White Sox to give Gonzalez rotation spot

May 11th, 2016

ARLINGTON -- Miguel Gonzalez is officially the White Sox fifth starter, at least for now, after his solid performance over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rangers on Monday.

Manager Robin Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn said on Tuesday that Gonzalez, who has a 4.91 ERA over 11 innings in two starts for Chicago, has won the job, though the role is "still fluid," in Hahn's words. Gonzalez also pitched well in four starts for Triple-A Charlotte, going 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 17 innings.

"With Miguel's performance both in Charlotte and what he did yesterday, he's going to get a few opportunities here, probably in a row," Hahn said. "Quite frankly, we've asked a lot of Miguel, bringing him up for a spot start against a really good hitting team in Toronto, and then 10 or 12 days later bringing him back against another difficult offensive team in their home park [on Monday]. I think he showed himself well both times, so he's earned the right to get a little bit of stability and a little bit of repetition in that spot."

Ventura said Gonzalez's outing Monday was basically an audition for the fifth-starter role, and the 31-year-old former Oriole passed. Gonzalez has thrown 65.9 percent of his pitches for strikes in his two White Sox starts this season, and has struck out 10.

"It wasn't like you go out and tell him you're pitching for another opportunity, but yeah, if he goes out and it doesn't look good and he's walking guys all over the place, that would be something that would definitely come up," Ventura said. "For him, we look at he's had two tough lineups, both on the road. I think he's done a great job of being able to control that. … I think he earned it."

Worth noting

• Melky Cabrera, who was ejected from a game for the first time in his professional career Monday night after arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Laz Diaz, expressed regret for losing his cool but elaborated on exactly what was said that led Diaz to toss him.

"It was the emotion of the game. … I told him, 'Hey, those pitches were balls,'" Cabrera said Tuesday. "He responded to me and I called him a bad umpire, because those pitches were balls, and then he ejected me. … I want to apologize for my reaction, too, because it wasn't something good."

Diaz's strike zone Monday was at times unpopular with both teams. Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ejected late in the game, also for arguing the strike zone. Cabrera, who was watching from the clubhouse by then, said there was no vindication in having company in the ejection seat.

"I didn't feel joy because he was doing his job, too," Cabrera said of Banister. "The umpire, sometimes you agree or you disagree with their calls. … Last night was a tough night for him."

• Todd Frazier's 4-for-6, six-RBI performance Monday night, which included a game-winning grand slam, may have helped his confidence as well as his stats, but building on it is the key thing for him.

"This is the tough part, the next day," Frazier said. "It's over with, nothing you can do about it now. It's exciting, it's the next day, let's see what you got now. Baseball's a 'What have you done for me lately?' game."

Transitioning to the American League after five seasons with Cincinnati has been a challenge, he said. His batting average and on-base percentage have dipped significantly from his NL numbers, though his slugging percentage is actually a touch better this season.

"You try and see video -- there's not much more you can really do by seeing more pitches basically," Frazier said. "It's been, I would say, a little bit difficult just understanding what they're trying to throw to you, and you haven't seen them before, so they've got the advantage."

• Entering Tuesday's game, the White Sox were the only team in the Majors without a loss by a relief pitcher. The bullpen's 1.98 ERA was also the best in both leagues. Just don't tell David Robertson that; the Sox closer good-naturedly threatened to abandon an interview Tuesday if stats like those were broached.

"If you're going to talk about numbers, I'm going to walk off -- I won't do it," he said.

More numbers, though: Robertson entered Tuesday tied for the AL lead with 10 saves, while Nate Jones ranked second in the AL with a 0.61 WHIP and sixth with a .118 opponents' batting average. Matt Albers was seventh with a 0.57 ERA.

"You have a veteran staff, a lot of guys who have a lot of talent out there, and have pitched out of the bullpen really well and have really figured out what their role is," Robertson. "It's helpful to know that every game we go into, there's always someone back there who can come in and do the job."