The White Sox have almost finalized their 25-man roster for Opening Day with a flurry of roster moves over the past 48 hours, so let's get updated on the comings and goings.
Micah Johnson vs. Carlos Sanchez: Surprise! Both candidates for the starting second base job made the team, according to manager Robin Ventura. However, Ventura has yet to name his second baseman for the April 6 opener in Kansas City. Having both these two guys on the roster is likely a temporary situation. The team will open the year with 11 pitchers. When Chris Sale comes off the disabled list -- presumably on April 12 -- one of Johnson or Sanchez will be sent to the minors.
J.B. Shuck: Thanks to his .339/.391/.441 slash line this spring, Shuck has made the roster as a fourth outfielder. He also has stolen five bases during Cactus League play, and he might be the best defensive corner outfielder on the roster coming into the season.
Geovany Soto: The former Cub has secured the backup catching position, perhaps sealing his spot by throwing out 3 of 4 potential base stealers during a Tuesday game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And, Soto would have thrown out 4 of 4 had shortstop Alexei Ramirez not missed a tag on Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Soto's .281/.439/.469 slash line didn't hurt his cause, either. He clearly distinguished himself over the other catching candidates.
Matt Albers: The veteran reliever made the 25-man roster despite allowing seven runs over his last three outings. He did start the spring strong with four consecutive scoreless innings, so perhaps that left an impression. Albers had a 3.14 ERA in 56 games for the Cleveland Indians in his last healthy season (2013), so perhaps the Sox believe with renewed health he can return to the form he showed two years ago.
Carlos Rodon: The heralded pitching prospect is headed back to Triple-A Charlotte, as expected, but he left one final good impression Tuesday with 5.1 innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers. The lefty finished the spring with a team-best 21 strikeouts in 17.2 innings and a 3.06 ERA. It won't be a surprise if we see him on the South Side before the 2015 season is over.
Jesse Crain and Brad Penny: The two pitchers were each paid $100,000 retention bonuses to stay with the organization, under rules governing minor league contracts. Both players will remain
in the White Sox system with a June 1 opt-out clause, should they not
reach the majors before then. Crain is still working his way back from shoulder problems that cost him the entire 2014 season.
Sale update: The White Sox ace struck out 13 Cincinnati Reds minor leaguers in a six-inning outing on Wednesday. He will have one more outing at extended spring training Monday before a
likely return to the rotation April 12.
With that, I think we're all set on the news and notes. For now. There is still one more spot in the Sox bullpen to be claimed. I think it's going to Kyle Drabek. Stay tuned.