KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Evan Marshall is lucky to be alive, let alone pitching.
And now, four years removed from his horrifying, life-changing moment on a Class AAA pitcher’s mound in El Paso, Texas, the White Sox’ bullpen is lucky to have Marshall, who’s enjoying the best extended scoreless streak of his career.
Marshall (0.00 ERA) extended his streak of games without allowing an earned run to 13 on Friday against the Royals, although Cheslor Cuthbert’s two-run single against him in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie. Marshall entered to face Cuthbert with the bases loaded, and the runs were charged to Sox starter Ivan Nova. Marshall then retired the next two batters.
On May 1, the Sox purchased the contract of the 29-year-old right-hander — signed as a non-roster invitee to spring training last October — after he posted 10 scoreless innings for Class AAA Charlotte over nine relief appearances. Before this season, he appeared in 101 games over parts of five major-league seasons with the Diamondbacks, Mariners and Indians, posting a 5.15 ERA.
“I’m throwing the ball better now than I ever have,” Marshall said Friday, “with a sense of [throwing] to the glove, with a purpose, and a step-by-step working through at-bats. Not just throwing, but thinking my way through.”
Marshall said he got “pigeon-holed” as a sinkerball pitcher the last few years, “but now I’m throwing sinkers and four-seamers and changeups and curveballs at any time in any count, all for strikes.”
After what he’s been through, Marshall is soaking in every good moment. Pitching for the Diamondbacks’ Class AAA affiliate in 2015, he was hit by a 105 mph line drive that fractured his skull, caused swelling and bleeding on the brain and sent him to emergency surgery. A year after that, he was pitching in the majors.
On getting struck again, “It’s still a thing when you step on the mound — it’s there whether I want it to be or not,” Marshall said. “Ultimately, time has made me feel better, maybe desensitized me to [the fear] a little bit.”
He certainly feels better about life.
“You can’t almost die and comprehend that and not change,” he said. “The sky was bluer. Food tasted better. It was one of those things where I appreciated all those little things I always took for granted.
“There aren’t really a whole lot of bad days anymore. They’re all pretty good.”
ANOTHER STOP FOR CORDERO
The Sox claimed right-hander Jimmy Cordero off waivers from the Mariners and optioned him to Charlotte. To make room on the 40-man roster, they transferred left-hander Carlos Rodón , who had Tommy John surgery on May 15, to the 60-day injured list.
The Sox are the fourth organization this year for Cordero, 27, who has a 5.40 ERA over 16 2⁄3 innings this season. While his command has been an issue, scouts like his velocity, and the Sox viewed him as worth taking a chance on while also adding some depth at Charlotte.
Four products of the Sox’ Amateur City Elite program for inner-city youth were picked in the MLB draft this week — the most in the program’s 12 years. Those draftees are Illiana Christian third baseman DJ Gladney (Sox, 16th round); Marian Catholic outfielder Pierce Jones (Padres, 26th round); and Marist outfielders Jason Hodges (Reds, 34th round) and Kendall Ewell (Rockies, 40th round).
JAY TAKES IT UP A NOTCH
Sox outfielder Jon Jay (groin) was transferred from Class AA Birmingham to Charlotte as he progresses in his minor-league rehab assignment. Jay singled in his first time up Friday. He had two hits in 10 at-bats at Birmingham.