DETROIT -- James Shields makes his White Sox debut Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, with Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nationals.But for those who want to get a jumpstart on a Shields' memorabilia collection, the right-handed starter will be wearing No. 25 as part of the White
DETROIT -- James Shields makes his White Sox debut Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, with Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nationals.
But for those who want to get a jumpstart on a Shields' memorabilia collection, the right-handed starter will be wearing No. 25 as part of the White Sox.
Shields, 34, was acquired from the Padres on Saturday in exchange for Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis Jr. The White Sox will be paying $27 million of Shields' remaining salary, split up at $5 million in 2016 and $10 million in '17 and '18, in a move that should help the pitching staff as a whole.
"I know he's got good stuff," said White Sox closer David Robertson, who watched Shields pitch for Tampa Bay when Robertson was part of the Yankees. "When he was a Ray, I couldn't stand him. He just owned us. He's going to be a good addition to the team. Hopefully we can turn things around and start picking up some wins again."
"It's a great addition," White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. "He's coming back into the American League. It will be a good kick-start for him on a contending team. I'm pretty excited. Get a fresh face in here and a well-known starter that knows how to do his job."
After joining the Padres prior to the 2014 season, Shields has posted ERAs of 3.91 in '15 and 4.28 this season in the National League. He also has nine straight seasons of at least 200 innings pitched, at least 30 starts made and double-digit victories, and as general manager Rick Hahn mentioned during a Saturday conference call, Shields doesn't need to be "Big Game" James, as much as he needs to be a solid complementary piece in the rotation.
White Sox catcher Dioner Navarro caught 586 career innings with Shields on the mound, more than any other catcher to work with Shields, and he knows the competitive fire and talent the White Sox have obtained.
"Every five days you're going to get him, and whether bad or good, he's going to compete and he's going to play hard," Navarro said. "He earned his nickname by pitching great in big games."
"He's going to be able to eat some innings up for them, and he has experience," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's good for them; probably not as great for us."
Mat Latos moves to the fifth-starter's spot for the White Sox, starting Tuesday, while Miguel Gonzalez was available out of the bullpen Sunday. Gonzalez has made six career appearances out of the bullpen vs. three by Latos.
"We'll see how that goes," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Gonzalez move. "Yeah he fits in [long relief], especially with as many lefties as we have. To have a righty to do it is also useful."
Latos has a 6.54 ERA over his last six starts covering 31 2/3 innings, after giving up two earned runs in 24 1/3 innings to open the season. Gonzalez stands at 0-7 over his last 14 starts dating back to July 25 of last season.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.