Earl postpones series opener in Boston
Danks, Floyd to pitch in day-night twin bill on Saturday
BOSTON -- The White Sox active pursuit of the American League Central-leading Twins has been postponed one day by Hurricane Earl.
Rain began in the Boston area midway through the afternoon, and the intensity of that rain should only increase the rest of the night, along with strong winds, according to the area forecast. With a state of emergency also declared due to Earl, canceling Friday's first 2010 contest between the White Sox and Red Sox means one less reason for the locals to have to travel.
Saturday's doubleheader features the first game at 12:05 p.m. CT and a nightcap to be played at Fenway Park at 6:05. Following the postponement, the White Sox made three roster moves.
Left-handed setup man Matt Thornton was reinstated from the disabled list, where he had been since Aug. 25 (retroactive to Aug. 18) due to left elbow inflammation. Thornton leads AL relievers in strikeouts per nine innings (12.17), with 66 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings, and is tied for eighth with 20 holds. He also has a 2.66 ERA over 50 appearances.
Infielder Brent Morel had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte. In order to make room for the 23-year-old third baseman on the 40-man roster, left-handed reliever Erick Threets was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Adding Morel gives the White Sox a strong late-inning defensive presence at the hot corner if Omar Vizquel is out of the game or playing another position, with Morel being compared to a young and very raw Joe Crede on the defensive side of his game. Morel, who will wear uniform No. 22, also saw time at shortstop for Charlotte.
Between stops at Double-A Birmingham and with the Knights, Morel hit .322 with 37 doubles, 10 home runs and 64 RBIs in 130 games. Morel was the team's third-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
His first official regular-season day with the team was postponed. But even with an uncertainty as to what role he will play in the season's final month, Morel's happiness for simply being in Boston and at Fenway Park couldn't be dampened.
"I was pretty thrilled," said Morel, who arrived in Boston late Thursday night. "I know a lot of Red Sox fans all over the country, a lot of people back home that are Red Sox fans, and just to come here and be part of the history here, and get a chance to put a uniform and play here is a big thrill."
With the moves, the White Sox active roster is at 30 players and the 40-man roster stays at 40.
Thornton's return should be followed by the return from the disabled list of right-handed setup man J.J. Putz (right knee soreness) next week in Detroit. The White Sox appear to be getting their bullpen back to proper alignment, while the front-running Twins battle through a plethora of injuries and overworked relievers.
Coupled with Thursday's scheduled off-day, the White Sox bullpen should be fresh for Saturday's doubleheader.
"Great for the bullpen guys," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Friday's unplanned break. "We got Thornton back. And it's at least two days off for everyone else in the bullpen. So, we're rested and ready."
Minnesota plays host to Texas, the AL West top team, throughout this weekend.
John Danks and Gavin Floyd will stay on turn and pitch in Saturday's split doubleheader, with Danks working the day portion. Mark Buehrle starts the series finale on Sunday, Edwin Jackson is scheduled to open a four-game set in Detroit on Monday and Freddy Garcia is penciled in for Tuesday's contest.
A starter would then be needed for Wednesday, with the White Sox having a couple of options. Either Floyd or Danks could come back on three days' rest or the White Sox could turn to Lucas Harrell or even long reliever Tony Pena and give one of Saturday's starters an extra day. Cooper certainly wouldn't commit until he had a chance to go over Saturday's results.
"We're not sure right now," said Cooper, when asked about the spot starter. "We've got to see how it goes and then we'll decide who we'll bring back.
"If they work very deep in the game, then we might have to go off the board and look at someone like Pena or Harrell. But we're going to let tomorrow play out first."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.