White Sox

Updating the White Sox closer competition

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Updating the White Sox closer competition

Heading into the spring, it seemed like the general consensus around the White Sox was that Matt Thornton would begin 2012 as the team's closer with Addison Reed ultimately sliding in the role at some point during the season.

Through three weeks of spring training action, Thornton hasn't done anything to warrant a move away from the ninth inning. In 4 23 innings, he's allowed one run with three strikeouts and no walks. Yes, it's spring, but he hasn't given the White Sox any reason to not name him the closer on Opening Day.

Jesse Crain's oblique injury has eliminated him from any consideration for the gig, although he was a longshot given he's the only dependable right-handed setup man on the roster.

Robin Ventura has said he'd rather ease Addison Reed into high-pressure situations, so throwing him into the ninth-inning role doesn't appear likely to begin the season.

But here's the interesting wrinkle: Will Ohman and Hector Santiago, reportedly, have joined the fray.

Ohman is a longshot given his career leftyrighty splits -- even with the changeup he's worked on this year, he doesn't have a reliable track record to get righties out in addition to lefties.

But Santiago has a good fastball and a screwball, both of which may play well against righties. He's been impressive this spring, striking out nine with four walks and one run allowed -- a solo home run -- in eight innings pitched. He earned the save Sunday against San Francisco, and while that probably doesn't mean much, it's at least worth noting in light of the recent closer developments.

The question for the White Sox boils down to whether or not Thornton is more valuable in the ninth inning as opposed to the seventh or eighth. In a perfect world, Thornton would be used based on the pressure of the situation -- if there's a high-pressure spot in the eighth, he'd enter the game then to get the more important outs.

Things don't work that way, though, and there probably is something to be said for a defined bullpen role. If the White Sox view whoever opens the 2012 season as the closer as a bridge to Reed, though, perhaps giving Santiago a shot isn't the worst idea ever. If he struggles, it'd be easy to swap him out for Reed. If he succeeds, it'd give Reed some time to acclimate to high-leverage spots in the majors.

Ventura's decision is hardly a foregone conclusion. With less than two weeks left in spring training, it's one that'll probably come down to the wire.

Luis Robert hits comical home run off former big league catcher as part of two-home run game

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USA TODAY

Luis Robert hits comical home run off former big league catcher as part of two-home run game

Luis Robert has accomplished many things this season. Now he can say he took a 13-year big league vet deep.

OK, so that vet was Dioner Navarro, a catcher by trade who pitched the eighth inning in a lopsided Triple-A Charlotte win.

Robert hit two home runs in Charlotte’s 8-2 win against Columbus on Sunday. The Knights hit five home runs in the game and were up big entering the eighth inning so Navarro came in to pitch.

Robert promptly took him DEEP.


Navarro was lobbing in 72 mph pitches and was getting hit hard by every batter. He was throwing batting practice.

The best part about Robert’s bomb is Navarro’s quick head-snap after delivering the pitch and seeing Robert hit it a long way.

Throw in Robert’s home run earlier in the game and the 22-year-old outfielder is up to 11 home runs in 33 games in Triple-A. He has 27 homers on the season between three levels of the minors.


 

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Yoan Moncada goes to Carolina Panthers preseason game: 'Don't understand anything'

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada goes to Carolina Panthers preseason game: 'Don't understand anything'

Yoan Moncada just started his rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte and it didn’t take him long to enjoy a night in Charlotte.

The Knights had a home day game on Friday. Moncada went 1-for-5 in his first game action since suffering a hamstring strain on July 30.

With the Knights game ending in the afternoon, Moncada had the freedom to go to the Carolina Panthers preseason game at night.


The Panthers lost 27-14 to the Bills, but a peak at Moncada’s Instagram story from the day showed he may not have really understood what was going on.


The 24-year-old Cuban was decked out in a Panthers jersey. He still may be learning football though.

 

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