Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A's eye win column in Gray's belated debut

The Opening Day pitching matchup of the A's Sonny Gray and the White Sox Chris Sale figured to be as solid as any throughout Major League Baseball.
But Gray was moved back to Wednesday due to illness, meaning that perhaps the most intriguing pitching matchup of this opening series now comes from Game 3. Carlos Rodon, a rising star on the mound in his own right, gets the nod for the visiting South Siders against the Oakland ace.
"Any time you get Opening Day, you're usually matched their guy against your best guy," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But you see matchups during the year that you like seeing, even as a fan, a baseball fan, just seeing what would happen."
Rodon was selected third overall in the 2014 Draft and reached the Majors after 34 2/3 Minor League innings across three stops. The 23-year-old southpaw debuted out of the bullpen in '15 but finished with 23 starts among his 26 appearances, posing a 3.75 ERA with 139 strikeouts over 139 1/3 innings.
In his one start against Oakland last season, Rodon finished with a no-decision after allowing five runs over four innings on five hits and six walks. Gray has been established as a perennial American League Cy Young Award contender but has managed an 8.10 ERA over two career starts and 10 innings against the White Sox.
Things to know
• White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu sported an ugly-looking bruise on his right quadriceps from a Rich Hill curveball that caught him in the first inning of Monday's 4-3 Chicago victory. Abreu, who also got stepped on at first later in the game, smiled and said he wasn't injured in either instance.
• Gray went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five April starts last year and is 7-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 10 career starts in the month.
• Ventura mentioned that the White Sox dealt with a clubhouse flu bug during Spring Training, a problem the A's are having presently.
"Hopefully that's moved out," Ventura said.
• Tyler Saladino will start at shortstop for the White Sox either Wednesday or Thursday, per Ventura.

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