8/8/2014 3:05 A.M. ET
Putnam ready to help struggling bullpen
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- After just one scoreless rehab inning thrown for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday, right-hander Zach Putnam is ready to come off the disabled list on Friday. Putnam has been on the DL since July 24 with inflammation in his right shoulder but was with the team in Seattle. Right-hander Andre Rienzo was optioned to Charlotte following Thursday's 13-3 loss to the Mariners to open a roster spot.
"Yes, champing at the bit," said Putnam of his return. "I felt real good. The velocity was up a little bit, but most important, the shoulder felt good."
Putnam has been a pleasant surprise for the bullpen, with a 2.35 ERA and three saves over 33 games. He will be a welcome stabilizing force for a relief crew that has been the subject of recent derision, with 30 runs allowed on 41 hits (seven homers) over the last five games.
Manager Robin Ventura knows there have been some pitchers working out of order late in games, a situation brought about by injuries to Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones. Ventura also understands that a good bullpen is essential to a winning team.
"You look at teams that are in it every year, they usually have a pretty good bullpen," Ventura said. "That's part of being able to save ... your starters, but being able to mix and match with the bullpen, too. You are seeing different guys come in and pick up the slack. That's what you are seeing when a bullpen is in sync. It's not the same guys every night."
"Given the youth of the 'pen, guys are learning from each other, and I include myself in that," Putnam said. "It's us trying to get better, taking the ups and the downs, and trying to take something from every outing, whether it's a good one or a bad one. Try to take something going into the next outing, watch what other guys do and try and learn from that."
Ventura not thinking about Rodon promotion
SEATTLE -- Carlos Rodon made his first start for Class A Winston-Salem on Thursday afternoon and hurled three scoreless innings at Potomac.
The White Sox top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and the third pick overall struck out three, allowed two hits and walked one. Over five Minor League appearances since joining the White Sox, including two starts, the southpaw has fanned 13 and walked four in nine innings.
There's a better-than-average chance that Rodon could follow the Chris Sale development path from 2010 and pitch in the Majors during the same season in which he was drafted. But that potential path for the White Sox top-rated prospect does not fall under the category of current concerns for manager Robin Ventura.
"I'm not even going down that far," Ventura said. "We are concerned about what's going on right here. If they say he's pitching well enough to come up, then the more the merrier at this point."
Any addition of Rodon most likely would come when rosters expand in September. He also would work out of the bullpen, as he has done for the Dash and with the Arizona Rookie League White Sox, to manage his workload. He has thrown five total innings in his last two outings, on Thursday and on Aug. 3.
Eaton sits after collision with U.S. Cellular wall
SEATTLE -- The plan was for Adam Eaton to work his way into Thursday night's lineup at Safeco Field, even after leaving Wednesday's loss in the second inning with a bruised lower back, an injury sustained in a collision with a post on the wall in right-center at U.S. Cellular Field.
But manager Robin Ventura wasn't following the same plan, resting Eaton and putting Leury Garcia in center and at the leadoff spot.
Ventura equated the aftereffects of Eaton's collision with that of a car accident, although Eaton felt good enough to go.
"Tonight is not going to happen for him," said Ventura. "But we'll re-evaluate him tomorrow. He always wants to play, no matter what."
Eaton has played with reckless abandon pretty much since joining the White Sox: It's the kind of spirited energy that has served as a driving force for the team this season. But Eaton doesn't think Wednesday's collision was reckless, because he had such a good bead on what turned out to be Adam Rosales' two-run homer from the time it left the bat.
Head athletic trainer Herm Schneider made Eaton walk around during the four-hour flight from Chicago to Seattle and gave him a heat pack for his back.
The incident apparently put a scare into Eaton's wife, Katie, as much as it did the White Sox, their fans and Eaton himself.
"My wife got in last night, and I'm eating some food, and she's like, 'Can I touch you? Are you all right? You going to be all right?'" said a smiling Eaton. "As soon as it happened, I was making sure all my body parts still worked. Catching my breath. I was more in shock than anything.
"Afterward, I was pretty sore. Got a good night's rest. This morning, Herm texted my wife and said, 'Make sure he's walking around the market down there and staying loose.' I walked a couple miles, felt good coming in today and told Robin I could play, but it's his decision, and probably for the better."
A recent X-ray showed that the middle finger of Eaton's right hand remains broken, but he has dealt with the injury to the tune of a .444 average in his last 13 games. He joins Jose Abreu, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Donaldson as the only American Leaguers with multiple on-base streaks of 20-plus games this season.
Lindstrom could be back with White Sox soon
SEATTLE -- Reports about the injury rehab assignment for veteran reliever Matt Lindstrom have been positive, despite the fact that he allowed four runs on three hits and two walks over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday night. Manager Robin Ventura believes Lindstrom could be back within the next week but said he doesn't know if Lindstrom's left ankle, in which a tendon sheath was surgically repaired, is "quite right yet."
"When you are throwing, you are just trying to make sure everything is right when he comes off, and he's confident enough," Ventura said. "Not only pitching, but you have to be able to cover first. [The injury] happened to him coming off the mound, so you have to make sure he's feeling strong enough to be able to do all that kind of stuff.
"In Cleveland he thought he felt pretty good until he started doing comebackers. Then you could tell he wasn't quite right."
Third to first
• Avisail Garcia finished 1-for-4 for Charlotte on Thursday, giving him 11 hits in 23 at-bats during his six-game rehab stint. He also played right field for the first time in his assignment after serving solely as DH.
• Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek will serve as television analyst, alongside Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, during the four-game series in Seattle. Paciorek played for the Mariners from 1978 to 1981 and hit .296 over 403 games.
• Look for Abreu to move to designated hitter for Saturday night's and Sunday afternoon's contests. That switch leads in to Monday's scheduled off-day for the White Sox.