GLENDALE, Ariz. — J.B. Shuck is on the team and the White Sox intend to carry 12 pitchers.
Manager Robin Ventura made those announcements Tuesday shortly after the team sent five players, including Matt Davidson and Carlos Sanchez, to minor-league camp.
With Opening Day right around the corner, the White Sox have but one decision to make before the season gets underway. All that’s really left to decide is whether to take Jerry Sands, Travis Ishikawa or perhaps a player from outside as the 25th man. But the White Sox seem likely to take several more days to make up their minds.
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“It’s not an easy, clear cut, we’re going to take this guy (decision),” Ventura said. “There’s still some stuff to be looked over, but we’ll get through it before we get to Oakland.”
Shuck has been on the roster the entire way, even after the White Sox signed Austin Jackson earlier this month. The White Sox love that Shuck is accepting of his reserve role, that he plays all three positions and plays with energy. Shuck had an .820 OPS off the bench last season and general manager Rick Hahn said three weeks ago there was still room on the roster for the Ohio-product after Jackson’s signing.
“He brings a lot of different things,” Ventura said. “He’s versatile and he could move around, he can play all three outfield positions, first base in a pinch if you need to. And he wants to pitch, but he won’t.”
There had been some thought the White Sox would take an extra pitcher when they head to California on Friday. Mat Latos has yet to complete five innings in a single start with only one more turn to go. The team also opens the season with eight straight games and then plays 19 straight from April 13-May 1. But Ventura confirmed a 12-man pitching staff and said it’s why the team has recently stretched out several of its relievers. Hahn said the team would adjust on the fly if needed.
“It’s important we have multiple guys who can give us some length if the need arises,” Hahn said. “We want to break camp with the right 25 guys. But at the same time, there are going to be roster moves over the course of the season.
“We may well have to make some alterations based on how the team is playing or what the needs are or how taxed the bullpen is at that point. We feel we have some options in house if we need to make some switches on the fly.”