White Sox DFA Latos, sign rehabbing Morneau

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 7: Mat Latos #38 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on June 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

After calling his outing Tuesday “absolutely pathetic,” White Sox right-hander Mat Latos was designated for assignment Thursday. Meanwhile, the Sox signed four-time All-Star Justin Morneau to a one-year deal, immediately putting him on the 15-day disabled list.

Morneau, 35, is still recovering from offseason surgery to repair the primary flexor in his left elbow. He signed a one-year, $1 million contract that includes incentives. Morneau said Thursday he should be ready to play following the All-Star break.

Morneau is a career .282 (1,550-5,496) hitter with 335 doubles, 241 home runs, 960 RBI and 756 runs in 1,487 games over 13 major-league seasons with Minnesota (2003-13), Pittsburgh (2013) and Colorado (2014-15).  From 2005-15, he ranked seventh in the majors among left-handed hitters in doubles (314) and RBI (886) and 13th with 218 homers.

“In Justin we’re getting a proven professional hitter, a guy who has the ability to get on base with a little bit of pop and hopefully will fit in nicely in the middle of that lineup,” general manager Rick Hahn said before Thursday’s game with the Washington Nationals. “In some ways it’s a trade-deadline acquisition that we’re banking now as we continue the search for other acquisitions.

The White Sox filled Latos’ roster spot by promoting right-hander Tyler Danish from Class AA Birmingham.

Latos, 28, went 6-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 11 starts this season, his first with the White Sox after signing as a free agent on Feb. 9 on a one-year, $3 million contract.

When the Sox added James Shields to the rotation this week, there was no room for Latos, who isn’t a good fit for the bullpen. Hahn said Thursday that there had been discussions about Latos’ future with the Sox for a few weeks and that the Sox have been looking for more dependability in the starting rotation. Short outings by Sox starters the past two days hastened the need to make a move, Hahn said.

“Over the last six, maybe seven starts we started to see a little bit more from him that was more similar to what we saw in March as opposed to the better results we saw in April,” Hahn said.

Latos got off to a solid start with the Sox, going 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA through four starts.

Since then, he has pitched progressively worse, culminating with his outing Tuesday. In that game — a 10-5 loss to the Washington Nationals — Latos allowed six runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking four.

“I just felt like I was kind of fighting against myself mechanics-wise,” Latos told reporters after that game. “I walked, what? Three, four, five, six, seven? I don’t know. I just walked a [expletive]-ton of people. It was just a piss-poor effort, period, on my half.”

The Sox have 10 days to trade Latos, outright him or release him.

Danish, 21, is 3-7 with a 4.42 ERA, 47 strikeouts and one shutout with Birmingham this season.  He has gone 20-22 with a 3.39 ERA and 268 strikeouts over four minor-league seasons after being taken by the White Sox in the second round of the 2013 draft from Durant High School in Plant City, Fla. 

Danish has no major-league experience.

“I’m here to compete,” Danish said Thursday. “Whatever my role is, whatever my job is – (I’m going to) try to help this team win as much as possible every night and be a great team guy and whatever I’m called upon to do, I’ll be ready to do it.”

Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_


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