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updated: 5/13/2012 10:07 PM

Rongey: White Sox have options in bullpen

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  • Chicago White Sox pitcher Matt Thornton throws against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, in Minneapolis.

      Chicago White Sox pitcher Matt Thornton throws against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, in Minneapolis.
    Associated Press

  • White Sox right fielder Alex Rios follows through on a 2-run triple in Friday's 5-0 victory over the Royals. Rios' body language is often misunderstood when he is struggling.

      White Sox right fielder Alex Rios follows through on a 2-run triple in Friday's 5-0 victory over the Royals. Rios' body language is often misunderstood when he is struggling.
    Associated Press

 
 

Q: Over the last two seasons Matt Thornton has clearly demonstrated that he is a great setup man and cannot handle the pressure of closing.

It is too bad because he can throw a ball through a brick wall, but it just does not seem he has the "it" to close.

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How long will it take Don Cooper to get it? (James J. from Whitlock, Ill.)

A: I don't know if it's necessarily true that he doesn't have "it" or that (pitching coach) Don Cooper and the team aren't perceptive enough to see it.

These guys aren't dumb. They'll do as any other baseball team would do, and that's exhaust all options.

The real question is whether there are superior alternatives to close games, and the probable answer is that, yes, there are.

Though the first month-and-a-half of one season isn't a certain guarantee of the future, Addison Reed has been excellent. He's filthy enough to do the job and so far appears to have the attitude to handle it.

He will fail some day, as all relievers do, but the key will be whether or not he will stay confident enough to handle it. My guess is that he will.

Q: It looks like Adam Dunn has rediscovered his home run stroke. What differences are you seeing?

A: He's confident and has completely left 2011 in 2011. Not to mention his swing mechanics are much closer to pre-2011 Dunn than they were last season.

The strikeouts will always be there, but, really, who cares when the OPS is around 1.000?

Seriously, if he's getting on base about 40 percent of the time and slugging .600, I don't care if the outs he makes are because he tries to run from the plate to third base on groundballs.

Q: With Alex Rios, is it simply a matter of some games he is motivated and some games he is not?

A: I don't think there's ever been a motivation issue with Rios, even when he was struggling badly last year.

Sometimes on a person, the body language isn't what it appears. While it can look like he doesn't care at times, it just really isn't the case with him, even going back to last season.

I think Rios can give that impression because he tends to be particularly hard on himself when he slumps. It looks like indifference, but really it's despondence.

However, there's hardly any of that from him this season. I know that he has worked very hard to get to where he is this year, but he will have to make the adjustments necessary when pitchers inevitably adjust to him.

Q: Do you think John Danks builds off the solid start at Cleveland, or is he going to continue to struggle?

A: Danks needs to do two things to be successful: 1. Keep his off-speed stuff down; and, 2. stay healthy. I think people often look to his early season misfortune last year and draw a parallel to this season.

Despite the 0-8 record to begin last year, there were plenty of games in there he pitched well enough to win.

This year I think his fastball is getting hit a lot harder than in years past, so his secondary stuff is going to have to be better.

He's throwing fewer fastballs, but hitters are squaring them up better than they used to.

•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.comquestions;mailto:cubsquestions%40dailyherald.com?subject=Reader%20question[URL] each week via our online link.[/URL]

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