Notes: Jenks' role to grow

Notes: Jenks' role to grow

CHICAGO -- Manager Ozzie Guillen has been hesitant to mess too much with a good thing as his team has roared out to the best record in baseball.

But that doesn't mean that Guillen isn't willing to take chances when it comes to who he will use in the closer role when Dustin Hermanson can't pitch.

Although rookie Bobby Jenks has been mostly an early setup guy in his few stints of relief, Guillen said that with Hermanson's back troubles, it would not be surprising to see Jenks in the closer role.

"The days that [Hermanson] is not available, we'd have to use [Cliff] Politte or [Damaso] Marte or I'm not going to be afraid to put the kid there," Guillen said. "I'll put him there and see what he's got. That's the way you see what your players have. You say, 'Wow, he has good stuff,' but I want to see how he does in a tough situation. And we did. He had the bases loaded [Tuesday against Detroit] and he came out of there [OK]."

The closer role is nothing new for Jenks, who spent all his time at Double-A Birmingham in that spot. In 41 innings with the Barons, Jenks struck out 48 batters and saved 19 games.

"I'd feel very comfortable being there," Jenks said of closing. "It's what I've been doing all season. I did it in the Minor Leagues, so I think I could handle it here."

General manager Ken Williams feels confident in having Jenks there as well. Williams has said all along that's the reason Jenks was kept up with the club while Shingo Takatsu was designated for assignment.

"That's why we brought him here," Williams said. "We brought him here as an opportunity to ease him into his Major League shoes and situationally give him more and more responsibility."

There is no hurry to rush Jenks into the closing role as the White Sox have plenty of other options in the bullpen. Williams said that he feels confident even with Hermanson's injury, although he still doesn't discount the possibility of some sort of trade before the deadline.

"Other teams would call us in a normal situation, or a different situation if we weren't in the situation we are, and ask for our guys, three or four of them, to try and close for their situation," Williams said. "It's not by any means a dire situation. We're very comfortable with the situation we have and Bobby gives us another dimension."

There has been talk within the White Sox organization that Jenks could have a similar effect on the team with his callup as Francisco Rodriguez did during the 2002 season when the Anaheim Angels won the World Series.

It's something that Guillen hinted at when he talked about what he has seen in the 24-year-old pitcher in his most recent relief appearances.

"I think this kid, the last couple outings, has shown me what kind of heart he has," Guillend said. "And he's got a lot of guts. When you have that and you throw strikes with that velocity, you have a great chance to be real special in this game."

Heat concerns: Temperatures in Chicago have risen into the 90s almost every day during the Sox's week-long homestand, but Sunday will bring another challenge as the thermometer will top 100 degrees.

Jose Contreras is set as the starter for Sunday's game, and pitching coach Don Cooper said that he isn't too worried about how Contreras will deal with such extreme conditions.

"Absolutely, the thought has crossed my mind of how it will affect him," Cooper said. "You want to keep track of him, but he came from Cuba and it's probably hot like this all day down there. He had to stay in for probably nine innings down there. He finished what he started."

Guillen commended Cooper on how he has taken care of the pitching staff and not worn down the young staff by keeping the pitch counts at a minimum.

Though he used Garland for a season-high 117 pitches Friday night, Guillen said that the weather or pitch counts won't influence his decisions too much, if he believes that his starter should remain in the game.

"We're not going to overuse anyone just because, but, in the meanwhile, I'm not going to lose a game by taking out the pitcher just because we got the lead," Guillen said. "If you need to be there for at least five more pitches, you will be in the game."

Injuries abound: Jermaine Dye was out of the lineup for the third consecutive day Saturday with soreness in his left leg from six bites.

Though Dye felt good enough to play, Guillen felt it was best to wait another day.

"He's still got one bite that's bothering him a bit," Guillen said. "He should be in the lineup [Sunday]."

Guillen acknowledged how odd of an injury it was for Dye to have and said that a slide Dye took to get a ball after suffering the bites probably aggravated them. The injury may not be quite a laughing matter but Guillen wasn't afraid to make light of it in his own way.

"It's just too bad it didn't happen to me," Guillen said. "I'd be making some money [via a lawsuit] off somebody."

Quick starts: Jon Garland picked up win No. 15 on Friday night, becoming one of the fastest starters to reach that number in Chicago White Sox history.

Only Mark Buehrle reached the 15-game win mark last season for the Sox and did not do so until the month of September.

Not even Esteban Loaiza, who won 21 games for the Sox in 2003, reached the number of wins so quickly. Loaiza did not pick up his 15th win that season until Aug. 10, when he went eight innings, giving up one earned run, in a 5-1 win over the Oakland A's.

Down on the farm: Joe Borchard went 3-for-4 with two solo home runs in Triple-A Charlotte's 4-3 loss at Syracuse. Borchard now has 20 home runs on the season. Brandon McCarthy started the game for Charlotte and went six innings, giving up two runs [one earned] on four hits while striking out eight.

Josh Fields was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in Birmingham's 6-4 win against Huntsville. This year's first-round draft pick, Lance Broadway, picked up a no-decision in Class A Winston-Salem's 4-3, 10-inning victory vs. Myrtle Beach. Broadway pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, and striking out six.

On deck: Contreras (5-6, 4.34 ERA) will close out the series with Boston on Sunday afternoon. The question for Chicago will be which Contreras shows up to face the Red Sox. Contreras' .228 average against ranks third in the American League, but Contreras also ranks second in wild pitches.

Kelly Thesier is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.