A bit of news on Friday morning that should help out the White Sox’ bullpen, which has not been able to get anybody out of late; Zach Putnam (shoulder inflammation) has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and added to the active roster. To make room, the club has sent Andre Rienzo back to Triple-A Charlotte.
Rienzo, a 26 year old Brazilian who has made 11 starts and seven relief appearances for the south siders this year, really seems to have fallen out of favor. With Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll filling out the back-end of the club’s rotation competently, Rienzo was quickly rushed out of the starting shuffle back in June after a string of four consecutive rough outings. Andre started off the season well and looked poised to become a mainstay as the team’s number four or five starter. But now, it seems we can draw the conclusion that he will be nothing more than a AAAA pitcher (basically a spot starter) for the organization moving forward. He’s got a 6.82 ERA and 1.778 WHIP to his name … yikes.
Shifting gears to Putnam, the Michigan Wolverine that has been superb for the White Sox in the late innings all season …
After making three very brief major league stints over the last three seasons (totaling 15 appearances), the Sox took a flyer on the 27 year old this past spring. And why not, considering how well his split-finger pitch profiles for U.S. Cellular Field.
Over 33 appearances for the good guys, Putnam has tossed 38.1 innings with a 2.35 ERA 1.200 WHIP. He is not a power pitcher, but has managed to strike out 7.5 hitters per 9.0 innings. Most importantly, he’s limited the walks (15 in total but decreasing in frequency of late) and induced ground ball after ground ball. Juuust fewer than six out of every ten outs he’s recorded this year have come via the groundout, and he’s also induced six double plays. He’s found a way to retire major league hitters with a repertoire built around his splitter, which is exactly what the Sox hoped for when they grabbed him in March.
Putnam and Jake Petricka have been the only two consistent relievers for the Pale Hose this year, and while Zach’s return isn’t going to solve all of the unit’s problems, it will certainly help.
Photo Credit: Jerry Lai, USA TODAY Sports