Paulino struggles in spring debut

Eager to show his new team what he can do, Chicago White Sox rotation candidate Felipe Paulino had a spring debut to forget Sunday.

The right-hander, who was signed to a one-year deal as a free agent in December, lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Texas Rangers, giving up four runs on eight hits. Not only did the first four Rangers batters reach base on hits, Texas scored two runs before Paulino recorded his first out. He threw 47 pitches (31 for strikes).

It was only the White Sox’s second Cactus League game after they were rained out Saturday.

There are two spots open at the back end of the White Sox’s rotation and Paulino was expected to be a favorite for one of them, especially since he is guaranteed to make $1.75 million ($1.5 million for this season and a $250,000 buyout for next year).

To Paulino’s credit, he was getting ahead of batters early. It’s at least part of the battle for a guy that hasn’t pitched in a major league game since May of 2012 with the Kansas City Royals. Since then, he has undergone Tommy John surgery and a shoulder cleanout.

There is still plenty of time this spring for Paulino to redeem himself and at least the White Sox now have a baseline to work from.

“With him, you’re going to watch him in the spring and I think he will dictate a lot of that by how he does down here,” manager Robin Ventura said early in the spring. “In talking to (pitching coach Don Cooper) about it and where they’re at, it’s hard to sit there and pinpoint where everybody is going to be.

“There are probably a few guys that we have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to be and how they’re going to go about it. For everybody else, this is an interesting spring of where they’re going to be and how we’re going to leave camp.”