Perhaps all Scott Carroll needed to cure his troubles as a starting pitcher was a stint in the White Sox's bullpen.
The Chicago rookie will again try to prove he belongs in the rotation when he takes the mound in Thursday's series opener in Toronto.
"I'm just ready for the opportunity again," said Carroll, who developed a cut fastball while in the bullpen.
Carroll, a former backup quarterback at Purdue University, began the season as a starter but moved to the bullpen after just five starts. In that rotation stretch, the 29-year-old was 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA.
But since he became a reliever, Carroll has been practically unhittable. He's carried a 1.83 ERA in 19 2/3 innings of relief. Opponents are batting just .224 off him since the switch.
"I didn't look at it as a demotion at all," Carroll said. "I looked at it as an opportunity to help the team win out of the bullpen. I feel like there's a lot of good arms we have out in the bullpen, and I was given an opportunity to come in and eat up innings."
Carroll's counterpart Thursday, Toronto southpaw J.A. Happ, has had a disturbing trend lately of short outings. In three of his last 10 starts, he didn't make it beyond the fourth inning.
His last time out, against Cincinnati, Happ walked the bases loaded in the first inning and eventually surrendered seven earned runs.
"The walks, that's terrible," Happ said afterward. "That's obviously frustrating, but you look at the game, you watch the game, this game is crazy. A couple of balls, a couple of feet either way, and it could have been a different story.
"But it wasn't, and that was the way it ended up. Of course I'm not happy about that, and I need to do better."
White Sox: Derby 'not a priority' for rookie slugger Abreu
If American League Home Run Derby captain and Blue Jay Jose Bautista takes the weekend series as an opportunity to lure Jose Abreu into competing, Bautista might come away disappointed.
"I change my whole mental approach when I go there," Abreu said through a translator. "It messes with my mind. I never go to the plate trying to hit home runs. It's something that I'm blessed with, and it happens, but I never go trying to hit home runs, so I feel like when I have gone to these things, it has been not beneficial to me afterward."
Abreu participated in a number of derby contests in Cuba, which is where he learned of their sometimes-adverse effects.
Regardless of whether he makes the All-Star team -- Abreu trailed Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera by about 800,000 votes as of Monday's update -- he'd likely be a trendy choice to participate in the Derby.
"Right now, it's not a priority for me," Abreu said. "My priority is to play for the team. If this is something that I have to do, I'll do it, but that's something that is not a priority in my mind right now."
Blue Jays: Club hopes to avoid DL stint for Bautista
Bautista has been held out of the starting lineup for three consecutive games leading up to Thursday's series opener with the White Sox. He suffered a mild strain of his left hamstring earlier in the week.
Toronto doesn't expect the injury will require Bautista to land on the disabled list, and he might return in time for this weekend's series.
"He's getting better, he feels better," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We want to make good and sure he's ready to go. ... He's making progress."
Bautista has 15 homers and is batting .305, with an AL-leading .433 on-base percentage.
• The four-game set in Toronto will begin the regular-season series between the White Sox and Blue Jays. Chicago took last season's regular-season series, 4-3.
• Chicago outfielder Adam Eaton extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games Wednesday night. He has also reached safely in 20 consecutive games.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.