When they signed him in January the White Sox believed Matt Lindstrom’s sinker would make him a good fit for the bullpen and they still do.
Citing his durability, leadership and ability to limit the long ball at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox retained Lindstrom for the 2014 season on Thursday morning when they exercised the $4 million club option for on his contract.
Lindstrom went 2-4 with a 3.12 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings for the White Sox last season.
“The veteran element of it is important but more important is how well he performs and his durability and his fit for our ballpark,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He obviously excelled at keeping the ball on the ground, which helps anyone survive in that ballpark.”
Just as they believed he would be, Lindstrom was a ground-ball machine for the White Sox in 2013. The right-hander finished second in the AL with 15 double plays induced.
But of equal importance to the White Sox is the way Lindstrom answered every time he was asked to pitch. His 76 relief appearances qualified for the third highest total in the American League and is the most by a White Sox reliever since Kelly Wunsch’s 83 in 2000.
The White Sox believe his durability will be a key influence on what is expected to be a young bullpen in 2014 after veterans Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain were traded in July.
“He has the ability to bounce back,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s turned himself into kind of that seventh-eighth inning guy but he’s also a veteran. We are pretty young in a lot of areas. Leadership-wise with him being out in the bullpen, the durability and a ground-ball guy especially in our park becomes a very valuable piece to the bullpen.”