Although Cooper has wavered between eight or nine locks on the pitching staff over the past 10 days since camp began, he clearly mentioned nine on Sunday. That number means Addison Reed will join Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Will Ohman as relievers who break camp with the club.
So, three stands as the magic number to complete the bullpen and the pitching staff, when factoring in starting pitchers John Danks, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and Humber. At least two of those remaining spots will be of the long-relief variety, based on Cooper’s criteria.
“We kind of need two — or possibly even three — of those to be guys that can give us some innings,” Cooper said. “The other guys — Reed, Crain, Ohman, Thornton — those are the guys, in a perfect world, to keep to an inning.
“But I’ll stretch it to two. Know those guys will be getting two-inning outings down the line, so those other guys have to give us some innings. But we’re going to be taking guys who can give us innings and get the job done.”
… Through a brief Major League callup last season, the White Sox already have working knowledge of Santiago and his screwball out-pitch. They also know what Zach Stewart and Dylan Axelrod can provide in long relief, as well as in a spot start. That past knowledge is preferred in picking pitchers, as opposed to basing selection on the hitter-friendly environs of Arizona.
“Sometimes, we have some guys who don’t have past records, so we’ll have to make decisions,” Cooper said. “We’ve seen Stewart, Axelrod, Santiago in Chicago. We haven’t seen [Leyson] Septimo and [Jose] Quintana and Donnie Veal and others. They’ll show us what we need to be thinking about.”