Pitching Holes A Growing Concern For White Sox

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By 670 The Score
CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Time is already of the essence for the White Sox as it pertains to finding a solution for their pitching concerns.

Injuries have taken a big toll on the White Sox's staff, with the loss of right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (shoulder) and left-hander Carlos Rodon (shoulder) weakening the rotation. Beyond them, right-hander Jimmy Lambert (forearm strain) and primary setup man Aaron Bummer (biceps strain) are also on the injured list. 

When Lopez, Rodon and Bummer could be back remains unclear. Lopez and Rodon need to be free of irritation in their shoulders and then build their arm strength and pitch counts back up, so their returns aren't imminent. Bummer suffered his injury Friday. Lambert is on the 45-day injured list, meaning his season is probably over.

"Bummer will stay back and work at the Schaumburg facility the next four days until we return, at which time he will rejoin us," manager Rick Renteria said Sunday. "Lopez did a side on Saturday that went very well. Rodon is playing catch and will hopefully be ready for a side in the next few days."

The White Sox don't plan to rush any of their injured pitchers along in their recoveries.

"I would say any of our guys that get in a situation that puts them behind physically health-wise, we will be very mindful and careful how we proceed," Renteria said. "I want to be selfish in wanting their skills back on the field. At the same time, we want to be selfishly protecting them to make sure we do right by them and the organization in the long run. We need to make sure they are sound before they return."

The White Sox's starting rotation had a 4.86 ERA entering play Sunday, which ranked 21st in MLB. They've been hit so hard by injuries that Renteria chose to utilize a bullpen game in place of a traditional starter in a 7-1 loss to the Indians on Saturday.

General manager Rick Hahn has emphasized the White Sox won't be rash on the trade market in a truncated season despite having some needs to address, but that doesn't mean the team won't make a lower-profile deal or two. The trade deadline looms on Aug. 31 in this 60-game season.

Providing hope for the bullpen was the MLB debut of 25-year-old right-hander Zack Burdi on Saturday, when he threw one scoreless inning and displayed a 99-mph fastball. The White Sox still view their bullpen as a strength of their team, and their relievers have combined for a 4.11 ERA, which ranks 18th in MLB. Righty reliever Jose Ruiz has also been added from Schaumburg to help fortify the bullpen.

In injury news pertaining to position players Sunday, Renteria indicated that shortstop Tim Anderson (groin) is expected to return sometime during the White Sox's series against the Tigers, which begins Monday.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.