One of the surprisingly few White Sox roster battles in Spring Training is for the last spot in the starting rotation, which will likely be filled by either Felipe Paulino or Andre Rienzo. Paulino, 30, was signed over the offseason and faced live hitters for the first time since August on Sunday afternoon as the White Sox took on the Rangers.
(Tony Gutierrez, AP Photo)
Paulino's results, on paper, were not good. In 1.2 innings, he let up four runs on eight hits. As manager Robin Ventura said, "He was throwing all right. Location is an issue there. He got ahead, looked good, but he just couldn't put anybody away."
And though it was just an early spring game, since Paulino started the game, he faced some very good Texas hitters. He was tagged by guys like Jurickson Profar, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Beltre among others (cough..Brent Lillibridge..cough).
But in his first outing back from a shoulder operation which halted his Tommy John surgery comeback, Paulino was just happy to be out there in a "real game."
"I'm happy to get back to a real game and show myself that I controlled everything," Paulino said. "The good thing now is that I feel OK, good, and just prepare from there."
So even though the box score won't speak too fondly of Paulino's effort, it was just good to see him out there on the mound with good velocity and what seems like some solid confidence in his recovery process.
Even if Andre Rienzo, whose scheduled appearance on Saturday was rained out, were to really stand out in the near future, Paulino would still have plenty of opportunities throughout the spring to prove he's worthy of the nod in the rotation.
From everything we've heard so far, he has the inside track to the job … and that certainly won't change after one poor statistical performance.