CHICAGO – Just because he was a third baseman during his playing days, doesn’t mean that Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura can’t throw a sneaky curveball.
Whether or not this one is a hanging curve out over the plate will be determined soon.
Ventura made wholesale changes to his lineup Saturday, getting a number of players from the bench a chance to stretch their legs for an extended period. Dewayne Wise, Conor Gillaspie and Hector Gimenez all will get starts.
It comes, though, with the White Sox facing Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, the same Hernandez who is one victory and five strikeouts away from becoming just the fourth player with 100 victories and 1,500 strikeouts before the age of 27.
“You get the 12 o’clock start and you know it just gets the guys in there who haven’t been in there yet as far as playing and starting,” Ventura said. “It gets them at-bats. (Hernandez) is tough on righties too.”
Alejandro De Aza will stay put in the leadoff spot, but Wise will bat second. Alex Rios and Adam Dunn stay in their Nos. 3 and 4 spots respectively, but Jeff Keppinger moves down to the No. 5 hole, while Gillaspie bats sixth, Alexei Ramirez bats seventh, Gimenez bats eighth and Gordon Beckham brings up the rear in the nine spot. The new look gets four left-handed bats and one switch hitter into the mix against the right-handed Hernandez.
In other twists, starting center fielder De Aza moves over to left field while Wise plays in center, while Gillaspie plays third base and Keppinger moves to first.
There were so many changes, in fact that Ventura made mistakes in his original lineup, needing white-out to correct them. He accidentally put Giminez in the No. 6 spot and Gillaspie in the No. 8 spot before making some quick edits.
“No, I just wrote it down wrong and I looked at it,” Ventura said. “I wasn’t thinking that hard. It was a quick turnaround (from Friday night).”