The calendar has turned to September and the White Sox have expanded their roster.
Reporting today from AAA Charlotte will be catcher Tyler Flowers and speedy outfielder Alejandro De Aza (above), who was a sensation in spring training. Promoted immediately from AA Birmingham is righthander Gregory Infante, who will be dispatched to the Sox bullpen. Dayan Viciedo, who was sent down to AAA when Mark Teahen returned, will join the South Siders in Boston. Carlos Torres, the odd man out when Manny Ramirez arrived, will be brought up after the Charlotte season is over on September 6.
Tale of the tape for the three players arriving today :
* Flowers slugged 16 homers, drove in 53 and batted .220 in 100 games at Charlotte.
* De Aza hit .302 in 79 games with the Knights.
* Infante, after being called up to Birmingham from Winston-Salem, was 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA.
Things I’m thinking about…
In less than two weeks (Monday, April 5), the White Sox open up the regular season against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.
Today, the Sox got a bit closer to their Opening Day 25-man roster by sending two players to Charlotte–pitcher Carlos Torres and catcher Tyler Flowers–and five others to their minor league camp. They include outfielder Jordan Danks, first baseman Josh Kroeger, third baseman Brent Morel, second baseman C.J. Retherford and pitcher Ryan Braun. There are now 32 left in the big league camp.
The likely scenario finds two roster spots yet to be filled. The Sox expect to take 12 pitchers north–starters Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Freddy Garcia and a bullpen of Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, Tony Pena, Randy Williams and one of the following: Sergio Santos (pictured below), Dan Hudson, Greg Aquino, Erick Threets and Charlie Leesman. The best bet to make it is Santos, who is out of options and has been very impressive this spring.
The other spot, a backup infielder/outfielder, will probably go to either frontrunner Jayson Nix, who is out of options, or Brent Lillibridge. The wild card here is if the Sox decide to go with red-hot outfielder Alejandro De Aza instead of Nix or Lillibridge. Or, they could go with 11 pitchers and take both De Aza and Nix/Lillibridge (pictured below, left to right, under the watchful eye their skipper). One last possibility, admittedly remote, is to take a 13th pitcher instead of the extra position player.
It was a Saturday of epic proportion. Well, maybe not epic, but boy it was fun.