April 6, 2012
Robin Ventura hasn’t named a closer, although that may just be a formality — it looks like the White Sox manager will use multiple pitchers in the ninth inning based on matchups:
Given the Sox don’t have anyone with extensive closer experience at the MLB level, this is a refreshing strategy. It’ll allow Ventura to ease Addison Reed into save situations by using him in low or medium-leverage save spots (like a two or three-run lead). And it’ll allow Ventura to pick and choose when to use Matt Thornton, hopefully in the highest-leverage situation (be it the seventh, eighth or ninth inning).
UPDATE: Scott Merkin:
On Thursday’s workout day, pitching coach Don Cooper said there would be no closer by committee. But before Friday’s setback, Ventura said that matchups could determine who actually pitches the ninth.
“At some point, it’s not going to be the same guy all the time,” Ventura said. “And not necessarily you think ahead as a bullpen committee, but a guy coming in the ninth, it will end up being different at some points of the season. Yeah, depending on how guys do versus certain teams and matchups. If we had Mariano Rivera, I’d be able to tell everyone I have a closer.”
That’s awesome! I love it!
The White Sox literally went back to the future prior to Friday’s season opener in Texas by agreeing to a Minor League deal with right-hander Kip Wells.
Yes, it’s the same Wells who was the team’s 16th pick overall in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft and the same right-handed hurler who posted a 20-21 record and 5.14 ERA over three years with the White Sox. Wells has not pitched since 2009 with the Reds but impressed White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper with a bullpen session this week in Houston.
According to Buddy Bell, who is the White Sox vice president, player development and special assignments, Wells will be stretched out at extended Spring Training to be used as a starter.
“Coop worked him out in Houston and he said he was throwing better than most of the guys we had,” said Bell of Wells, who has had no Spring Training. “So we’ll see.”
He “will be stretched out at extended Spring Training to be used as a starter”? Oh boy…
Other White Sox links:
- J.J. previews the outfield, and the bullpen. And together with Toni Andracki publishes the 2012 All-Chicago team.
- James previews the AL Central race, and explains the White Sox’ advantage as the start of 2012.
- Fangraphs’ Marc Hulet says there are dark clouds over the South Side..
- MLBTR reviews the White Sox offseason.
- FutureSox posts the previews for the Sox minor league teams (rookie ball starts after June’s draft): Charlotte Knights (AAA), Birmingham Barons (AA), Winston-Salem Dash (A+), Kannapolis Intimidators (A). Baseball America previews the Sox minor league system too.