GLENDALE, Ariz. — Don Cooper rarely puts too much stock in the first day, but he really liked the performances of Matt Lindstrom and Mitchell Boggs on Sunday.
The White Sox pitching coach complimented the two relievers after he watched their opening bullpen sessions on the second day of camp. Cooper also confirmed that pitcher Felipe Paulino, who is projected to be a starting pitcher, is pitching without restriction. Paulino has had two surgeries in the last 22 months, including a procedure on his shoulder in September.
But it was Lindstrom, one of several pitchers competing for the closer’s job, who impressed Cooper enough to where he overlooked his own rule of thumb about first day efforts.
“Lindstrom today, holy (strawberry shortcake), the ball out of his hand, it’s got some life to it,” Cooper said. “Boggsy, the first time I’m actually seeing him close. Hey, I see what he’s doing here. I kind of like it. Oh, knuckle curve.”
Cooper identified Lindstrom, Nate Jones and Daniel Webb as the three likeliest candidates to succeed Addison Reed as the team’s closer. After a rough 2013 season, Boggs was signed last week for $1.1 million and could be a vital part of the bullpen if he bounces back.
Paulino was off to a 3-1 start with a 1.37 ERA in seven starts in 2012 before he had surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament. He rehabbed in 2013 before he needed arthroscopic surgery in September on his shoulder.