White Sox get good news on Thornton, Putz
Tests on both relief pitchers show no structural damage
CHICAGO -- In the midst of five consecutive losing series and with just five wins in their past 16 games, the White Sox finally received some good news during Monday's off-day concerning relievers Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz.
Tests on Thornton's pitching forearm showed "no structural damage," according to comments made by general manager Ken Williams during Monday evening's inaugural White Sox Charity Bowling Classic at Lucky Strike in downtown Chicago.
"He should be fine in a couple of days," Williams said before taking to the lanes, adding the All-Star did have a little bit of fluid in the talked-about area. "Hopefully, we can get that squared away and get him back on track."
Thornton has been one of the American League's best relievers over the 2010 campaign, as supported by his first career All-Star selection, his 2.66 ERA and his 64 strikeouts over 47 1/3 innings. But he has not pitched since giving up Jim Thome's walk-off home run on a 93-mph strike in his third inning of work on Aug. 17.
A concerned Thornton spoke to reporters Sunday about being able to work through this same sort of soreness earlier in the season. But even warming up turned into some "pretty good soreness," in Thornton's estimation.
Putz's malady was patella inflammation in his right knee, causing him to walk off the field during Thursday's 11-0 victory at Target Field, just one batter after manager Ozzie Guillen and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider came to check on him at the mound.
Monday's MRI on Putz showed no greater damage than the soreness. Putz features a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings, but he has blown his past three save opportunities, including the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader.
"We need to get them to stop hanging out so much together," a smiling Williams said. "They hang out together in Arizona and they hang out here. Now, they are getting MRIs together."
A trip to the disabled list does not seem likely for Thornton, leaving the White Sox short-handed for the upcoming series with the Orioles. Tony Pena pitched seven innings in a spot start Saturday night and probably won't be ready to go until Wednesday or Thursday, while Bobby Jenks worked a season-high three scoreless innings in Sunday's loss in Kansas City.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.