Healthy Paulino back in action for White Sox
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Felipe Paulino last pitched in the Major Leagues in June 2012. The right-hander hopes to end that drought during the White Sox initial road series in Kansas City.
The White Sox, in December, signed Paulino to a one-year deal for a reported $1.75 million, with a team option for 2015. The financial commitment all but secures a spot in Chicago's rotation behind Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks, which is quite an accomplishment for a guy who last year pitched in just seven Minor League rehabilitation starts before an arm injury ended his season early for a second straight year.
"I really wanted to thank the Chicago White Sox for giving me the opportunity," Paulino said Monday morning, prior to throwing his second bullpen session of Spring Training. "I come here to compete no matter what. I'm a competitive guy who comes here to do everything I can to be part of this team.
"The good thing now is I'm healthy and ready to compete and do everything I can do."
Paulino had a 1.67 ERA in seven starts with Kansas City in 2012 before he had to leave his June 6 start against Minnesota after just two-thirds of an inning. He underwent Tommy John surgery later that summer and was working his way back last year when a cyst on his shoulder derailed his rehab.
"I fought with my shoulder for a couple months but in the end, I said, 'Enough.' I couldn't push any more," Paulino said. "It was minor. I forget about it now. I'm healthy and ready to do my thing here with the White Sox.
"I'm just looking forward. Whatever happened in the past happened for some reason. But right now, I'm thinking about right now, 2014. ... The thing right now is to be ready, do my thing and see what happens in a Spring Training game."
The 30-year-old Paulino had the chance to pitch in winter ball during the offseason but chose not to so as to prepare for Spring Training to hopefully make the White Sox rotation. He is throwing without restriction and said the injuries haven't changed him as a pitcher.
"I feel like a normal guy. I feel [like] the same guy as before surgery in 2012," Paulino said. "I feel stronger. I only want to pitch right now. Last year, I did not pitch a lot. My arm feels strong. I enjoy facing hitters; nothing changes for me.
"When I get the ball, I try to do everything I can to give the team a chance to win the game. No matter what. If I throw 100 pitches, if I throw 20, I just want to give them the chance to win that game. ... Whatever they want [me] to do I will do it."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Paulino looked healthy during Monday's bullpen session.
"He looked like he was letting it go and it was fine," Ventura said. "You hear the reports that he was ready to go and he looks fine. There aren't any red flags that something's up."
Paulino was signed by Houston in 2001 and pitched for the Astros from 2007-2010 before he was traded to Colorado. He made 18 relief appearances with the Rockies in 2011 before the Royals claimed him, and made 20 starts for Kansas City to close out 2011. Paulino was out to a breakout season in 2012 before the elbow injury that required surgery, and owns a career 4.93 ERA in 93 games.
"I've had an up-and-down career, but I'm still here," Paulino said. "I'm still learning and I'm here to learn from [pitching coach Don] Cooper."