SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The competition for the final spot on the White Sox 25-man roster continues to be hotly contested.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn wouldn’t rule out an external solution when asked about his roster on Monday. But Hahn also said he’s satisfied with the club’s internal options.
With Opening Day a week away, the White Sox still have Jerry Sands, Travis Ishikawa, Carlos Sanchez, who homered twice in Monday’s 11-7 win at the Colorado Rockies, and Matt Davidson, who also homered, among those in the battle for the final spot.
“We're likely going to continue to have conversations with other clubs through the weekend,” Hahn said in an email. “However, we feel strongly enough about the group we currently have in camp that the more likely scenario is that the initial 25-man roster comes from our current pool.”
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The White Sox could go in any number of directions with the 25th spot.
— They could turn to Sands — who is out of options — if they prefer a power bat off the bench capable of raking against left-handed pitchers.
— If they desire more flexibility on the infield, Sanchez, who is hitting .333 with six RBIs, could be the answer.
— Ishikawa is the club’s best defensive first baseman and hits left-handed, thus filling two big needs. He’s hitting .289 with seven RBIs.
— Davidson also provides a big power bat and has been the surprise of spring, leading the team with five homers. He also has nine RBIs.
— Or, if the White Sox, who open with eight straight games, feel they need to insulate their pitching staff, they could bring a long man with them and start with a 13-man pitching staff.
There’s also the possibility the White Sox go outside the organization to seek a left-handed bat. With the retirement of Adam LaRoche, the White Sox appear to be short-handed in that department.
They’re not in need of a full-time option, either.
With the way the roster is currently constructed, the White Sox plan to rotate three of their four outfielders through the designated hitter spot. While they could use someone to hit right-handers, it doesn’t need to be a player who would require 500 plate appearances.
That could lead Hahn to search for a trade or perhaps try to sign David Murphy, who opted out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox and was released on Monday.
Or they could keep Ishikawa.
“You’re looking at a guy (Ishikawa) that can play first base and a little outfield and can swing it from the left side,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “The more looks we really get at him, it’s a better understanding of where he’s at and what we need. It’s definitely not a set thing right now where we’re at. He keeps making it more difficult to make a decision one way or another.”