01/19/11 5:17 PM EST
White Sox invite 14 non-roster players to camp
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
There appears to be an opening for a pitcher or two, with those particular job descriptions depending on Jake Peavy's continued rehab from a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right posterior shoulder and how the White Sox decide to use rookie Chris Sale. There's also a spot available for an outfielder off the bench, working with fellow talent in reserve such as Omar Vizquel, Ramon Castro and Mark Teahen, and competing with Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge.
And viable candidates for those positions certainly could come from the list of 14 non-roster Spring Training invites the White Sox announced on Wednesday. Eight of those players came through Minor League contracts, while six players received non-roster invites from within the White Sox system.
Jordan Danks, the younger brother of White Sox starting pitcher John Danks, is one of those individuals with an opportunity to break camp with the team. Jordan, 24, struggled with injuries and with 151 strikeouts over 445 at-bats last season for Triple-A Charlotte, finishing with a .245 average. If the White Sox are looking for a strong defensive presence, maybe the top defensive outfielder in the entire organization, and some late-inning speed, then Danks could emerge as the option.
"He's really progressing," said John Danks of Jordan, who also got married during the offseason. "He had a tough year battling injuries and struggled at Triple-A, but a lot of guys struggle in their first year at Triple-A. He is not that far off and has plenty of talent to play."
Right-handed pitchers Kyle Bellamy and Brandon Hynick, left-handed hurler Charlie Leesman, outfielder Brandon Short and catcher Josh Phegley join Jordan Danks as the non-roster invites from within the organization. Leesman earned praise from both manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper as a non-roster invite for Spring Training '10 and finished with a 14-6 record in 28 starts made between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
Leesman could become a spot-starting option for Peavy if he's not completely ready to open the 2011 regular season and if Sale remains in the bullpen. Bellamy, 23, posted a 7-2 record with a 3.12 ERA, five saves and 84 strikeouts in 55 games between Class A Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham in 2010. He was the team's fifth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Phegley, who turns 23 one week before the start of Spring Training, is battling his way back from a condition called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, which basically hampered Phegley's 2010 campaign from the outset. That condition brought Phegley's platelet count to a dangerous low level, especially dangerous for the high-impact position Phegley plays. But the White Sox are very high on Phegley's raw ability, and he could be in line to take over for A.J. Pierzynski in three years.
"I told [Minor League director] Buddy Bell I was drafted to help the White Sox in any way possible," Phegley said. "So, if it's not my turn, I'll play at any level they want me to play and help that pitching staff.
"My job is to build relationships with pitchers in the Minors, the White Sox pitchers of the future. I want to establish those relationships, learn as much as we can and move up."
Brian Bruney, Jeff Gray, Josh Kinney, Shane Lindsay and Miguel Socolovich make up the pitchers who agreed to Minor League deals with the White Sox. Catchers Donny Lucy and Jared Price also are on that list, along with power-packed infielder Dallas McPherson.
Bruney, Gray, Kinney and Lindsay will compete with Gregory Infante, Lucas Harrell and Anthony Carter for the White Sox final bullpen slots. Five of these 14 Spring Training invitees have Major League experience.
White Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Thursday, Feb. 17, with physicals and a workout scheduled for the same day. Position players will report and undergo physicals on Tuesday, Feb. 22. The first full-squad workout also will take place at that time.