‘I’m all for it’: Aaron Bummer expands his role for the Chicago White, throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen

22 July 2023

Aaron Bummer entered with two on and two out in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics on July 2.

The Chicago White Sox led by three, trying to salvage the finale of the three-game series at Oakland Coliseum.

The left-hander got Tony Kemp to ground out to second baseman Zach Remillard to end the threat.

Bummer returned for the fifth, giving up a single and an RBI double before retiring the next three batters. He went back out to the mound for the sixth and had a 1-2-3 inning.

The 2 1/3 innings in the 8-7 victory set a career high for Bummer. It was his first time pitching two innings since 2019.

“It doesn’t really matter what inning, what kind of role, you’ve just got to go out there and do your job,” Bummer told the Tribune earlier this week in New York. “A lot of the guys are throwing the ball really well and (if) I put myself in a position to go out there as long as I can go out there and provide value by giving two innings or something like that, I’m all for it.

“The more innings I throw, the more chances I get, hopefully that means we right the ship.”

Bummer went two innings again in Sunday’s 8-1 victory against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park, retiring the side in order in the seventh and eighth.

He came within an out of another two-inning outing in Thursday’s 6-2 win against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

“It’s one of those things you don’t really know what you’ve got until you push the limits a little bit,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said this week. “He’s always been really a one-inning guy. And we’ve pushed the limits by necessity. And we found out there’s some more in the tank. … Extremely efficient.

“We’ll continue to do that. He might be a one-inning guy tonight. He might not pitch tonight and pitch two tomorrow. I don’t know. Now it’s an option. Now he becomes a versatile Aaron Bummer instead of just a one-inning guy.”

Bummer’s longest relief appearance in 2022 was 1 2/3 innings, which he did once — April 28 against Kansas City. Entering this season, he had gone two innings 13 times in his career. The most recent was Sept. 28, 2019, against the Detroit Tigers.

He has pitched at least 1 1/3 inning seven times this season.

“Everybody has a different role in the bullpen,” Bummer said. “It’s one thing I did that in the past, probably a handful years ago. And it’s just where we’re at now. I’m going to go out there as much as possible and if they want to run me out there for three innings, four innings, at this point I don’t care.

“The more I get out there, the more chances I’m going to have to right my ship. That’s the goal at this point in the season — find a way to get the best out of myself that I can and find a way to do that day in and day out.”

Bummer has a 7.02 ERA in 38 appearances. But he has retired 14 of the last 17 batters faced during his three most recent outings.

“This guy’s throwing the ball really well,” Grifol said. “He’s become extremely versatile going multiple innings.”

Bummer said when he’s going well, he has been able to execute pitches.

“I’m really doing my job when I’m getting groundballs and striking people out,” he said. “That’s one of the things that come in hand, if you look at the good outings I’ve had. … The bad outings I’ve had, I’m walking somebody or giving up hard contact here and there and not (being) able to do what I do best, which is getting back to the basics and executing pitches and trusting the stuff that I have to go out there and get as many outs as possible.

“I’m thankful for the opportunities to go and get as many outs as I can.”

Andrew Vaughn out again

Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn did not start for the third straight game as he recovers from a bone bruise in his left foot. X-rays taken Thursday were negative. He’s day to day.

“(He’s) better, but not good enough to play today,” Grifol said before Friday’s game against the first-place Minnesota Twins at Target Field. “It’s … it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Vaughn suffered the injury fouling a ball off his foot in Tuesday’s game against the Mets.


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