Rain washes out finale with Angels

Rain washes out finale with Angels

CHICAGO -- Any further conversation between Angels starter Kelvim Escobar, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and the rest of the White Sox team will have to be tabled until Sept. 11, when the South Siders visit Angel Stadium for a three-game series.

Escobar, who the White Sox thought intentionally hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch during an April 29 contest in retaliation for a couple of controversial plays involving the two during the 2005 American League Championship Series, was scheduled to start Thursday's series finale at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox Jon Garland. The game was cancelled early Thursday afternoon due to rain.

Rainfall began late Wednesday night and continued Thursday morning and afternoon. The forecast called for an 80 percent chance of precipitation for most of Thursday evening in Chicago. No date has been given for the rescheduling of the contest, and this trio of games marked the only trip to Chicago for the Angels.

But four mutual days off exist on the schedule for the Angels and White Sox -- May 25, July 13, July 27 and Aug. 7. The date that appears to make the most sense logistically is Aug. 7, with the White Sox finishing a series in Toronto the afternoon before, and the Angels completing a homestand against the Rangers. The White Sox begin a 10-game homestand on Aug. 8 against the Yankees, but the Angels also will be returning to the Midwest to start a road trip that same Tuesday night in Cleveland.

If that makeup date is set, then the Angels will be left with one off-day during August and the White Sox will have two. All tickets and pre-paid parking for Thursday's cancellation will be good only for the re-scheduled game, so fans must retain their tickets. Sox Student Achiever tickets for Thursday also must be used on the makeup date.

As for the present effect of the rainout, pitching coach Don Cooper believed that the rotation would be moved back one day but still would stay on turn. He had not yet been able to discuss the plan with Guillen when contacted Thursday afternoon.

Jon Garland would start Friday's series opener in Minneapolis against Johan Santana, followed by Javier Vazquez against Brad Radke, Mark Buehrle against Carlos Silva for Sunday night's ESPN national telecast and Freddy Garcia facing Scott Baker in Monday afternoon's series finale. The White Sox still would need a fifth starter, with Brandon McCarthy having another day to prepare for Tuesday's series opener in St. Petersburg against the Devil Rays.

"It will be nice to get back out there and have the chance to start," said McCarthy after pitching a season-high four innings in relief Wednesday night.

"Right now, we are back to Mac," added Cooper of McCarthy re-joining the starting rotation. "He threw the ball well [against the Angels]. He threw all three of his pitches over the plate."

Cooper also is keeping an eye on Jose Contreras, an early frontrunner for the American League Cy Young, with his 5-0 record and 1.41 ERA. The right-hander was scheduled to receive an epidural Thursday in order to alleviate the remaining pain in his hamstring brought about by sciatica, and the White Sox are hoping to have the big right-hander ready to start the second game of the weekend home series against the Cubs on May 20.

With Garcia now pitching on Monday, Contreras could be held back one more day and pitch the series finale against the Cubs, if necessary.

"If there's no setback, he would go on Saturday," said Cooper of Contreras. "But we want to do some things with him to make sure everything is fine."

The White Sox bring a 23-10 record into the opener of their seven-game road trip, and they have a 3-0 mark against the Twins, following an April home sweep of Ron Gardenhire's crew. They leave the comforts of home on the heels of a 5-2 run, finished off by a two-game split with the Angels.

Rain prevented a series winner. It also prevented any sort of on-field resolution for Escobar and the White Sox.

"I don't have any problem with the Angels," Guillen said Wednesday night. "If I have a problem, I resolve my problem right away.

"That's one of my favorite teams. I love the way they play the game. I wasn't mad at Escobar. I told him, 'Somebody's going to get hurt because of you.' That's it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.