Contreras to open series with Cubs
Sox starter will work on six days' rest; Richard goes Thursday
CINCINNATI -- Jose Contreras was scheduled to start last Thursday afternoon against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, before a Tuesday night postponement changed the White Sox starting alignment over the next two days.
But Contreras will get his chance to face the Cubs this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.
Ozzie Guillen announced prior to Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Reds that Contreras will work on six days of rest and open the set with the Cubs on Friday. Clayton Richard will move into Thursday afternoon's starting assignment on regular rest thanks to Monday's off-day, following John Danks and Gavin Floyd against the Dodgers.
This decision was based on opposing matchups, according to Guillen.
"I think the right-handed lineup with the Cubs is more stronger," Guillen explained. "We keep Richard [for Thursday] because those guys have a lot of speed and run a lot. We're trying to get the best matchup we can."
Moving Richard to Thursday also keeps the White Sox from throwing three straight southpaws against the Cubs. Mark Buehrle, who started Sunday, and Danks will finish out that particular series and Interleague Play for the South Siders -- aside from a makeup game with the Cubs in September.
Guillen pulled Richard after just three innings and 65 pitches during Saturday's 10-8 victory over the Reds, but said afterwards that he had no thoughts of skipping Richard or moving him from the rotation after a couple of shaky performances. What Guillen does need to see against the fleet-footed Dodgers, baseball's best team, is Richard's improved ability to field his position.
In each of his last two starts, Richard has committed throwing errors that have led to rallies for Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
"He doesn't feel good about it, but he has to get better," said Guillen, who said he talked to Richard about the defensive struggles after Saturday's contest. "He's working on it.
"To me it's a lack of confidence, because when we do it normal, we take him out on the field and practice with him, everything he does is perfect. We tell him, 'Hey, that's all you have to do.' But in the meanwhile, all of a sudden the ball gets hit to him [in a game] ... he gets in trouble with that, I would say, 95 percent of the time where he just can't handle that situation.
"Like I said [Saturday], we have to be patient with him because we're going to have him this year, next year," Guillen said. "And hopefully we get someone like Danks and Floyd to come out of it, come around."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.