Ventura was asked about a few key matters during an interview session with White Sox beat reporters on Thursday and came up with a few pre-Spring Training solutions. The White Sox starting rotation, which looks to be one of its strongest suits, seems all but set with John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. According to Ventura, Philip Humber has the advantage at No. 5 over any of the young newcomers such as Nestor Molina or returnees such as Zach Stewart or Dylan Axelrod.”Phil would be that leader heading into the clubhouse,” Ventura said of Humber, whose breakout 2011 effort resulted in a 9-9 record and 3.75 ERA. “I don’t see anything changing with that at this point. We will see during Spring Training, but I’m confident in Phil in doing that No. 5 position.”Humber posted an 8-5 record with a 3.10 ERA and .218 opponents average against in the first half, but had a 1-4 mark, 5.01 ERA and .287 average against after the All-Star break.
Reliever Matt Thornton‘s season was slightly reversed, as the left-hander posted a 2.45 ERA over 52 games after May 1 following an 8.64 ERA in April. Thornton also had blown saves in his first four chances, although he didn’t have the best of luck behind him. Even with that slow start, Ventura tabbed Thornton on Thursday as his leading 2012 closer candidate over rookie Addison Reed and Jesse Crain. “I’m leaning on Matt doing that,” Ventura said. “I don’t think those type of things are concrete. I would like to see him do that, but we’ll see how that goes in Spring Training with him and how he feels.”
In Ventura’s estimation, the team doesn’t have a true utility infielder at this point. Brent Lillibridge earned high praise from Ventura for his versatility and talent, but he wasn’t identified as a possible backup shortstop. Ventura said that Alex Rios could see time in both left field and center field, and as of now, Alejandro De Aza looks to be the leadoff man. Of course, it’s just late January and things could change by the end of Cactus League action. “Gordon [Beckham] could probably do it depending on how he feels about that and how he looks in Spring Training, as far as getting on base,” Ventura said of the leadoff slot. “He has more power than normal leadoff guys, but he’s one of them.”
January 26, 2012
Robin Ventura talks about the 2012 Sox
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