The assumption that rookie right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson is a lock to make the Chicago White Sox's 12-man staff is just that right now, an assumption. Manager Ozzie Guillen said on Sunday that he is torn between letting Hudson pitch out of the bullpen and occasionally have a spot start as opposed to pitching every five days at Triple-A.
I asked Guillen for an assessment of Hudson at this point.
"I love him," Guillen said. "Right now if he doesn't make the ballclub, it's better to get his innings because we never know what is going to happen with the five starters."
Those comments by Guillen were the first indication that Hudson may be going back to the minors just to get ready to pitch for the big-league club sometime this season. As it stands, the White Sox's rotation will consist of Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, and then in no particluar order John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia.
Guillen told me on Friday that after Buehrle and Peavy, the Sox will mix and match their rotation depending on the opponent, at least for the first couple of weeks of the season.
Pitching coach Don Cooper confirmed that sentiment on Sunday.
"I don't think you should assume that [Danks is the third starter]," Cooper said. "I think maybe you should look at who we are playing. Maybe you should think what [the media] should do. I think we know what we're going to do I just don't think we've announced it. Why? Because we don't have to."
I asked Cooper how many times they can skip their fifth spot in the first month of the season.
"I haven't looked at that," Cooper said. "We're not planning on skipping them at this point."
Buehrle, who will start on Opening Day, told me on Sunday that he received his spring pitching schedule, and it doesn't include any off time between spring starts.
"I thought we were going to [miss at least one start]," Buehrle said. "But according to the schedule, I'm on every five days with a possible sixth day in there."
The joke in previous spring trainings has centered around Buehrle's achy left shoulder and the possibility of him missing time because of an injury. During spring training of 2009, Buehrle missed a week of training in order to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
That little hiccup in his schedule didn't seem to hurt the veteran starter who began the 2009 season with a 5-0 record, allowing just eight earned runs in April. The White Sox's main concern about Buehrle is not injury but endurance. The 10-year veteran pitched a perfect game on July 25 against the Tampa Bay Rays and then finished the season 2-7 in his last 13 starts.