CHICAGO -- Since going on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 with a strained right lat, James Shields refers to himself as the "No. 1 cheerleader in the clubhouse.""I've got the pompoms out right now," said a smiling Shields Sunday morning in an upbeat White Sox clubhouse.But Shields could
CHICAGO -- Since going on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 with a strained right lat, James Shields refers to himself as the "No. 1 cheerleader in the clubhouse."
"I've got the pompoms out right now," said a smiling Shields Sunday morning in an upbeat White Sox clubhouse.
But Shields could be taking a small step toward returning to the mound when he throws Monday afternoon in Anaheim, where the White Sox begin a 10-game West Coast trip. The right-hander was shut down from throwing in Kansas City at the start of May when the injury wasn't quite responding.
"We're just taking the process. They wanted to give me 12 to 15 days of 'no throw' and kind of just let this thing heal on its own," Shields said. "There's nothing you can really do about it but wait.
"It's kind of frustrating. You want to do some treatments and that stuff, but I understand the process and we're just going to keep going. I feel great. The only time I've felt it, it's kind of weird, when I'm throwing, when I'm kind of getting after it a bit.
"Right now, I've done everything I possibly can, doing really good workouts, getting this thing as strong as I possibly can get it," Shields said. "Body feels great right now, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow."
This first trip to the disabled list from Shields' 12-year-career -- which has been filled with success and durability -- has allowed him to play more of a mentor role with some of the younger pitchers. As an example, Shields praised rookie Dylan Covey on Sunday for becoming a big leaguer on Saturday night via his nine-strikeout effort against the Padres.
"I'm just another set of eyes for some of the pitching staff, helping them in between games as much as I possibly can and just giving them some advice and just cheering these guys on," said Shields, who has a 1.62 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. "We just came off a six-game losing streak last night, and the crazy thing is these guys are grinding, one through nine.
"When you're not pitching, you realize some things that you don't look at while you're pitching. These guys are doing a phenomenal job of working hard in between games, and hopefully we keep going."
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.