A week out from White Sox pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in Glendale, Ariz., Nate Jones is still the leading candidate to replace the traded Addison Reed as closer.
But just to be safe, Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Friday added another veteran reliever who has experience pitching in the ninth inning.
The White Sox signed right-hander Mitchell Boggs to a one-year, $1.1 million contract. To clear a spot for the right-hander on the 40-man roster, reliever Deunte Heath was outrighted to Class AAA Charlotte.
Can Boggs close, or can he even help the White Sox out of the bullpen?
If he pitches like he did last season, probably not. Boggs opened the year as the St. Louis Cardinals' closer after pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, but the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder blew three of his first five save opportunities, was optioned to Triple-A Memphis and finally traded to the Colorado Rockies on July 9.
Boggs, 29, was 0-3 with 2 saves and an 11.05 ERA in 18 games with the Cardinals and 0-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 9 appearances with the Rockies.
Maybe getting ready earlier than normal for the WBC had a negative affect on Boggs. His velocity was down last season and he was wild, walking 20 in 231⁄3 innings.
In 2012, the University of Georgia product pitched in 78 games with St. Louis and led the National League with 34 holds while going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA.
If Boggs can bounce back with the White Sox, he's likely headed to middle relief.
But with Jones unproven in the closer's role, Boggs joins newcomers Ronald Belisario and Scott Downs and holdovers Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb as possible options for the ninth inning.
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