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03/20/11 9:28 PM ET

Thornton ready for challenge of closing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Don't look for Matt Thornton to grow any wild facial hair or develop some mean scowl in order to completely move into the White Sox closer's position. His focus is all about consistency, something the hard-throwing left-hander has learned from studying the game's great closers like Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.

"They expect to get the job done and they don't have some major reaction after earning a save," Thornton said. "They go shake their teammates' hands and they do it with minimal pitches. They're making the batters swing the bat and put the ball in play. They're not trying to punch the side out. Every time.

"It's about being efficient. It's the same situation as when I come in in the seventh or eighth inning. You want to be efficient and pitch to contact and take their strikeouts when they get there. It's about keeping the game where it's at."

Even as a strikeout pitcher, Thornton believes this goal of efficiency can be achieved.

"Don't fall behind hitters. That's any time you pitch in a game," Thornton said. "It doesn't matter if it's the third inning or the ninth inning. You have to throw strikes, attack hitters and put the ball in play."

Manager Ozzie Guillen's closer decision came down to Thornton and rookie Chris Sale, with Sale now moving into a setup role. Sale understood the decision and knows chances will come up for him to close during the course of the 2011 campaign.

"If it comes up, I'm just going to go out there and do the best job I can," Sale said. "Not think about it too much no matter when my name is called or what inning. Go out there and pitch to the best of my ability.

"Now that we know Thornton is the guy at the end, our job is to get him the ball. Execute each pitch, get outs whatever inning you're out there."

Roster decisions remain fluid situation

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ozzie Guillen's Opening Day roster plans took a direct hit Sunday morning when starting pitcher Jake Peavy was shut down with rotator cuff tendinitis.

"Right now, we change the plans," said Guillen, following Sunday's 9-7 loss to the Dodgers. "I had an idea last night about the ballclub, but when I got the information today, everything go backwards."

With Peavy previously looking like a strong possibility to break camp with the team, Guillen had toyed with the idea of taking just 11 pitchers. That six-reliever alignment would mean an extra position player spot for either Brent Lillibridge, Lastings Milledge or Alejandro De Aza.

Now, the White Sox probably will need a fifth-starter replacement for Peavy, with Phil Humber, Tony Pena and Jeff Marquez standing as the most likely candidates. They also would be more inclined to take a seventh reliever in order to insulate themselves with that inexperienced fifth rotation position.

In order to get a look at relievers such as Brian Bruney, Jeff Gray and Josh Kinney, this trio was moved to Sunday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers. Matt Thornton, Humber and Pena were moved to Minor League games to get their work.

"At the end of the day, they make the decision for you," Guillen said. "I can be banging my head against the wall right now, but at the end of the day, they tell you who."

Third base appears to be open

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If Brent Morel has been selected as the White Sox starting third baseman, as one media Tweet suggested Sunday morning, then it was news to the rookie.

That starting job does look to be all but official for Morel, considered a defensive whiz along the lines of a young Joe Crede. Ozzie Guillen talked to Mark Teahen on Sunday about getting some starts in right field during the final two weeks of Spring Training, an idea Guillen brought up after Saturday's game in Phoenix.

"It's a story or whatever," said Teahen of the third-base competition. "But I'm preparing to do whatever they ask me to do.

"For me, it doesn't change a whole lot. I want to make sure I'm where I want physically, and with my swing and everything else. Wherever I am in the lineup or on the field, I'll figure it out from there."

Third to first

Josh Kinney had allowed one run in seven Cactus League innings until giving up five runs on five hits in the eighth inning Sunday against the Dodgers. Los Angeles rallied for a 9-7 victory ... Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier earned the victory on Sunday, despite the White Sox scoring four runs on four hits in one inning against him. Both Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham went deep against the one-time Twins hurler.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Being Ozzie Guillen and follow him on twitter at @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.