CHICAGO -- Losing your No. 1 and No. 2 starters never would be considered anything near a plus for any team, under any circumstance. That scenario could play out for the White Sox, with Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija receiving five-game suspensions for their part in Thursday's bench-clearing, bullpen-emptying fracas with the Royals.
Sale and Samardzija, who both declined comment Sunday, appealed those suspensions. But even if their five-game exits aren't staggered, the White Sox are ready to handle the short-term ramifications.
"Listen, my only thought on the whole thing is stuff happens," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "You do what you do, and you deal with what you deal with when the [stuff] falls out … and it fell out. So we are going to deal with it."
"It's hard to replace two guys in the rotation unless it's staggered," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We'll deal with it today and figure out the best way to go about it. At this point, you probably appeal it and go from there and just be able to set it up to have enough arms to get through it."
The White Sox might only have to fill one start even with both front-end starters gone at the same time. Hector Noesi, Samardzija and Sale are scheduled to pitch in the three games at Baltimore, so let's hypothetically figure that both pitchers begin serving their suspensions after they pitch.
Samardzija would be eligible to start again on the following Tuesday at home against the Tigers, following a Monday off-day, while Sale could start again the following Wednesday against the Tigers. The White Sox could use Jose Quintana, John Danks and Noesi in the four-game set against the Twins, leaving Sunday at Target Field as the only open day in that case.
Scott Carroll had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte Sunday to replace Matt Albers, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a compression fracture in his right pinky, and he could step in as a spot starter. Carlos Rodon, the White Sox top prospect per MLB.com, also is stretched out enough to take a start, a role he surely will be moving into full time in the not-too-distant future. Ventura acknowledged Rodon as a possibility for a replacement start.
"Just taking it day by day. If I have to make a start, I'll make a start, whenever that is. I'll find out if that happens," said Rodon on Sunday. "I threw 60 pitches last time out and the time before that I threw about 87, 88. So I've been stretched out twice this year, a couple times even in Spring Training. I can handle that load."
Rodon continues to work on all of his pitches during side sessions with Cooper and bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, so he remains prepared. But the White Sox hope any future starts for the talented left-hander will be by choice and not out of suspension necessity.
"I don't see it being something of an action that's going to happen with them a lot," said Ventura of Sale and Samardzija. "Emotions will run high with both of those guys just because they're competitive and that's the way it goes. But that's probably a level or a scene that's not going to happen very often."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.