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Chicago White Sox Spring Training Preview: Bullpen

We started with taking a look at the rotation, now we look to the relievers that hopefully will hold countless leads for the Chicago White Sox.  There will be a few pitchers that are trying for both rotation and bullpen spots.  The rotation is pretty much filled with John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Phil Humber, but someone could have an outstanding spring and fight Humber for the last spot.

Let’s begin with looking at the pitchers who will definitely be heading to Texas for opening day.  Both setup men, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain will return with a chance at closing just like last season.  Will Ohman moves to the second lefty spot that was left open by Chris Sale.  Maybe the most intriguing name coming into this season for the Chicago White Sox is Addison Reed.  He will not be rushed into the closer’s role according to Don Cooper, but mark my words, by the All Star break this season, Reed will be the closer.  Addison is the whole reason that Kenny Williams traded Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays.  The last person who will almost certainly be in the bullpen will be Zach Stewart as the long reliever/spot starter.  Kenny Williams and Don Cooper believe that this kid has what it takes to be a starter for the White Sox, but right now there just isn’t room in the rotation.  If Humber struggles or an injury happens, then Stewart will most likely be the first pitcher up.

That would leave two spots open assuming manager Robin Ventura decides to bring 12 pitchers to Texas for opening day.  If there is one thing the Chicago White Sox farm system does have, it is relief pitchers.  Most likely one lefty and one righty will be added to the 25 man roster for the first regular season game.

The lefties that would be vying for the open roster spot would be, Eric Stults, Leyson Septimo, Jose Quintana, Donnie Veal, Scott Olsen, whom the White Sox picked up as a free agents before last season.  Also, Charlie Leesman and Hector Santiago are both products of the Chicago White Sox farm system.  My front runners as of right now would be Stults and Santiago.

The righties that would be challenging for a middle reliever spot would be Brian Bruney, who was already a former Chicago White Sox reliever.  In addition to Bruney would be guys like Nathan Jones, Anthony Carter, Deunte Heath and Gregory Infante will try to get the last spot and stick in the majors.  In addition, newcomer Jhan Marinez, who was acquired as part of the Ozzie Guillen trade to the Marlins, has MLB innings pitched with the Marlins.  My guess is that either Bruney or Marinez will be the one that heads to Texas for opening day.

Losing Chris Sale is the biggest loss to this bullpen, but at least he is moving to the rotation and not to another team.  The Chicago White Sox did have two major league relievers traded this offseason, ironically to the same team in separate deals.  First, Kenny Williams traded Sergio Santos for top prospect starting pitcher Nestor Molina.  Secondly, Williams traded Jason Frasor, who he just acquired along with Zach Stewart for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, for two lower level prospects.  The bullpen overall is still pretty solid and if some of these younger relievers can step up, then this should be a strong point of this 2012 Chicago White Sox team.