But the reason Richard returned to the starting five, set to take the mound Friday night against the Yankees, was because of Bartolo Colon's return to the disabled list on Wednesday afternoon. Colon was taken out of action, retroactive to July 25, due to right elbow inflammation that Guillen knew nothing about until Tuesday evening.
For that lack of communication, centering on the elbow where Colon had bone chips removed in the offseason, Guillen seemed slightly miffed. The White Sox manager even took a sardonic jab at the veteran hurler, who was playing dominoes in the White Sox clubhouse prior to the series finale at the Metrodome.
"I think that's the Dominican style," said Guillen with a wry smile. "When you're hurt, you play dominoes. I was kind of upset because our trainers didn't even know anything about the situation.
"When we got the news, I talked to [White Sox athletic trainer] Hermie [Schneider] about it. He didn't have anything about it. I had the [trainer's report], the medical report and I didn't see anything with Colon and all of a sudden he couldn't [pitch].
"[White sox general manager] Kenny [Williams] wasn't too happy," Guillen said. "I was disappointed because if you feel something, you're not going to feel soreness from one day to another. You have to feel that. Unfortunately, that's the way he handled it, and I think he handled it the wrong way. You feel something, you should tell the trainers where you're at."
Guillen explained how Colon was playing catch on Tuesday, and threw one pitch before bench coach Joey Cora came to Guillen and "said Colon couldn't go." As Guillen mentioned, he went straight to Schneider at that point, and the White Sox athletic trainer said he didn't have any complaints from Colon.
"No, I don't even think Colon knows about it," Guillen said.
Richard clearly had earned a spot as a starter, with or without a healthy Colon. The 25-year-old southpaw allowed just one earned run in each of his past two starts, working eight stellar innings against both the Rays and the Tigers. He was temporarily moved to relief in order for Guillen to have a second left-handed reliever to pair with Matt Thornton.
That job now goes to Randy Williams, 33, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Colon. Williams was a surprise Spring Training standout as a non-roster invite and had a 3-0 record with a 3.44 ERA for Charlotte, including 40 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
Williams has not pitched in the Majors since 2005 with the Padres and Rockies, and was honestly surprised to get the call.
"There are several guys down there throwing the ball real well, and the guys that came up here earlier I thought had done a pretty respectable job," said Williams, who had a 1.53 ERA combined in June and July. "With my history and my age, I didn't know what would be in the cards for me. It has been a long time. I didn't know it was that long until someone mentioned it to me last night."
Meanwhile, Richard was unaffected by his trip back to relief.
"It was a little stressful," said Richard with a laugh. "No, I was mentally prepared for it, but now it's not going to happen. It's not as big [of a deal] as you think. I just had to get ready mentally anyway if I was going to pitch in the bullpen."
"I don't have to be the bad guy," Guillen said. "I want to keep this kid in the rotation. I think it happened for a reason."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less