CHICAGO -- With the third-worst bullpen ERA in baseball, the White Sox are taking help wherever they can get it, even from a reliever they recently pummeled. The club claimed Hector Noesi off waivers Friday, which means the right-handed reliever will be on his third team of the season.
The Sox beat up on the Rangers on Sunday, scoring seven runs off Noesi in the ninth inning of a 16-2 win. He started the season with Seattle, but was traded to Texas for cash considerations on April 12. Noesi, 27, made two scoreless appearances for the Rangers before the rough outing against the White Sox, and has a 14.21 ERA.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Noesi will report on Saturday and throw for pitching coach Don Cooper. Noesi is out of options, so Hahn "suspects" Noesi will be added to the active 25-man roster.
"He's a guy who obviously was available because he has struggled mightily as we saw first-hand last weekend, but he's a guy we've like for some time who has some upside," Hahn said. "There are two specific things that we think we can improve that he's been doing that has hampered his success. So we'll see if we're effective in being able to make those adjustments in the near future, and if not, adjust accordingly."
Hahn wouldn't elaborate on what two things Noesi needs to improve, in case the Sox weren't able to fix Noesi's issues, release him, and another team is privy to the adjustments. The White Sox GM is not one to overreact to small sample sizes, and that includes the bullpen. He pointed to Ronald Belisario's three consecutive scoreless outings after the veteran righty struggled with his command early.
The White Sox's young relievers in particular have struggled with their command, which comes with the territory. That doesn't mean Hahn has infinite patience.
"Some of our younger guys who had some command problems, that's going to happen with some ups and downs," Hahn said. "I know that we've spent a lot of time talking about not letting winnable games slip away late in the game due to bullpen usage and if we need to make adjustments, we will.
"We've got some alternatives in [Triple-A] Charlotte, but at this point other than bringing up Zach Putnam to help sort of stabilize that long roll, we haven't gone to any of the alternatives just yet."
Noesi was originally signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic, and he was moved to Seattle as part of the 2012 trade that sent Michael Pineda to New York. Noesi has gone 4-16 with a 5.81 ERA in 69 appearances. With the addition of Noesi, the White Sox now have 40 players on the 40-man roster.
Eaton returns after five-game absence
CHICAGO -- The White Sox have their leadoff man back. Adam Eaton returned to the top of the lineup card and center field on Friday after sitting out the past five games with a strained left knee.
"He's ready to go," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Held him out yesterday just as a precaution. Probably could have been pushing the envelope to go yesterday. He feels good enough to go today and without any restrictions."
Eaton would have gladly pushed the envelope by playing Thursday. In fact, he was practically begging Ventura and head trainer Herm Schneider to be given the green light. But because Eaton plays so hard and with reckless abandon, it was better to play it safe.
For that matter, is it even possible for a guy like Eaton to play it safe? Can he dial back his style of play?
"For some. Not for him," Ventura said. "He just plays hard. It's not a knock, it's a compliment. There's some guys you've got to protect them from themselves and he's one of them."
Eaton singled, stole second and scored in the first inning of Friday's series opener against the Rays.
"You'll notice he's very likely not going to be sliding head-first into first base anymore, so there are some adjustments to his game that I think he's open to making," general manager Rick Hahn said. "But in terms of speed and aggressiveness, that's who he is and that's why we got him and that's why we like him.
"Yes, there's an element of potential risk of injury I suppose with that type of player, but we think the good far outweighs the bad."
Eaton said he'll play with some sort of brace on his knee but that he could probably play without it. Wearing the brace is an order from the training staff, and as he quickly learned, there's no arguing with head athletic trainer Herm Schneider.
"Guys were joking with me, saying if you wanted to be in the lineup you'd be in the lineup," Eaton said. "That's not how it works. You gotta respect Herm, he knows what's best for you and your body. Like I said, [I'm on] Herm's Terms. We stick with those, and he'll point me in the right direction."
Eaton said he'd play at "99 percent" for the next couple of days, just to make sure everything is okay before he tacks on the final 1 percent. Don't worry, that still means he'll make highlight-reel plays.
"I have to play for my pitchers out there, I have to play for Chicago -- [I'm] definitely diving," Eaton said. "You gotta leave it all out there. Ninety-nine percent still includes diving."
White Sox happy with transfer rule clarification
CHICAGO -- Fans, players and coaches collectively rejoiced Friday morning when Major League Baseball announced it had tweaked the confusing and sometimes maddening transfer rule.
MLB adopted a stricter interpretation of the rule at the start of the season, saying fielders needed to completely control the ball through a catch, including transferring the ball from glove to hand, for the play to be considered an out. That interpretation has been changed in favor of the traditional definition.
"An out has occurred whenever a player has complete control over the ball in his glove, and if he drops the ball after opening his glove, it will still be ruled an out. There is no requirement to successfully remove the ball from the glove for it to be an out," MLB's Playing Rules Committee said Friday.
"It was odd to watch and see how many guys were catching balls and then taking five steps and waiting for them to pull it out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It just feels natural the way it is announced today, that they're going back to the same thing.
"There were just too many plays where a fly ball in the outfield and they didn't signal until you could actually see the guy hold it up. It's good."
The Sox experienced the transfer rule first-hand on April 2. Adam Eaton caught an Oswaldo Arcia fly ball to center and dropped the ball on the transfer. The play was originally ruled a catch, but overturned after a review.
Some have criticized baseball for making a rules change during the season, but White Sox general manager Rick Hahn commended the rules committee for acting proactively.
"Certainly in terms of what the rule was and how they're interpreting it, it made sense," Hahn said. "But I think this is probably going to make for a more comfortable, more logical on-field calls and reviews."
• Ventura said the Sox will decide on a starter for Sunday's game on Saturday. That turn in the rotation has been up in the air since Chris Sale was placed on the DL Monday with a flexor strain.
• Conor Gillaspie missed his fourth consecutive game with a sore left hand. Ventura said he gave Gillaspie the additional day of rest to avoid setting his third baseman back. If he's not ready to go for Saturday's game, Ventrua said the White Sox will consider making a move, which could include a trip to the DL.
Gordon Beckham, who was thrust into Thursday's starting lineup after Gillaspie was a late scratch, said his recently-rehabbed left oblique feels good.
"My side feels very solid," Beckham said. I had a lot of games down there. I would say about half of them were getting a lot of soreness out. I would wake up and really not know how it was going to go. Then it would end up going OK. The last four or five, I felt like was pretty close to as 100 percent as I am going to get. I feel good now."
• Marcus Semien has played third in Gillaspie's absence and is second among Major League rookies with 13 RBIs, trailing only teammate Jose Abreu (21).
Semien is the only player in the Major Leagues this season with three or more go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later, according to Stats LLC, including a game-winning grand slam Wednesday at Detroit.
• Adam Dunn needs four home runs to tie Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero (449) for 36th place all-time.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.