get a look.

Whether Robin Ventura was beginning to view Putnam as his preferred closer’s option or not, the point is that with Putnam now on the shelf for at least 15 days, the most reliable bullpen arm out of a bad bullpen is out. This could spell for even more roller coaster rides and headaches in the late innings of ballgames for us Sox fans.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports


About lukestanczyk

Broadcaster for BenU Sports in Lisle, Illinois as well as a Sports Information jack-of-all-trades for the Athletic Department, baseball ADDICT who played one year in college and still plays in two men's leagues in the Chicagoland area, spent my early childhood living minutes away from The Cell, parents met through the Sox Supporters group in the left field bleachers in the 70s. Yeah, White Sox baseball is in my blood.