Wednesday’s Moves Clear Up Opening Day Bullpen, Middle Infield

The White Sox’ Opening Day roster is continuing to take shape after a couple of moves on Wednesday. The Sox claimed Javy Guerra off waivers from the Dodgers and announced that Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger will start the season on the disabled list.

Let’s start with the Javy Guerra claim.

Guerra came up with the Dodgers in 2011 and took over the closer duties once Jonathan Broxton went down for the season and went on to save 21 games.  Guerra opened the 2012 season as the Dodgers’ closer and saved eight games before he started to struggle and was removed from the role.

He underwent a minor knee surgery and missed 30 games that season before coming back to pitch well in a setup role. His season ended in early September when he went down with an oblique injury, though.

  • 2011: 46.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, 38 K, 18 BB, 1.179 WHIP
  • 2012: 45 IP, 2.60 ERA, 37 K, 23 BB, 1.489 WHIP

After the 2012 season he underwent right shoulder surgery and then suffered a groin strain during spring training in 2013. As a result he started the season in AAA Albuquerque and spent most of the season there, although he did make nine appearances in May with the Dodgers but struggled and was sent back down.

Guerra has been OK this spring posting a 2.23 ERA but he has given up nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts in eight innings. He is out of options so he will be the last piece of the Sox’ Opening Day bullpen, which means Daniel Webb will start the season closing games for the Charlotte Knights of AAA. He’s still very much a large part of the team’s future plans for the ‘pen.

Onto the news that Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger will start the season on the disabled list, which really comes as no surprise given the news the last few days.

Keppinger can’t throw right now and sounds like he is still quite a ways off from being able to play. Leury Garcia will get the Opening Day roster spot as the White Sox utility man and super sub. Garcia’s best value is his speed and his ability to play all the infield positions as well as the outfield if need be.

Gordon Beckham is closer to returning than Keppinger but the oblique strain that has kept him out the past week-plus of Spring Training will cost him a spot on the Opening Day roster.

As a result Marcus Semien will be your starting second baseman on March 31st when the Sox take on Minnesota.

It doesn’t sound as though Beckham will be out long and the Sox can put him on the DL retroactive to his injury which would allow him to be activated as soon as April 5th. Either way it’s a good opportunity for Semien to get some more time with the Sox.  If he performs well, he might get to keep the job on a more permanent basis.

The other bit of news today was that there has still been no one officially named as the closer to start the season.

Ventura said that he has someone in mind but hasn’t made a final decision yet.  I still think Nate Jones is the most logical choice at this point, despite his issues this spring.

Lindstrom and Belisario haven’t gotten much work in and Guerra was just picked up today.  If Jones figures to be the guy going forward you might as well get him used to the position sooner rather than later.

Credit: Alex Gallardo, AP