02/13/2013 5:10 PM ET
Mitchell beginning to make big league push
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The fact that Jared Mitchell's Spring Training jersey number changed from 82 to 29 in the past two years is one indication the organization's top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft is getting closer to the big leagues.
His work with the bat in the last instructional league session is more tangible evidence, although Mitchell is not likely to break camp with the team as an extra outfielder.
"Whenever the organization feels I'm needed, I'm ready to go," Mitchell said. "However I can help that team or any team, I want to win. That's all that matters to me. At the end of the day, we all want to win. That's what it's all about."
"Stranger things have happened, but I don't see us taking him come the end of spring," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, who agreed with Mitchell in that simple repetition at the plate has helped him improve. "Instead, he'll be playing on an everyday basis at [Triple-A] Charlotte, pushing us to hopefully bring him up based on his performance as the season goes on."
Lack of veteran backup catcher not an issue
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Between Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez, the White Sox have a combined 119 career games played behind the plate and 293 total at-bats. But general manager Rick Hahn reiterated Wednesday that he's comfortable with the catching combination even without a veteran option.
In contrast, the White Sox have veteran possibilities in Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Matt Lindstrom to support second-year hurler Addison Reed as closer.
"You like to have backup plans for everyday guys at every other position but realistically that's not something that happens," Hahn said. "Very few teams have another above-average Major League impact shortstop if theirs go down unless you've got depth in the Minor League system and you were going to promote a guy before you feel he's ready.
"So while there may not be this sort of hedge you have in the bullpen for Tyler, that's not atypical and we do like some of the guys we have in house. Gimenez, again, people haven't seen a lot but he has got a lot of praise from our pitchers and our coaching staff as well and the versatility he brings. The kid [Bryan] Anderson is still 26 years old and a left-handed bat and has potential to help us if need be."
The switch-hitting Gimenez, 30, is scheduled to be in camp Friday after dealing with visa issues. Anderson, a non-roster invite, has 44 career at-bats.
Classic won't disrupt Crain's spring routine
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jesse Crain's participation in the World Baseball Classic, marking his third time pitching for Team Canada, won't alter his early routine in White Sox camp.
"Maybe I'll get one game earlier than normal. I don't think it affects me very much," Crain said. "I'll get three games in before I go, so it's not going to be too much different.
"Whenever I go out there, whether it's Spring Training or in a regular game, I go out with the same intensity no matter what. You still have that competitive attitude when you go out there."
Crain reports to Team Canada on March 3, with his decision to play being influenced by Canada having its training camp in Goodyear.
"The good thing is I'll be right next to the facility and stay in touch with [pitching coach Don Cooper]," Crain said.
Third to first
• John Danks will throw his first Spring Training bullpen session Thursday morning, with Hector Santiago, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and Matt Lindstrom also part of the left-hander's group.
• White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper will move from jersey No. 21 to No. 99, in memory of Kevin Hickey, the popular White Sox batting practice pitcher and former player who passed away during the 2012 season.
Tyler Flowers switched from 17 to 21, while Jordan Danks is back at 20. Danks wore 20 when he came up last year but gave way to Kevin Youkilis upon his arrival and moved to 7. Jeff Keppinger has his familiar 7 this season, so Danks returned to 20.