Elbow Room





GLENDALE, ARIZ.—Righthander Jeff Marquez knew something wasn't quite right with his elbow last year.

But he was new to the White Sox and had walked right into a chance to win a big league job, so he wished the problems away.

He tried to, anyway.

But a disappointing spring training was followed by poor performances at Triple-A Charlotte.

When he looked up after 11 starts he was staring at a 9.85 ERA.

Marquez needed help, and got it in the form of surgery to repair bone chips in his elbow.

"I'd feel it sometimes, and then it would go away," Marquez told the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales. "I just came to the conclusion that it was time to get it taken care of and get ready for this year."

A frontrunner for the fifth starter's job when he came from the Yankees in a trade for Nick Swisher, Marquez finds himself far down the list of starter candidates.

That probably doesn't matter anyway as veteran Freddy Garcia has moved into the last vacancy in the rotation. The addition of Garcia will force righthander Dan Hudson and other pitching prospects to adjust to bullpen work in the big leagues or start for Charlotte.

Marquez prefers the former option, but even in the bullpen he would find himself in a crowd behind veteran righthanders Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Scott Linebrink and Tony Pena.

"It's out of your control but you try to make it a tough decision for them," Marquez said.

CHI-LITES

•  Ozzie Guillen was impressed with his first look at converted infielder Sergio Santos as a pitcher. "Sometimes you see the guys making excuses, like 'I'm just learning,' " Guillen said. "This guy goes out like he's been pitching for a while. I remember this guy taking groundballs at shortstop one year and all of a sudden he's opening people's eyes with the way he's pitching. I think this kid has a great arm. You don't throw 95-98 mph just because." Santos, who is out of options, was receiving consideration for a role at the end of the bullpen.

• Hudson believes he can pitch effectively out of the bullpen if he's not needed as a starter. The Sox are more likely to want him to get innings at Charlotte as 2009 was his first full year as a pro. He'd only be seriously considered as a reliever if the veterans faltered.