James Shields to make White Sox debut Wednesday
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DETROIT — Newly acquired right-hander James Shields is scheduled to make his White Sox debut Wednesday against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals at U.S. Cellular Field.
Manager Robin Ventura said Mat Latos will open the homestand Tuesday. Left-hander Carlos Rodon will pitch Thursday.
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who has made 101 starts and six relief appearances during his career, moved out of the rotation and made his first relief appearance (1 1/3 scoreless innings) Sunday.
“Not that he’s going to be happy about it but he understands and he’s willing to do anything to help us win,’’ Ventura said.
Gonzalez (0-1, 3.93 ERA) allowed one, three, two and three runs in his last four starts but has not won a start since July when he was with the Baltimore Orioles. Latos (6-1, 4.02) was the other bullpen option. His ERA is 6.53 over his last six starts but there’s something to be said for six wins and his history.
“It’s not a performance based thing for [Gonzalez] but he fits better over there,” Ventura said.
The Sox acquired Shields from the San Diego Padres for minor leaguers Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis Jr. on Saturday. He will wear jersey No. 25, which was last worn by retired designated hitter Adam LaRoche.
Starting pitching was not the Sox’ most pressing need but general manager Rick Hahn pounced on the opportunity to upgrade with a veteran with Shields’ background and postseason experience. Shields has made 30 or more starts and pitched 200 or more innings in nine straight seasons.
“You can never have enough,” Ventura said. “The depth it provides is something every team looks for.”
Shields comes over from a team that was 23-34 and in last place in the NL West. The Sox were two games out of first in the AL Central.
“I think he is well-suited to a team that he’s in the middle of everything,” said catcher Dioner Navarro, who caught Shields with the Tampa Bay Rays. “He earned his nickname [Big Game James] by pitching great in big games. Sometimes people just need a change of scenery.”
This and that
Austin Jackson (left foot) missed his sixth straight game and will probably go on the disabled list if he isn’t ready Tuesday.
*Todd Frazier hit his 18th homer against Justin Verlander to tie Mark Trumbo for the Major League lead.
*Jason Coats returned to the lineup after his collision with J.B. Shuck, whose left (throwing shoulder) was sore. Shuck did not play.