Loaiza Just Keeps on Winning

Not many would've predicted that Esteban Loaiza would be 5-0 with a 1.25 ERA and be the best pitcher in the American League on April 28 despite his history of success in April, but on Monday, Loaiza's great start to the season was rewared by him being named the AL Player of the Week.

The 31-year-old Loaiza, who was brought to the White Sox shortly before spring training as an invite, has stormed from possible number five pitcher to clear number one, even with Mark Buehrle and Bartolo Colon in the mix.

In 36 innings and five starts, Loaiza has averaged exactly seven strikeouts and one walk per start, and has given up just 19 hits. In three of his starts, Loaiza has carried two no-hitters into the fifth and one into fourth. Up until his last start on Sunday, Loaiza hasn't given up a hit in the first inning -- that one coming on a questionable infield single by Christian Guzman.

Loaiza was signed to a minor league contract and was guarenteed a one-year $500,000 contract if he made the team, with a team option for $3.5 million in 2004, or a $150,000 buyout.

Before coming to the Sox, Loaiza played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002, where he started 25 games, going 9-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 151 1/3 innings pitched. Loaiza was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Blue Jays half-way through the 2000 season. That was the second time in Loaiza's career he switched teams half-way into the season. The first time came in 1998 when he went from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Rangers.

Loaiza's best season outside of the one he's currently in was in 1997 for the Pirates, where he went 11-11 with a 4.13 ERA in 196 1/3 innings. Loaiza is now 74-73 in his career (including 2003) with a 4.78 ERA.

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