White Sox might not name closer until late March

White Sox might not name closer until late March
January 26, 2014, 4:15 pm
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(AP Images)

The White Sox have identified several pitchers to become their next closer, but might not name one until the season begins.

With Addison Reed traded, the White Sox have yet to anoint a pitcher to take over in the ninth inning. Less than three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to camp, the strongest candidates to replace Reed are Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom and rookie Daniel Webb. Jones would appear to be the favorite to close in 2014, but same as they did with Hector Santiago in 2012, the White Sox have no plans to name anyone for the foreseeable future.

“Why should we bother giving (opponents) a week to prepare?” manager Robin Ventura said at SoxFest on Sunday.

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Pitching coach Don Cooper listed Jones, Lindstrom and Webb as his three top choices. When describing Webb, who had a 3.18 ERA in nine appearances in 2013, Cooper said there’s something about Webb he likes.

The White Sox believe one of the three pitchers will separate himself from the pack in spring training. But they’re not worried if the development takes some time as it did in 2012, when Reed moved into the role a month into the season. Perceived to be not ready at the time the club broke camp, Reed went on to record 69 saves over parts of two seasons.

“They will show us who is throwing the ball great and who gives us the best chance to close the game out,” Cooper said. “It could emerge. The good thing is I think we have some real good guys. ... If you remember, we didn’t name the closer until Opening Day at Texas, and you saw what we did.”