The White Sox made a deal with the Tigers that superficially looked unimportant when they swapped Don McMahon, veteran relief hurler, for Dennis Ribant, a second-line pitcher used very little by Detroit manager Mayo Smith. Of course, it isn’t trivial to the Tigers, who beefed up their bullpen with an experienced hand. And neither is it trivial to the White Sox, but for far different reasons.
From the White Sox angle, the motivation that led them into the transaction makes it a serious matter indeed, because it reflects the fact that White Sox officials are getting very worried about the future career of Gary Peters. Gary, one of the American League’s finest southpaws in recent years, is only 5-10 this season. He just hasn’t been physically sound since the first couple of weeks of the campaign. “We made the deal because we simply don’t know about Gary’s condition,” frankly confessed General Manager Ed Short. “Peters could be ready to pitch within a few days and then again he might be out for the year. There’s just no way of telling.” Gary’s difficulties began with a pulled groin muscle on the left side and now he’s suffering from a nerve injury in his left elbow.
In the way of age, the White Sox got a big edge in the McMahon-Ribant deal. Don is 38 and Ribant is only 26. In Ribant, the White Sox have a pitcher who can fill in as a starter, in case Peters will not be available, or he can serve in the bullpen. The righthanded Ribant was used primarily as a reliever by the Tigers and had a 2-0 mark and an earned-run average of 1.80 in only 13 appearances. McMahon was 0-6 with the White Sox, but Smith obviously feels that McMahon can do a more reliable job of relieving than Ribant.