The Chicago White Sox announced on Tuesday evening during their loss to the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim that both Lucas Giolito and James Shields have been shelved for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Shields was expected to make his final start of the season on Sunday when the White Sox visit the first-place Cleveland Indians, while Giolito was supposed to take the ball one last time this season on Friday night against the Tribe.
Shields, 35, posted a 5-7 record with a 5.23 ERA through 21 starts during the 2017 season, and while Shields’ numbers weren’t very good, it’s been noted by multiple people within the White Sox organization that Shields has been a great influence on the youngsters, most notably Lucas Giolito. Giolito credited a visit from Shields while he [Shields] was in Charlotte on a rehab assignment as the turning point in his [Giolito’s] 2017 season with the Knights.
Shields will skip his final start and begin treatment and rest on tendinitis in both of his knees this week, with Chris Volstad assuming his spot in the rotation this weekend in Cleveland. Shields posted a 1.44 WHIP over the course of his 117 innings of work in 2017. The 35-year old is under contract through the 2018 season for a hearty $21 million dollars entering his 11th major-league season. The San Diego Padres will pay slightly more than half of the $21 million owed in 2018.
Giolito’s First Stint with the White Sox Nothing Short of a Success
After struggling mightily during the majority of his stay with the Charlotte Knights (6-10, 4.48 ERA), the White Sox were impressed enough with a solid stretch of starts in Charlotte to call the 23-year old right-handed pitcher up for the remainder of the season before his August 22 start against the Minnesota Twins.
Giolito allowed four runs on six hits including three home runs through his six innings of work in his White Sox debut, taking a loss as the Sox fell to the Twins 4-1. Over his next two starts, Giolito would allow only one run on six hits in 14 innings of work, striking out 14 and walking four against the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Giolito finished the season with a 3-3 record in seven starts with the White Sox, posting a 2.38 ERA, 34 strikeouts, 12 walks and an impressive 0.949 WHIP through 45.1 innings of work in his second stint at the major-league level.
“It’s understandable that 175 they wanted to cap me off. When they first told me, it was kind of like bittersweet. I wanted to take the ball against the Indians. I want to pitch against the best.
“But at the same time, I completely understand the process of everything. I’m pleased with where I’m at.” – White Sox Starting Pitcher Lucas Giolito
While Giolito expressed his disappointment in not getting the opportunity to take on the American League best Indians on Friday night, Giolito completely understands that after 175 innings of work, the White Sox see no need to exert any more work on the young righty.
“There’s nothing left to prove this year,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “There’s nothing really to gain. It couldn’t have gone better. I don’t think his first trip to the big leagues with us could have went any better. He’s got his blueprint. You look at all of the games, just about every one of them have been really good.” – White Sox Pitching Coach Don Cooper
Nagging Injury Claims Final Leg of Season for Leury Garcia
In other White Sox injury news, outfielder/infielder Leury Garcia has also played his last game of the 2017. Garcia, who has missed the last 24 games with a sprained thumb, will join Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon and James Shields on the list of White Sox players to start their off-season early.
Garcia played in a career high 87 games in 2017, hitting .270 with nine home runs, 15 doubles, two triples and 33 RBI for the White Sox. Garcia will likely have a spot on the 2018 Opening Day roster with no concrete answer in center field at this point, as well as his versatility around the field and off of the bench.