CHICAGO -- No pressure or anything, but rookie Daniel Hudson will join the Chicago White Sox's starting rotation Sunday, where he will replace Jake Peavy, be asked to keep one of baseball's hottest teams on a roll and take the club into the All-Star break with a flourish.
Manager Ozzie Guillen confirmed before Saturday's 5-1 win over the Kansas City Royals that Hudson will take over the starting spot Peavy left vacant on Tuesday, when he suffered a muscle injury near his right shoulder that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
To make room on the roster for Hudson, the White Sox optioned Jeff Marquez back to Triple-A Charlotte.
Mind games figure to be as important as anything else when Hudson takes the mound. The 23-year-old right-hander no doubt knows the circumstances surrounding his first major league start of the season, but the White Sox will downplay the importance of the situation.
"He just has to do what he can do," Guillen said. "He's not coming here to save us. He's not going to come here to be Jake Peavy. He's not going to come here to say, 'Well, I have to do this to stay.' He has to go there to be Hudson. Be the way he is. Throw the ball at the plate. Listen to his catcher and pitching coach and he will be fine."
Anything close to what Hudson had been doing at Triple-A Charlotte will give the White Sox what they are looking for. Hudson was 11-4 with the Knights, posting a 3.47 ERA in 17 starts. In 93 1/3 innings he had 108 strikeouts with just 31 walks.
What could be of assistance to the fifth-round pick in 2008 out of Old Dominion is his brief big league experience that came when he pitched in six games for the White Sox last season, two of them starts. He went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.
"Last year, I said I was not afraid to pitch this kid at the big league level because I think he has good enough stuff; that's what I saw," Guillen said. "To me it's easier to judge people in Chicago than in spring training. When I saw him in Chicago last year, he was very effective, very good."
Hudson has been noted for his pinpoint control during his minor league development, and he also has one of the best sliders, if not the best, in the White Sox's system.
Not to add even more to his potential stress level, but if Hudson can merely prove that he is a competent replacement for Peavy, general manager Ken Williams might not have to make a deal for a starter by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"I'd rather stay in the organization than go out and make a move to rent a player for no reason," Guillen said. "If we're in the pennant race and it's something we need, believe me, Kenny will do it. Meanwhile, we're not going to do anything because we're desperate or we have to please people. We will do something because we want to win. He'll do everything in his power to put guys in there who can compete."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.