The White Sox will not hesitate to give Jenks a chance to prove McCarthy right. Ozzie Guillen mentioned Tuesday that adding Jenks made more sense than retaining McCarthy for the team's current situation, with McCarthy not slated to start again before the All-Star break. Guillen added that the team doesn't plan to ease Jenks into action, using him like any other pitcher out of the bullpen.
Though the 24-year-old Jenks will be making his first appearances at the Major League level, he already has a storied past that travels with him. There were stress reaction problems with his right elbow that put him on the disabled list three times during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. But he had surgery on the troublesome elbow last July and as he has grown healthier, his fastball's velocity also has increased.
There also were a few maturity issues for the 6-foot-3, 270-pound hurler to work through, as an up-and-coming prospect in the Angels' organization. But now as a happily married father of two and as a member of the White Sox organization since being claimed on waivers on Dec. 17, 2004, Jenks is taking full advantage of his new opportunity.
"It really helps ground you," said Jenks of his wife and two children. "It helps you focus 100 percent on the game, instead of the outside part of it, going and getting yourself in a little bit of trouble. That really helps put your head on straight, working for your family.
"The Angels are a great organization," Jenks added. "But I think this is the right path for me."
The 2005 campaign marks Jenks' first as a full-time reliever, and he's thriving under the change. The right-hander had 18 saves and 47 strikeouts in 34 games with the Barons. He also topped out at 101 mph on the radar gun with a couple of pitches, according to people watching him throw at Birmingham.
But Guillen isn't concerned about the speed of Jenks' stuff. He simply wants him to throw strikes and get people out.
"When you throw 100 mph, if you throw strikes, you don't belong playing [at] Double-A," Guillen said. "When you throw that hard, you can get away with a lot of things."
For your health:
By simply watching Joe Crede at the plate during Monday's game against Tampa Bay, Guillen immediately knew that the stiff back bothering his third baseman during the end of the Oakland series was becoming more of a problem. Crede played through the trouble in that game, but prior to Tuesday's contest, the third baseman was scratched in favor of Pablo Ozuna.
"Today, he felt tightness and he's going to rest it," said Guillen of Crede.
The injury news in regards to the White Sox pitching staff was a bit more uplifting. Orlando 'El Duque' Hernandez, on the disabled list since June 20 with right shoulder inflammation, will throw off a mound on Wednesday and then travel to Louisville Sunday to pitch for Charlotte. Guillen also plans to watch Hernandez throw on the side in Miami, where both individuals will be staying during the All-Star break.
Damaso Marte, who became inactive on June 29 with an inflamed left trapezius, also is scheduled to pitch Sunday for Charlotte. If both pitchers meet expectations, they should return immediately after the break.
"Duque threw free and easy," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, adding that Marte also is looking good. "The ball was coming out of his hand very good."
Arnie Munoz and Josh Fields each took home top Minor League honors for the week of June 26 to July 3. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old Munoz was named the International League Pitcher of the Week after posting a 2-0 record with a 1.93 ERA over two starts for Charlotte.
Fields was named the Southern League's Hitter of the Week. The third baseman, who was the White Sox's top pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, had nine hits in 18 at-bats, including six doubles, a grand slam and eight RBIs over five games. Fields leads the Barons with 50 RBIs and ranks third with 10 home runs.
Playing the field:
The St. Louis Cardinals have retained White Sox head groundskeeper Roger Bossard to design and build the playing surface at the new Busch Stadium, opening for the 2006 season. Bossard will install the same patented playing surface currently in use at U.S. Cellular Field.
Bossard has built fields for eight of the 12 newest Major League stadiums, including Detroit's Comerica Park, host to this year's All-Star Game. This is Bossard's 23rd year as head groundskeeper with the White Sox and 39th season with the team.
Down on the farm:
It was a perfect 6-for-6 for the White Sox farm system Monday night, with everyone from Charlotte to Advanced Rookie Bristol emerging victoriously. Charles Haeger threw eight shutout innings in leading Birmingham to a 1-0 victory at Huntsville, improving to 3-0 with the Barons and 11-2 overall when factoring in his mark at Class A Winston-Salem.
Gio Gonzalez picked up his first win for the Warthogs, striking out six over five innings, while Ray Liotta improved to 6-3 during Kannapolis' five-inning victory over Savannah. Brandon Allen went 3-for-3, including his third and fourth home runs, and drove in four during Great Falls' 5-2 victory over Helena.
Jose Contreras tries to break loose from four starts without a victory when he heads to the hill for Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. CT series finale against Tampa Bay. Contreras is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA during that stretch, including issuing a career-high seven walks and uncorking three wild pitches last Friday in Oakland.