In a worse-case scenario, all White Sox farmhand John Ely will need to do is simply move his gear to the other end of the Camelback Ranch spring-training complex in Glendale, Ariz., shared by the Sox and Dodgers.
If in the next few days, Homewood's Ely gets the word he's one of the pair of players to be named later for the Dodgers in the Juan Pierre trade, his routine will not be disrupted much. Ely is planning to leave for Phoenix anyway after Jan. 2 to start working out, so he'll simply don a different uniform at Camelback Ranch when minor-league spring drills begin two months later.
Right-hander Ely, one of the top Sox pitching prospects, found out from his agent he was on the short list of potential compensation for the Dodgers as Internet reports claimed he and pitcher John Link would be the players dispatched. Should he depart for Los Angeles, that will end a childhood dream of pitching for the Sox.
"I'd be excited either way, but I grew up a Sox fan," said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Ely, a Homewood-Flossmoor alum who was the Sox's third-round draft pick out of Miami (Ohio) in 2007. "I wanted to pitch for a team I grew up watching."
"Honestly, I was a little surprised," he said of being on the list. "But the Sox have a very solid rotation. The more I thought of it, the more excited I was. There would be plenty of opportunity (as a Dodger)."
Ely, 23, knows the numbers game all too well. Veterans Jake Peavy and Mark Buehrle are locked in for years. John Danks and Gavin Floyd are still on the rise. Freddy Garcia rounds out the rotation, but the likes of Daniel Hudson are ahead of Ely on the depth chart if Garcia falters. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have a greater short-term need for starting pitching.
Ely put himself in a position to be in demand throughout the game with a 14-2 record and 2.82 ERA for Double-A Birmingham last summer. Opposing hitters batted .241 against him. Ely served up just nine homers in 156 1/3 innings.
"To be honest, I have to give a lot of credit to pitching coach J.R. Perdew," he said. "He really helped me get on the right track. I had a little bit of a slide in the middle of my second season (2008), but I got on track. I got too change-up happy.
"I was a lot more accurate (at Birmingham). I did develop a cut fastball to keep hitters off-balance. I kept the ball down. I made smart ‘misses' down, not up in the zone. You have to do that when you don't throw in the upper 90s."