CHICAGO – Already staggered by the loss of Carlos Rodon (elbow) and the release of Ervin Santana, the White Sox’s starting rotation took another hit Tuesday afternoon.
Manny Bañuelos, who replaced Santana on April 22, had to leave the game in the fifth inning with a strained left shoulder.
Bañuelos gave up five runs on four hits and three walks over four innings in the Sox’s 9-0 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday.
The Sox remain hopeful, but the 28-year-old Bañuelos has been on the injured list 12 times since 2009, and sore shoulders typically are bad news.
“It’s too early to tell,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Obviously, he was still throwing the ball. It was a cautious move because he was feeling discomfort. He’ll be re-evaluated, and we’ll see where he’s at.
“I’m sure tomorrow we’ll know more, and Thursday we’ll actually be able to give you a good update.”
If the Sox have to find another starter, top pitching prospect Dylan Cease appears to be an obvious candidate. The 23-year-old righty is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Charlotte. Cease also has 33 strikeouts in 28 innings.
But when Rodon first went down with the elbow injury, Sox general manager Rick Hahn made it pretty clear Cease is not an option.
“No one is going to be promoted to Chicago simply because there’s a need in Chicago, but because it’s the best next step in their development,” Hahn said. “Dylan’s timeline is not in any way affected by anything that happens with Carlos, it’s only going to be affected by what happens with Dylan.”
If Bañuelos is unable to continue pitching, Hahn likely will have to find another starter from Charlotte or possibly look at Double-A Birmingham, where Kyle Kubat, Bernardo Flores and Jimmy Lambert have pitched well.
Hahn also might decide to trade for a replacement starting pitcher.
Either way, the Sox weren’t feeling sorry for themselves after Cleveland ended their three-game winning streak.
“It’s tough, but that’s part of the game,” catcher James McCann said. “Every team goes through it. You look at teams that stay healthy, a lot of times they’re playoff teams. They can count on five, six guys throughout the course of a season.
“But that’s just, I don’t want to say luck, it’s just part of the game, people going down with injuries.”
Tuesday was the Sox’s 15th game in 14 games, and they looked weary while managing only seven singles off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco and three relievers.
“Today was a tough one, but put it behind us,” Renteria said. “Go enjoy the evening, enjoy your off day [Wednesday]. We’ve been grinding. Be ready to go when we come back on Thursday.”