Omogrosso Completes Comeback In Chicago





CHICAGO After enduring his share of peaks and valleys, no hill felt bigger and better to Brian Omogrosso than the U.S. Cellular Field mound while in the thick of an American League Central race.

After coping with right shoulder injuries and even being taken off the 40-man roster as recently as last season, Omogrosso has rebounded quickly and impressively to help the White Sox in the midst of a playoff stretch drive. The Sox appear to have more confidence in Omogrosso now than they did in late June, when he made five appearances during a 23-day stint in late June and early July.

"I just feel a lot more comfortable," said Omogrosso, who possesses a fastball clocked as high as 99 mph in June. "I was able to get my feet wet in June and July, but now I feel like I'm one of the guys. When my number is called, I'll do what I can to help the team."

Omogrosso's fastball that helped him earn 59 strikeouts in 47 innings at Triple-A Charlotte overshadowed his 4.56 ERA in 33 games with the Knights, and his willingness to learn has impressed the Sox's veteran relievers.

"There are guys like Omogrosso who ask us questions about pitches in certain sequences," reliever Jesse Crain said. "Not really about the hitters, but how we throw certain pitches or what we think about what we throw certain hitters."

Omogrosso, 28, is finally living up to his billing as a sixth-round pick in 2006 out of Indiana State. He went 7-2, 4.19 in 13 starts at Double-A Birmingham in 2009 but suffered right shoulder inflammation and missed the final two months shortly after being promoted to Charlotte.

Omogrosso pitched in only five games the following year after recovering from a right rotator cuff strain, and he was taken off the 40-man roster in 2011. He credits Charlotte pitching coach Richard Dotson with polishing his mechanics and improving his velocity.

Chi-lites

• First baseman Keon Barnum, the Sox's second pick in the June amateur draft, was scheduled to report to instructional league in Arizona after being shut down in mid-August because of a shoulder injury.

• Outfielder Kent Gerst, an eighth-round pick in 2006 who played four minor league seasons with the Sox before receiving his release, was found dead Sept. 9 in a creek near his St. Louis-area home.