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WSI News - News Watch

Howry pitches himself out of job

March 19, 2002

By Doug Padilla, Chicago Sun-Times

TUCSON, Ariz.--Another Bob Howry bullpen blowup Monday ended up deciding the White Sox' starting rotation.

Howry, the team's closer as recently as the start of the 2000 season, now appears to be a man without a job after giving up six hits and four runs in two innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I have not even the slightest clue,'' Howry said when asked why he thinks he has lost velocity on his fastball. "Last year, coming off surgery, I was throwing harder than I am now.''

Sox manager Jerry Manuel said he is set on giving Howry's setup role to Gary Glover, who was in the fight for the open spot as No. 5 starter.

With Glover now out of that race and Jim Parque behind schedule on his rehabilitation, Manuel is left with a starting rotation of Mark Buehrle, Todd Ritchie, Dan Wright, Jon Garland and Jon Rauch.

Buehrle and Ritchie are set as the No. 1 and 2 starters, while Nos. 3 through 5 will be determined Thursday.

"Gary Glover would be the guy to get to [closer Keith] Foulke,'' Manuel said. "I like the fact that Glover is a power arm and he throws strikes. I like that late in a game.''

Manuel said the decision was easy to take Howry out of the setup role. Howry's outing Monday raised his spring ERA to 11.57. He has given up 19 hits in 91/3 innings.

"Unfortunately, for him and us, it's not happening right now,'' Manuel said. "We won't have him go into the season in that role. It wouldn't be fair for him or the team.''

Howry said he doesn't know what to do to get his velocity to return, but he will continue to work hard in camp. He was clocked at 88 mph Monday, well off the mid-90 range he was throwing when healthy. He agrees with Manuel's decision to get him out of the setup role.

"They have to put somebody in there who can get the job done,'' Howry said. "If I don't throw the ball better, I don't think anybody would blame [Manuel].''

The Sox were entertaining offers for righty Howry as late as January from teams looking for a closer. The Los Angeles Dodgers were rumored to be the most-serious suitor. Now Howry is wondering when he might get to pitch in any role this season.

"I really don't know what to do,'' he said. "All I can do now is continue to work hard, work on mechanics and work on arm strength. I'll do my work and see what happens.''

Manuel is sticking to his decision of waiting until Thursday before setting the rotation and defining roles in the bullpen. He said he won't make those decisions public until Friday.

Even before Howry's blowup Monday, Rauch was moved into the starting role for the Sox' game today against the San Francisco Giants. Garland was moved to a B game.

"We'd like to see [Rauch] against as much competition as possible,'' Manuel said of his decision to start the 6-11 right-hander against the Giants. "Garland has been in the major leagues for the past two years. We want to get a good look at [Rauch]. These are valuable outings for a guy like that.''

Rauch, who has no major-league experience and only six games at Class AAA, is up for the challenge. He said he just doesn't want to get too excited.

"You avoid putting too much pressure on yourself,'' Rauch said. "The more pressure you put on yourself, the less likely you are to do well. You've got to keep things within reason, I guess. I don't want to go out and try to push myself beyond what I'm capable of doing.''



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