In four starts this season, Paulino has given up 35 hits and 23 earned runs over 18 1/3 innings. He has walked 12 and struck out 14. The problem for Paulino doesn't seem to be one pitch in particular, but repeating those pitches.
He might locate a slider near-perfectly a few times during a given at-bat, only to hang the deciding pitch and allowing the opposition to inflict damage.
Manager Robin Ventura wouldn't commit to Paulino's next appearance until Saturday at the earliest. But it certainly didn't sound as if Paulino would be making his next start at Comerica Park on Wednesday.
"There are options. We'll talk tonight and figure something out," Ventura said. "There might be something."
Moving Paulino to the bullpen was immediately ruled out by Ventura, who said that situation probably wouldn't work for Paulino and wouldn't work with the way the White Sox relievers were set up. Paulino said that he feels healthy, but a trip to the disabled list could be possible, with Ventura mentioning that Paulino had spoken of soreness.
Despite working as hard as he did during Spring Training and into the regular season, Paulino simply might not be quite Major League ready after injury-induced absences since June, 2012.
"Maybe that's it," Ventura said. "I don't know."
With a spot open on the 40-man roster, Scott Carroll seems like the most likely candidate to get the call if a replacement is needed. The 29-year-old right-hander has not allowed an earned run over 19 innings for Triple-A Charlotte.
Andre Rienzo, Dylan Axelrod and Charlie Leesman are more commonly-known names among the potential starting options.
Paulino threw 103 pitches against the Rangers Friday night at Globe Life Park. Unfortunately, the game was well out of reach by about the 80-pitch mark.
Texas (10-7) scored two in the first but took complete control with seven in the third. Leonys Martin tripled home two, followed by a Robinson Chirinos' two-run homer. Alex Rios added a two-run single, and with the bullpen generally overworked during this past week, Paulino had to take one for the team.
"We happened to put some runs on the board and their bullpen got taxed in their series against the Red Sox," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Paulino had to go as long as he could so Robin could piece his bullpen together and fight again tomorrow."
"At that point the way it has been, even two nights ago, somebody has got to buck up and wear it and that's where we were," Ventura said. "Sometimes if you get in a mess like that, you're the guy who has to stay in there and take it. It's unfortunate, but we'll see where we're going after this."
Alexei Ramirez stood as the primary highlight on an otherwise forgettable night for the White Sox, as his leadoff single in the fifth off of Martin Perez (3-0) extended his franchise-record hitting streak to start the season to 17 games. Dating back to last year, Ramirez has hit in 21 straight.
Zach Putnam made his White Sox debut in relief and worked 2 1/3 innings, yielding one run. Not many silver linings among the dark clouds that represented a third straight loss for the White Sox (8-9).
The White Sox have committed one year at $1.75 million to Paulino, along with a $4 million club option for 2015. It seems unlikely they would get rid of him after four starts, but a change in the rotations appears closer to a certainty.
As for Paulino, he spoke more in generalities concerning his third straight start in which he gave up six earned runs or more.
"I'm really, really in a bad stretch right now," Paulino said. "I really battled every inning, tried to make my pitches and execute. But once again, it's baseball. I go up there and compete and do the best I can. Unfortunately for me the thing is not on my side. I have to keep it up. We'll see what happens."
His confidence doesn't seem to be outwardly shaken. Paulino must wait to see if the White Sox feel the same way.
"For me, right now, it's going to be tough. I understand my situation right now," Paulino said. "After coming in last year and not pitching and a lot of people telling me it's going to be tough and it's really happening to me right now.
"Whatever happens, I'm healthy and I want to compete. I know the thing at some point is going to be on my side. It happens to everybody. You have to be honest. I'm going to be ok."
Adam Eaton tweaked his left hamstring rounding first on a single in his opening at-bat. He left the game in the bottom of the fifth after moving awkwardly, but Ventura said Eaton will return to the lineup Saturday evening.