Roster seems set, but Mitchell may soon loom
The White Sox headed into spring training with a relatively set starting rotation of Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Quintana, not necessarily in that order.
Ditto for the seven-man bullpen, where Addison Reed, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, newcomer Matt Lindstrom, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal and Hector Santiago stand secure.
The starting position players include outfielders Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo, infielders Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez and Jeff Keppinger, designated hitter Adam Dunn and catcher Tyler Flowers.
That leaves four spots on the 25-man roster — without a whole lot of suspense there, either.
Barring any personnel moves between now and the Sox' April 1 season opener against the Kansas City Royals, Hector Gimenez is going to back up Flowers at catcher, Dewayne Wise and Jordan Danks are the reserve outfielders and Rule 5 pickup Angel Sanchez is the utility infielder.
Two weeks before camp opened, manager Robin Ventura acknowledged the relative lack of competition for jobs on the 25-man roster.
But Ventura has been around the game long enough to recognize how quickly things can change.
"We like competition," Ventura said. "There's nothing wrong with it. I don't want anyone coming in thinking there's no chance of making it. That's one of those things, even from spring training last year through the season, we're not afraid to bring a guy in that doesn't have a lot of experience.
"We used a lot of young guys last year, which was good for them, but it was fun to see those guys come up and do things."
There are some young players in camp this spring that are already making positive impressions on Ventura and the rest of the White Sox' staff.
Jared Mitchell, the Sox' first-round draft pick in 2009, was batting .417 (5-for-12) with 1 home run and 4 RBI in his first five exhibition games.
Mitchell, who sat out the entire 2010 season after tearing a tendon in his left ankle, is likely to start the regular season with Class AAA Charlotte.
But with his off-the-charts athletic ability, the 24-year-old outfielder is likely to make his big-league debut at some point this season.
"Jared at LSU was a part-time baseball player and a part-time football player, so he had a tremendous set of skills," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said before the start of spring training. "But he was raw from a baseball player standpoint. He needed repetition. Unfortunately, he had a very serious ankle injury in the first spring training game he had in big-league camp and that set his development back even further than it was being a junior drafted out of the SEC.
"At this point now, he is starting to catch up developmentally to where we want. The best news I have about Mitchell is that after (assistant GM) Buddy Bell returned from Instructional League this year he wouldn't shut up about where Jared is and said we can't possibly consider moving this guy because he's ready to bust loose."
Sanchez, a Rule 5 addition from the Los Angeles Angels, is likely to win the utility infield job because he has major-league experience with the Royals, Red Sox and Astros and can play third base, shortstop and second.
But Conor Gillaspie and Brent Morel, who primarily play third base, are having good springs.
Acquired in a Feb. 22 from the San Francisco Giants, Gillaspie was batting .308 (4-for-13) with 2 homers and a team-high 7 RBI in six Cactus League games.
Like Mitchell, Gillaspie is positioned to get a call from the White Sox at some point of the upcoming season.
Morel appears to be fully recovered from a back injury that sidelined him for most of the 2012 season.
He was the Sox' starting third base on Opening Day last year, and now Morel is trying to stay healthy and possibly help his current club or catch on with another team.
In his first eight exhibition games, Morel was batting .235 (4-for-17) with 1 home run and 2 RBI.
Morel started at shortstop in Saturday's exhibition game against the Reds.
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