The Sox have kicked around using some variation of a six-man starting rotation when and if Jake Peavy returns, which could be as soon as next week if the right-hander's rehab start for AAA Charlotte on Thursday goes well.
"We talk about it,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "A six-man, we have different ideas. I think we see the good and the bad. We try and figure out the thing that is best for the ballclub. What's best for the pitchers, that's most important.''
Phil Humber's strong performance (2.67 ERA in five starts) as Peavy's stand-in, Peavy's possible need for extra rest and an extra day periodically for a veteran like Mark Buehrle to keep him strong in the second half are reasons why general manager Ken Williams, Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper have all voiced the potential benefits.
"I don't care either way,'' said Buehrle, who in the past has said he prefers staying on four days rest. "Obviously, I'd like to be out there as much as I can and it's a goal of mine to pitch 200 innings. With the extra day of rest, you should be stronger at the end of the year. But with an extra day, sometimes you feel great, sometimes you don't.''
Asked about it Tuesday, Buehrle said he knew the six-man discussion would come up because Humber has "pitched better than anybody'' in the rotation and that the other four starters "should be knocked out before Humber.''
Using six would likely not fall in the form of a straight rotation. It could entail pushing a starter back if he happens to be facing a team that's a bad matchup. That would also mean the starters would be available on occasion for spot duty in the bullpen.
"We still in the air,'' Guillen said. "We have to wait and see. Really, I don't think it's going to change much. Maybe the guy going to have one more day to rest, but we might do it. I like the idea because I think I give more rest to the guys like Buehrle.''
John Danks hadn't heard of the talk until a reporter brought it up. The idea of changing his routine didn't seem like a great idea to him, and while seeing pros and cons, Danks said, "man, it seems like a long time to wait.''
"I'm not the boss,'' Danks said. "But it would take some getting used to. You want all your starts.''