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WSI News - News Watch

Marte adds depth to the White Sox' bullpen

March 28th, from the Daily Herald; Scot Gregor

Like their rivals to the north, the White Sox made a trade Wednesday in an attempt to upgrade their struggling bullpen.

Damaso Marte might not be a big-name acquisition like new Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca, but the 27-year-old pitcher should fill an important role.

"Damaso is a left-handed reliever with a power arm and plus breaking ball,'' said Sox general manager Kenny Williams. "Our scouts have been impressed throughout his professional career. He adds a quality arm and left-handed depth to our bullpen.''

Marte comes over from the Pirates, along with minor-league second baseman Edwin Yan.

Headed to Pittsburgh is quality pitching prospect Matt Guerrier, who led the minors with 18 wins last season. Guerrier went 11-3 (3.10 ERA) at Class AA Birmingham and 7-1 (3.54) at AAA Charlotte.

He got a brief look at White Sox camp this spring but was optioned to Charlotte after allowing 11 runs and 7 walks over 9 Cactus League innings.

"He just had a bad spring,'' Sox manager Jerry Manuel said when Guerrier was sent down. "He didn't have any command.''

That's not to say the 23-year-old Guerrier won't put it together with the Pirates at some point down the road.

"The guy we gave up was a quality guy who went 18-4 last year,'' Williams told "But all in all, we felt the need that we had was the overriding factor.''

Marte, 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 23 games for Pittsburgh last season, is ready to perform now. He can only help a banged-up White Sox staff that has been lit up on a regular basis this spring.

Adding Marte into the mix, the Sox have seven arms in their bullpen. Closer Keith Foulke heads the list, which includes Antonio Osuna, Gary Glover, Lorenzo Barcelo, Kelly Wunsch and Bob Howry.

If they keep all seven relievers, the White Sox would open the season with a 12-man pitching staff. That's probably one too many, which could be bad news for Howry or Wunsch.

Howry still is trying to make it all the way back from shoulder surgery, which he had following the 2000 season. The right-hander's velocity has been under 90 mph this spring. He might open the year on a rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Charlotte.

Wunsch, who had shoulder surgery last July, has pitched on a limited basis during this spring.

If there is an odd man out, Williams isn't tipping his hand. "In all fairness to the rest of the guys, I would prefer not to speak on that just yet," he said.


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