KANSAS CITY – Manager Ozzie Guillen did just about the only thing he can do with reliever Will Ohman, he gave him a kick in the pants Tuesday.
“He’s here, I have to use him; we’ve got only 11 pitchers,” Guillen said. “I don’t have the luxury to [matchup Ohman to lefties]. Maybe later on I will. But he’s got to get his head out of his [expletive]. I don’t want to punish the kid. He had what, two bad games? He knows that, we all know that. I’m not going to change anything.”
It’s probably not the answer many White Sox fans want to hear after the left-hander gave up three runs in each of his first two outings and carried a 27.00 ERA into the second series of the season, this one against Kansas City.
“I don’t care what the fans think or what the media says,” Guillen said. “It’s my problem He needs to pitch. We need him pitching. If he’s not going to help us, we’ll put people in his place that will. I’m not going to put him in and then yank him back out. If you’re pitching and you see someone warming up right away, you lose your confidence. I want to show this kid I still have confidence in him and that he can get people out. I still believe he can help us.”
Ohman said that his issue is with control and is confident that he can resolve it.
“It stinks because it’s early and you don’t want to start off like this,” Ohman said after Sunday’s game at Cleveland. “I had a chance to keep us in the ballgame, that’s what I wanted to do. But if this was two bad games in a row in August, it would be exactly the same: frustrating but not worried.”
If the White Sox ever increased the pitching staff to 12 men it figures to reduce the load on Ohman. At that point he could do what he does best and work as a left-handed specialist. Ohman entered the season with the fifth best batting average against vs. left-handers at .208. Only C.J. Wilson (.181), Damaso Marte (.194), Dontrelle Willis (.205) and Paul Maholm (.208) were better.
“He’s pitching a little longer now because they were scoring runs [taxing the bullpen]” Guillen said. “The reason I put him back [Sunday] was to let him regroup. We were already down. Just give him another inning, and it gives us a chance to rest the other relievers, but he couldn’t do it.”