Despite shoulder issue, Clay Buchholz will start Game 4

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The Red Sox will go with starter Clay Buchholz in Game 4 of the World Series, reports USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale on Twitter. Some were concerned that Buchholz, dealing with tightness in his right shoulder, would have to be skipped in the rotation, but that won’t be the case.

According to Brooks Baseball, Buchholz showed significantly diminished velocity on his fastball in his last start. Buchholz most recently pitched in the final game of the ALCS against the Tigers, going five innings and allowing two runs. In his prior two starts of the 2013 post-season, he allowed eight runs in 11.2 innings, including three home runs.

Buchholz dealt with bursitis in his right shoulder during the regular season, keeping him out for three months between June 9 and September 9. Before the injury, he was having a Cy Young caliber season, going on the disabled list with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts.

White Sox sign Ervin Santana to minors deal

Ervin Santana
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Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.

The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.

Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.