Sunday, June 17, 2012

What Does Zach Stewart's Start Really Mean?


Maybe I'm just being a little paranoid about the entire thing, but generally when a baseball team sends out an email after midnight on a Saturday to announce some changes in their starting rotation, my nose perks up.

I mean, is that really some information you couldn't make public on Sunday morning or afternoon when people are actually paying attention?

If you missed the news, Zach Stewart will be making his first start of the season for the White Sox against the Cubs on Monday. The official reasoning behind the decision is that it gives Jake Peavy an additional day of rest and will give Chris Sale an extra two days off.

An idea that is 100% okay with me. Peavy and Sale are the White Sox pitching staff right now, and given Peavy's injury history and Sale's elbow scare earlier this season, I'm down with precautionary measures.

What I'm wondering, however, is if there isn't more to it.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this news came hours after the latest update on John Danks told us Lewis Yocum checked out his shoulder and can't figure out what's wrong. Robin Ventura says there was "no bad news" but if Danks' shoulder is still bothering him and nobody can figure out why, that's not exactly good news either.

I also don't think it's a coincidence that this news came out minutes after another bad outing from Phil Humber.

I tweeted after the game that I couldn't help but think Stewart was getting an audition to replace Phil Humber in the rotation. I then got a bunch of responses saying that Jose Quintana could just replace Humber once Danks comes back.

Which is true, except there's one thing you weren't considering in those responses.

What if Danks doesn't come back?

I mean, they know there's something wrong with him, but they can't figure out what it is, and it's his shoulder. Does knowing a pitcher has something wrong with his shoulder that they can't figure out comfort you? Because it sure as hell doesn't comfort me.

There's a reason it's been rumored that while the White Sox have no interest in Kevin Youkilis, they would be interested in another starting pitcher.

They may not know what's wrong with John Danks or how worried they should be about him, but they do know that they should probably start preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

And I think that's exactly what the White Sox are doing right now.

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