Reliever Tony Pena is throwing the White Sox’s six-man rotation plan out of whack.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said he would be willing to extend the six-man beyond the off day next week, but Pena’s struggles are delaying a decision.
With six starters, that means there is one less reliever in the bullpen. With Pena struggling, and Sergio Santos being used as the closer, the only other right-hander to pitch in key situations before the ninth inning is Jesse Crain.
“If Pena goes out there and does what we thought he would do I don’t mind staying in a six-man rotation,” Guillen told reporters before Saturday's game. “We even talk about that to just leave it like that. But my worry is how much Crain will work. He goes out there because he’s the only righty we have besides Pena and Santos.”
Pena came on in the late innings Friday night at Toronto with the White Sox down by a run and was hit hard. The Blue Jays added on an insurance run.
“A lot of people in Chicago thought how crazy you are you were down by one and you brought in Pena,” Guillen said. “I don’t have anybody else. I used Crain the night before and it’s not fair for him to be out there every day to take care of somebody else’s job. I’m not going to do it. I don’t care what people say.
“I’m not going to make somebody suffer with somebody else not doing what they’re supposed to do. I’m not going to do it.”
If the White Sox do taper down to five starters at some point, Guillen said Jake Peavy and Mark Buehrle won’t be asked to pitch in relief. The established veterans are too engrained in their roles to change now. The four other starters would be considered to pitch in relief because Guillen feels they are young enough to be able to handle the change.