ARLINGTON, Texas — The Felipe Paulino project appears to be about over. If not, it’s hard to see the right-hander, who got hammered by the Texas Rangers for 10 runs and 13 hits in 32/3 innings in the White Sox’ 12-0 loss Friday night at Globe Life Park, getting one more chance to prove he belongs.
Signed as a free agent during the offseason to fill a spot in the starting rotation after he missed most of the 2013 season because of elbow surgery, Paulino, 30, has averaged 42/3 innings over his four starts, allowing one, six, six and 10 earned runs.
Paulino’s velocity was fine, but the location on the fastball and slider was not. Manager Robin Ventura seemed to rule out a demotion to the bullpen as a long reliever as an option, although there is no obvious choice at Class AAA Charlotte to fill the role.
Ventura said that Paulino talked about having some soreness, which could open the door for a trip to the disabled list. Scott Carroll and Charlie Leesman, a left-hander, are among the possibilities at Class AAA Charlotte who could be considered if Paulino is replaced.
“There are options,’’ Ventura said. “We’ll talk tonight and figure something out. There might be something.’’
With the Sox opening a tough seven-game road trip that ends with four games in Detroit, Paulino was forced to take a pounding to save a heavily used bullpen. After 103 pitches, Ventura gave Zach Putnam his first relief opportunity. Putnam gave up a run in 21/3 innings.
“Somebody has to kind of buck up and wear it, and that’s where we were,’’ Ventura said. “Sometimes if you get in a mess like that, you’re the guy who has to stay in there and take it. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll see where we’re going after this.’’
Paulino came into the year with a 13-32 record and 4.93 ERA over 61 major-league starts, so the Sox’ expectations weren’t high. But with his stuff, they were fairly confident that pitching coach Don Cooper could get enough out of him to fill a rotation spot. Paulino (0-2, 11.29 ERA) gave up home runs to Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos, the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters for the Rangers.
“I’m trying to understand what’s going on with me right now,’’ Paulino said. “I’m really, really in a bad stretch. I battled every inning, tried to make my pitches and execute. But, once again, it’s baseball. I go up there and compete and do the best I can. Unfortunately for me, things are not on my side.’’
At least the Sox didn’t waste a good offensive night because of Paulino’s performance. Left-hander Martin Perez (3-0, 1.86 ERA) stymied their lineup with a shutout, allowing three hits. One was a single by Alexei Ramirez that extended his club-record hitting streak to start a season to 17 games.
NOTES: Right-hander Nate Jones is having his lower back re-evaluated and won’t be back any time soon to help a struggling bullpen. “He doesn’t look good walking around,’’ Robin Ventura said. “It’s a little more extensive than we first anticipated.’’
◆ Second baseman Gordon Beckham (left oblique) is progressing at Class AA Birmingham and could be back next week.
◆ With the game out of hand, Adam Eaton, who tweaked his left hamstring, was replaced by Jordan Danks in the fifth inning.
◆ Jose Abreu was back in the lineup after a day off, but he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Abreu has one hit in his last 25 at-bats. His average is down to .200.
◆ Paul Konerko (0-for-3) got his second consecutive start with the lefty Perez starting for Texas. Konerko is 0-for-15 after getting a single in his first at-bat of the season.