CHICAGO -- Just because the Chicago White Sox are fading fast in the American League wild-card standings does not mean they have lost interest in fine-tuning the starting rotation.
With a six-game road trip to Minnesota and Kansas City approaching, White Sox manager Robin Ventura revealed a pair of changes to the starting mix. Not only does it appear Jeff Samardzija and John Danks will swap spots in the rotation, but a new starter is on his way to join the group.
Before Sunday’s homestand finale against the Seattle Mariners, Ventura said his starters in the upcoming three-game series at Minnesota will be Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon and Samardzija. Danks has been pitching before Samardzija of late, but an off day Monday gives the coaching staff some rotation wiggle room.
What the move essentially does is put Danks up against the Royals on Friday. Kansas City is a team Danks has matched up well against in his career, while the Twins are a team that has annually caused him problems.
The left-hander is not only 9-2 with a 2.69 ERA against the Royals in 20 career starts, he is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts this season. Against the Twins he is 7-15 with a 5.76 ERA in 29 career starts and is 0-2 with a 9.34 ERA in two starts this season.
As for reinforcements who are on their way, Ventura did confirm a starting pitcher will be among the players added when rosters expand Tuesday, but he did not specify the starter.
Speculation is that Erik Johnson will make his return to the major leagues. The right-hander has gone 11-8 with a 2.37 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A Charlotte and was a starter for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
Another possibility for the rotation would be right-hander Frankie Montas, who spent a day in the major leagues earlier this season as the 26th man for a doubleheader but did not pitch. Montas has gone 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 23 starts at Double-A Birmingham.
There is also right-hander Scott Carroll, who has a 3.41 ERA in 29 innings with the White Sox this season.
Asked about Johnson specifically, Ventura talked around the question.
“I think any guy that comes up, you want to see him do well; you want to see improvement," Ventura said. “But just command and being able to handle it up here, how he goes through a game. Every guy has the same thing that gets called up here. You want to see how they handle it.
“From what you’ve seen the last time, some improvement of getting through a game and navigating through that. That’s with every guy.”
As for others who could be called up this week, Ventura was keeping that news under wraps. He did say that while there should be multiple call-ups Tuesday, a second wave of at least one player to be called up could happen later.
All players called up for the final month of the season have to be on the club’s 40-man roster.
“You’re going to play them in September and then have a whole offseason before you see them again,” Ventura said. “It’s not like you’re making rash judgments or you’re betting the farm on them for next year. But again, you get to see them and you get to see that improvement, and then you get to see them again in spring training and see what this has done for them.”