Four left battling for two spots after Sox make cuts

Four left battling for two spots after Sox make cuts
March 22, 2011, 7:42 pm
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted: 2:33 p.m. Updated 4:30 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Prior to Tuesday's game at Seattle, the White Sox made nine roster moves, leaving them 29 players left in major-league camp: 13 pitchers, three catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders.

The White Sox roster cuts narrow competition for two remaining roster spots to just four players: Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge, vying for the team's final bench role, and Phil Humber and Jeffrey Marquez, looking to be the 12th arm in the pen.

Milledge has provided extremes in his Cactus League work--bursts of power that could serve the team well if the 25-year-old is asked to play a bigger role due to injury, but also flashes of the me-first play that's plagued the outfielder through his three prior major-league stops.

Lillibridge has lost most of his leverage as an infielder-outfielder with the likely embrace of Mark Teahen in a similar role. However, Lillibridge is unquestionably team-first, and perhaps more significantly, the speedster is out of options, meaning he would have to clear waivers to be demoted to AAA Charlotte. That's an unlikely development.

The two remaining hitters on the roster will not break camp with the team. Catcher Donny Lucy is merely an extra mask as Chicago slogs through its final week of warmup play, while Dayan Viciedo is recovering from a broken thumb.

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Humber and Marquez have both impressed this spring, with the former packing more major league experience and Marquez a more live arm.

If pitcher Jake Peavy is placed on the DL to begin the season (where he would likely join Viciedo), three of the four players in question could remain with the team. With the roster nearly whittled down completely and plenty of innings left to log, it's a safe bet that at least one of Humber, Marquez, Lillibridge or Milledge will falter, lending credence to manager Ozzie Guillen's belief that "the players are the ones who tell you they should be on the team" through their spring training performance.

Final decisions on the roster aren't likely for another week, Guillen has indicated.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.