CHICAGO – In the midst of their biggest series of the season, the White Sox are shuffling the rotation.
Although Wednesday’s starter versus Detroit is listed as TBA, it appears likely Gavin Floyd (right elbow flexor strain) will rejoin the rotation and it’s easy to understand why. Floyd is 7-2 with 3.42 ERA in 19 career starts against the Tigers and is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts this season.
Floyd, who is on the 15-day disabled list, has not pitched since leaving his Aug. 26 start after only two innings.
“You just go out there and do your job,” Floyd said. “No matter if it’s playoffs or means a lot or doesn’t mean so much. You got to go out there and compete and try to go out there and win. Take one game at a time, one pitch at a time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper said left-hander Francisco Liriano, who originally was slated to start Wednesday, moves to the bullpen – for now. Liriano’s inability to throw strikes has been his biggest problem, but Cooper said his temporary assignment to the bullpen isn’t a demotion.
If Liriano is not used out of the bullpen during the Detroit series, he could start in the Sox’s weekend series at Minnesota. Cooper said Liriano handled the news of his new role well.
“Now’s the time we’ve got to think out of the box, got to be flexible, got to see what we’ve got using our people the best way we can to try to win the game each night,” Cooper said.
Youkilis returns: The timing couldn’t have worked out better for Kevin Youkilis.
Youkilis missed the weekend series against the Royals because of the birth of his son but rejoined the Sox in time for Monday’s series opener against Detroit to add a much-needed proven bat in the No. 2 spot. Youkilis, who is hitting .242 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs since acquired by the Sox, said there’s no sense of urgency when other teams, such as the Tigers, are doing the late-season chasing.
“You control your own destiny,” Youkilis said. “There will be some things during games that are out of your control but there are things you can do to keep it two games or extend it. We’d like to extend it and try to clinch here as soon possible.”
Quick hits: The Sox and the Tigers have been in either first or second place in the division every day since July 15. … The Sox are on pace to hit 211 home runs this season, which would be the eighth most in franchise history.