On his first day back from the disabled list after 2 1/2 months away, Teahen gave the White Sox that left-handed power bat they failed to land at the non-waive trade deadline.
Manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Ken Williams both said that when Teahen came back from a broken middle finger on his right hand that he could be that missing piece. Surely they weren’t suggesting that Teahen could be every bit as powerful as Dunn, but it’s run production from the left side they are looking for not 400-foot-plus home runs into the right-field bleachers.
Yet a mammoth two-run home run is exactly what Teahen offered Friday in just his third major-league at-bat since the end of May. He also singled and scored the White Sox’s first run in the fifth inning as the White Sox withstood a 1-hour, 22-minute rain delay to land an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“My job is to produce and help us score runs,” Teahen said. “Today it was a home run. Tomorrow it might be a double or something. I was just happy to do something to help out.”
It seems clear Teahen isn’t going to be that consistent left-handed power threat. So how many home runs down the stretch does he need to provide to be just what the White Sox are looking for? More precisely, how many runs does he have to produce over the final month and a half to fill that role?
“He swung the bat very well in Charlotte and brought it up here,” Guillen said. “I think that is a left-handed bat we might need. It gives flexibility for the ballclub.
“I’m glad he’s swinging the bat good because when you’re in the pennant race and you’re on the DL for that long and have a rehab assignment and come back, you don’t know what you’re going to get. You’re a little anxious, you want to fit into the ballclub and you want to contribute. I was a little worried about it but he came back very good.”
The quantity of runs Teahen could produce might not matter as much as the timing of them. Sure 30 RBI until the end of the season would be nice. But perhaps 18-20 RBIs in clutch situations, or situations like Friday that pad a lead, are what the White Sox would rather have.
Teahen will get his chances to deliver. Guillen has already suggested four ways for him to get into games: in right field, third base, first base and at designated hitter.
Maybe he can pitch in relief as well. Somebody might have to after Bobby Jenks’ latest mishap. On an A.J. Pierzynski foul ball into the dugout in the late innings, Jenks appeared to aggravate his sore back while getting out of the way.
“Coming in I said ‘Are you OK?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I don’t think that was a [convincing] answer,” Guillen said. “He didn’t get hit but he had to move and when he moved his back was all tight. We’ll see what happens [Saturday].”
Jenks was supposed to test his back by throwing some pitches Saturday. If that doesn’t happen, it’s likely the right-hander will go on the disabled list and leave his closer duties to others.
J.J. Putz shut down the Tigers in a scoreless ninth inning but it was not in a save situation. Guillen continues to say that the left-handed Matt Thornton and the righty Putz will share that role depending on what batters are scheduled to come to the plate.
By the numbers
22: The consecutive scoreless appearance streak from left-handed reliever Matt Thornton that was snapped Friday on a Brandon Inge home run. Thornton had pitched 18 scoreless innings over that stretch.
"I was sleeping. I have enough headaches with my own club. Believe me I was. The only thing I saw was [Juan] Uribe dye is hair orange, or something like that. That’s the only thing I see. They wake me up for that one.” -- Guillen when asked if he watched the Twins close out their victory during Friday’s rain delay.
White Sox right-hander Edwin Jackson (1-0, 1.38 ERA) will look to build off two solid starts since joining the club at the end of July. Jackson gave up just one earned run in each of his first two starts with the White Sox, getting a no-decision in his last outing at Baltimore despite pitching six strong innings. Jackson was traded to the Diamondbacks for Daniel Hudson, who is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA after three starts in Arizona.
Jackson will be opposed by Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.74), who has just one victory in five starts since he returned from Triple-A Toledo. Porcello gave up seven runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox on Aug. 3.