The White Sox announced this afternoon that they’ve added a pair of experienced arms to their pitching staff for the remainder of the year, selecting the contracts of right-handers Al Alburquerque and Chris Volstad from Triple-A Charlotte. The pair of additions fills Chicago’s 40-man roster.
Alburquerque, 31, is no stranger to the AL Central, having spent the 2011-15 seasons with the Tigers and also having tossed 10 innings for the Royals earlier this season. The hard-throwing righty used a sharp slider to rack up nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings over his first three seasons in the big leagues, but control has long been an issue for Alburquerque. In recent years, his velocity and strikeouts have both dipped, though he averaged 93.8 mph on his heater with the Royals in this season’s limited sample.
Overall, Alburquerque owns a lifetime 3.23 ERA in the Major Leagues through 237 innings. He’s averaged 10.9 K/9 with a 48.4 percent ground-ball rate as a big leaguer, but he’s also averaged 5.1 BB/9 in that time. He pitched well for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate earlier this season and will give a thin White Sox bullpen some experience for the season’s final weeks as he also auditions for a 2018 job (be it with the Sox or with another club should Chicago remove him from the 40-man at season’s end).
As for Volstad, the towering righty will be making his first appearance in the Majors since a two-inning stint with the Pirates in 2015. Volstad, in fact, has thrown just 10 1/3 innings in the Majors since the 2012 season. In the interim, he’s spent a season in the Korea Baseball Organization and pitched in Triple-A with the Rockies, Angels, Pirates and now the White Sox.
The 6’8″ Volstad was once one of baseball’s best pitching prospects during his minor league days with the Marlins. He graduated to Miami’s big league club in 2008 and went on to toss 584 innings out of the Marlins’ rotation through the 2011 campaign, logging a 4.59 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in that time.
Overall, Volstad has a career 4.92 ERA in 705 2/3 Major League innings, during which he’s averaged 5.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 50.1 percent grounder rate. He’s made 18 starts and nine relief appearances for the White Sox’ Triple-A affiliate this year and can serve as a long reliever for manager Rick Renteria or make a start or two down the stretch, if needed.