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WSI News - News Watch

Parque likely out of rotation

March 17, 2002

BY DOUG PADILLA, Chicago Sun-Times

TUCSON, Ariz.--White Sox manager Jerry Manuel is being coy with his thoughts on the starting rotation, yet he has supplied enough hints to make an educated guess.

Manuel said he will set the rotation on the team's only day off of the spring, Thursday.

"I got it pretty locked in," Manuel said. "That doesn't mean it can't be changed, but we've got it figured out pretty close to how they'll come in."

Assuming Manuel doesn't see anything to change his mind, the following rotation is based on the fifth-year manager's hints and body language when talking about certain pitchers.

* Mark Buehrle: This one is a no-brainer. Manuel named his Opening Day starter on Feb. 16, the first day pitchers and catchers reported. Buehrle, who has a 3.12 ERA In 82/3 spring innings, so far has lived up to his billing as ace of the staff.

*Todd Ritchie: Manuel didn't flinch at the right-hander's slow spring start. Ritchie looked solid in his last outing against the Diamondbacks. The Sox brought in Ritchie to be a workhorse and he already has showed his stuff with 12-2/3 Cactus League innings, most of any pitcher on the staff.

*Dan Wright: One of the surprises of the spring, Wright will take the No. 3 spot to be vacated by the slow-rehabbing Jim Parque. Is Wright the third best starter on the staff? Maybe not, but with the third game in Seattle, he is being rewarded for a solid start last year at Safeco Field.

*Jon Garland: He assumed the No. 4 spot early this spring and could have moved up to No. 3 if not for struggling in his last two outings. Pitching coach Nardi Contreras already said he is looking for a little more passion and fire out of the 6-6, 205-pound right-hander.

*Gary Glover: The spot seemed certain to be going to Jon Rauch, until Manuel said that other than Parque's slow rehabilitation, there were no surprises when putting together his starters. Glover has been improving stead-ily, dropping his spring ERA from 21.60 after his first outing to 6.92 after giving up no earned runs in five innings Saturday against the Oakland A's.

As for Parque, who will pitch today in a minor-league game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Manuel is being patient.

"I'm not necessarily putting him in the mix at this time," Manuel said.

"I'm just going to let his process tell us when he's ready. When he looks like he's close to being ready we'll make some decisions then."

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