04/02/05 5:15 PM ET
Notes: Roster finalized as spring closes
RHP Walker final cut; Ozuna, Widger added to 25-man
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
Following their Saturday exhibition finale against Milwaukee, Chicago made a flurry of expected roster moves to complete their Opening Day roster, purchasing the contracts of Pablo Ozuna and Chris Widger, optioning left-hander Kevin Walker to Triple-A Charlotte and placing Frank Thomas on the disabled list.
Thomas, still undergoing rehabilitation for his left ankle surgery in October, was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 25.
"My team is prepared to play without Frank on this team," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now, can we play without him? I don't know, but we did it for the last three months last year and a month and a half of Spring Training, and I think we did a pretty good job."
Thomas played in 74 games last year, and Guillen said the slugger would not return until he was feeling no ill effects.
"This is not Spring Training, not mini-camp, this is not a rehab session," Guillen said. "This is baseball and we're here to win games, and when Frank is 100 percent ready to go, he'll be here. If he's not 100 percent, he's not going to be in my lineup. I want to make it clear."
Ozuna delivered a torrid spring, including a single during his only at-bat in the preseason's final game on Saturday. His .527 spring average (29-for-55) gave him the highest Spring Training average by a White Sox player since 1969 (minimum 40 plate appearances). Ozuna's mark easily eclipsed the .481 established by Paul Konerko in 2002.
Walker figured to be the odd man out on a pitching staff that now includes 11.Monday's lineup is expected to be the following: Scott Podsednik (CF), Tadahito Iguchi (2B), Carl Everett (DH), Konerko (1B), Jermaine Dye (RF), A.J. Pierzynski (C), Aaron Rowand (CF), Joe Crede (3B) and Juan Uribe (SS).
Knight moves:Catcher Ben Davis was officially outrighted to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and will begin the season in the International League. The 28-year-old hit .231 and drove in 16 in 54 games with the White Sox a year ago, and he will keep his $1.4 million salary by sticking around.
"That was our toughest call," Guillen said of the decision to keep the veteran Widger instead. "I'm not saying Ben Davis can't play in the big leagues, I'm saying the way we were going to use Ben Davis, it's not going to be fair for him to be on this team because we're not going to use him that much. If he's playing every other week, that's not fair for him. The way we were going to use him wasn't going to help us or help himself."
Viz a Viz: Friday marked a return to his old stomping grounds for Luis Vizcaino, and a performance that was atypical of his previous Spring Training numbers.
The former Brewers right-hander, who came to Chicago in the offseason trade that moved Carlos Lee 90 miles north, allowed two runs in an inning of work. He also provided a moment of trepidation, missing a sign on a pitchout and throwing a ball over the plate in the seventh inning while facing Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, forcing Widger to make a lunging stab back across the plate.
Vizcaino entered Friday's contest with a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings of work, including 10 strikeouts and no walks. Though he allowed his first Spring Training free pass and his ERA ballooned to 4.09, Guillen said he was still impressed with the reliever.
"He threw the ball unbelievable in camp," Guillen said. "We needed the bullpen to get stronger and we needed a leadoff guy, it was a great trade for both sides."
Spring things: Rowand's 24 spring RBIs and Everett's 22 rank among the five best Sox spring outputs since 1969. ... Everett's six home runs are also the second most by a White Sox player in the last 11 spring seasons.
Let the games begin: Opening Day baseball visits the Windy City when the Cleveland Indians come to U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. Mark Buehrle and Jake Westbrook will wage battle on the mound, with first pitch slated for 2:05 p.m. CT. Freddy Garcia will face off with Kevin Millwood in Game 2 on Wednesday (1:05 p.m. CT) and Jose Contreras meets Cliff Lee on Thursday (1:05 p.m. CT).
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.