Right-hander Javy Guerra, who spent most of 2014 with the White Sox, has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive drug test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Guerra, 29, made the Opening Day roster but dealt with right shoulder inflammation and pitched in only three games in early April for the Sox. At Charlotte, Guerra has pitched in four games, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings over four appearances.
Guerra pitched in 42 games for the Sox last season, posting a 2.91 ERA over 46.1 innings. In five seasons between the Dodgers and Sox, Guerra owns a 2.87 ERA with 30 saves.
“We are always very disappointed when one of our players tests positive,” said Buddy Bell, Sox assistant general manager. “But we know the testing program works, and all of our players also know that everyone in the White Sox organization and all of our resources are available to help at all times.”
Sale likely limited to inning in All-Star Game
Manager Robin Ventura was asked if Chris Sale should start the All-Star Game. His answer?
“He could do anything,” Ventura said. “I don’t think he necessarily has to start it but in my book, he would do anything he wanted to do. He’s a good enough pitcher to start it, finish it, pitch in the middle. Do one hitter, whatever. He could do anything.”
Sale’s last start before the All-Star break is Saturday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, which would allow him two days rest. That’s enough to pitch Tuesday, but Ventura said he wouldn’t want Sale to pitch more than one inning.
Tuesday would be a side throw day for Sale, who usually throws lightly on such days.
”He goes out and gets a feel, he understands his body better, he has been pitching deeper in games and throwing more pitches per game so it makes sense that he back off a bit,” Ventura said. “He’s been pitching well enough that there’s not a ton to work on, just more feel.”
Sale has appeared in the All-Star games in each of his three seasons as a starter, all in relief. He was the winning pitcher in 2013.
Erik Johnson to start AAA All-Star Game
Charlotte right-hander Erik Johnson has been named to start the AAA All-Star Game Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. Johnson leads the International Leauge with 96 strikeouts and is 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 15 games, including 14 starts.
Johnson, a former second-round draft pick, impressed during a September call-up in 2013 and won a spot in the Sox starting rotation in spring training last year, but struggled in five starts with the Sox, posting a 6.46 ERA. That earned him a demotion back to Charlotte.
“He’s having a great year,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Wednesday. “On one level, you’re really happy for the kid because obviously he struggled and it sort of got away from him a little bit in ’14, and now not only has it come back, but arguably it’s come back at a level beyond even where he was in ’12 and ’13. So we’re very happy for him. It’s a well deserved accomplishment and it obviously puts us in a nice position going forward of having some pitching depth who can also play a role here in the second half if need be.”
The other Johnson
Second baseman Micah Johnson, sent to Charlotte with a .270 batting average that would be the third highest in the Sox lineup, is hitting .309, “swinging the bat real well, playing solid defense there and certainly is a viable option to help us here,” Hahn said.Johnson, who wasn’t cutting it defensively, has been replaced by Carlos Sanchez — who is but was hitting a paltry .160. “We fully expected at some point Micah to return,” Hahn said. “We’ve got a pretty good idea of what he would add to the roster if and when he does return.”Hahn described Johnson’s defense at Charlotte as “solid, absolutely.”
“You start kicking around what’s going to make sense going forward,” Ventura said.“You’re looking at what kind of pieces you can move around to kind of shake things up.”