3/22/2014 8:56 P.M. ET
White Sox still undecided on who will be closer
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With Matt Lindstrom throwing one inning against the Cubs on Friday, the White Sox have their entire relief corps healthy and throwing for the first time since the start of Spring Training. That delay, in part, has prevented the White Sox from naming a closer to replace Addison Reed.
"Heck, we just finally got Lindstrom in a game the other day," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I think in a week from now, after we continue to run everybody out and get Lindstrom going a little bit more, that's a question we might be able to talk about more."
"We've had a lot of guys who have either shown up a little late or were hurt but we still have a ways to go before we do that," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who answered, "No, I really don't," when asked if he knew his closer. "We have guys who are capable of doing it. Just to name one right now would be premature."
Nate Jones, who battled through a left glute strain at the start of camp, has made five scoreless Cactus League appearances covering five innings. The right-hander figures to be the favorite to move from the setup role to the ninth inning.
While closer officially is being decided, the White Sox also have to make the call on their final two relievers behind Jones, Lindstrom, Scott Downs, Ronald Belisario and Donnie Veal. Maikel Cleto, who is out of options, seems to have an edge on one, with Mitchell Boggs, Daniel Webb and Jake Petricka among the names for the seventh.
Boggs has a 12.79 ERA over seven games, but the White Sox certainly aren't basing a judgment on a capable veteran solely on Cactus League action.
"You can't base it totally on numbers here in Spring Training," said Ventura, speaking more in generalities then about one particular player. "There is what guys historically do in their career, what you're counting on, so there is a combination of what you see down here in Spring Training and what they've done in their past."
Abreu to get a couple of days to rest ankle
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu will not play again until Monday in Peoria at the earliest, after White Sox manager Robin Ventura and the team temporarily shut down the first baseman with recurring soreness in his left ankle.
Abreu left Friday's home game against the Cubs after two at-bats.
"He had it about a week ago and we let him get through it. He still felt a little bit of it there so we are going to give him two days to rest it," said Ventura. "Nothing that concerns him going on the disabled list or anything like that, but to kind of flush it out and get him feeling a little better before we head out of here.
"It flared up and we are going to give him a couple of days to just feel better and get over it. He's pretty close to being ready anyway. You don't want him starting the season feeling sore at any point."
Friday appears to be the tough day this spring for Abreu's ankle, as he told MLB.com last weekend that ankle soreness "went backwards" during a home game against the Indians on March 14. Abreu was getting treatment Saturday, but said last weekend that it was soreness he could control and wouldn't play through it if it was worse.
"That's part of being down here and taking it out of his hands and giving him two days," Ventura said. "He doesn't necessarily want to sit out for two days but we feel it's important for him to start the season feeling better."
Ventura indicated that a healthy Abreu most likely will hit third in the White Sox regular-season lineup. The White Sox have been impressed by his maturity as a hitter and his consistent approach during workouts and with each at-bat.
"I just feel he's that good of a hitter to be able to do that," Ventura said. "I really see him as a professional type of hitter that you want people on base when he's up there. Hitting him there, I hope he has a lot of opportunities with guys on base."
White Sox not ready to reveal rotation order
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper knows how the team's starting rotation will be lined up at the season's outset, beginning with Chris Sale on Opening Day at home against the Twins on March 31.
At this point, with one week left in Spring Training, he's not quite ready to share that full information.
"I would imagine in a few days, you will get to know who 2, 3 and 4 and 5 might be," Cooper said. "I know. But we are not going to talk about that right now because there might be changes."
It's safe to guess that manager Robin Ventura and Cooper will break up the trio of lefties in Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks, who has looked exceptional this spring with the return of his cutter. The White Sox also aren't likely to put Felipe Paulino and Erik Johnson back-to-back, with Paulino working his way back from more than a year of injury-related Major League inactivity and Johnson entering with five big league starts of experience on his resume.
A rotation of Sale, Paulino, Quintana, Johnson and Danks would make sense. Of course, that alignment could be adjusted due to inclement weather, although the White Sox have never really been a team to skip starters.
"We have no control over weather," Cooper said.
Paulino feels great but vexed by walks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There wasn't much happiness coming from Felipe Paulino after he issued four walks over 5 1/3 innings during Saturday's 8-5 loss to the Giants. But for a pitcher who has not been in a Major League game since 2012 with the Royals, the most important factor right now is that he feels great and ready for the season after topping 100 pitches.
"Physically, I feel great," said Paulino, who has been sidelined by ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in July 2012 and by a cyst removed from his shoulder last September. "I like the confidence they give to me and build it up.
"The thing right now, 100 pitches I think is enough for me. It's great but ... I just need to figure out how to throw less walks and then I can go deeper in the game."
Paulino pointed to release-point issues in his delivery as part of the reason for Saturday's wildness.
"It's unacceptable for me," said Paulino of the free passes. "I will keep working hard with this and will try to make this more easy for me. In the end, I'm looking [out] for the team, to keep it close in the game and give it a chance to win."
Third to first
• Gordon Beckham did not test his strained left oblique Saturday, marking his eighth day of inactivity since suffering the injury while taking postgame swings March 14. Beckham sounded certain Friday that he would be ready for Opening Day, but Ventura wouldn't make the same guarantee Saturday.
"I know what he would like but he does have to get through Herm's tests to make sure he's ready to go," said Ventura, referencing White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider. "And you have to protect guys who want to go out there.
"Everybody finds Opening Day important to be there, be on the field for Opening Day, but we have a long way to go. Make sure he's completely healthy before we send them out there."
• After exiting Friday's game against the Cubs with cramps in his right leg, Tyler Flowers returned to catch two innings in Saturday's 8-5 loss to the Giants. Flowers also has been battling flu-like symptoms.
"I just couldn't get it to go away," said Flowers of Friday's cramps that caused him to leave with a 1-2 count during an at-bat. "I knew I was done [after that at-bat] so there was no point in trying to push through it in that situation."