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The Chicago White Sox began their final series of the regular season Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
Here are three things we learned at Guaranteed Rate Field.
1. Questions remain for the rotation heading into the playoffs.
Carlos Rodón allowed one hit in five shutout innings Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds. He threw 69 pitches in his first outing since lasting three innings and throwing 69 pitches on Sept. 20 against the Tigers at Comerica Park. He exited that game with what he called “normal soreness.”
The Sox are determining the next step with the left-hander.
“We’re still looking into it,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s playing catch sometime this weekend. We’ll see. Nothing official or definite yet.”
Asked if he was optimistic or pessimistic, La Russa said: “It’s more a level of curiosity.”
“Hope for the best,” he said. “I’d hate to comment one way or the other because there’s not enough info yet.”
Lance Lynn started Friday and Lucas Giolito is Saturday’s scheduled starter. But that’s not a definitive indicator of how the Sox will approach the first two games against the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series, which begins Thursday.
“I think we’ll wait until the end of the weekend,” La Russa said. “Just get as much information as you can before you make that call.”
2. Tim Anderson admits he pushed umpire Tim Timmons, but …
Anderson received a three-game suspension Wednesday for making contact with Timmons during Monday’s benches-clearing incident with the Tigers at Comerica Park.
“Did you see the video?” Anderson asked. “He was pushing me. I didn’t realize who he was because he was so close to, pushing me. What’s your reaction when someone pushes you? To push him off of you. So I pushed him off of me and I realized it was him, but at that point it’s too late. But yeah, I pushed him. But he started it. He initiated it. I just pushed him back. I pushed him off of me. Because he was in my space, a little too close.”
Anderson said he heard Timmons say, “‘You guys are in the playoffs. You guys are in the playoffs.’”
“At that point, I’m thinking we just got done pushing from the other players, so I pushed him off of me, told him ‘I don’t give a bleep,’ and I think he’s as mad about that, that part that I said. … And that was it.
“But I didn’t realize it was the umpire. We all know if I would have seen him and I knew that’s who it was, obviously I wouldn’t just be pushing an umpire. He didn’t do anything to me. So it didn’t make sense. But it’s OK. We’re just going to deal with it and move on.”
3. The Sox got one reliever back in Ryan Tepera and are waiting to see about Evan Marshall.
The Sox reinstated reliever Ryan Tepera from the injured list before Friday’s game. La Russa planned to get him at least one outing during the weekend series.
“See how he looks and figure out whether we need to do anything on Tuesday during the workout day,” La Russa said.
Tepera had been on the IL since Sept. 11 with a cut on his right index finger. He’s 0-2 with a 2.88 ERA, 21 holds, two saves and 72 strikeouts in 63 relief appearances between the Cubs and Sox.
In Friday’s corresponding move, the Sox designated pitcher Mike Wright Jr. for assignment.
The Sox also have a decision to make soon regarding Marshall, who has been on the IL since June 30 with a strained right flexor pronator. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA, 26 strikeouts and six holds in 27 relief appearances.
“First of all, how healthy, what’s the risk there?” La Russa said. “And has he done enough, competed enough to give us a shot? Because of who he is and what he’s meant to this club, he’s definitely getting the consideration. But going beyond that and actually giving him innings, there’s a health concern and a sharpness concern.
“We’ll just be properly respectful and considerate and do the best we can.”