CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox pitchers and catchers will report to Glendale, Ariz., in exactly one month so there is no better time than the present to review the players who will take the mound, and those that will be behind the plate, when spring training opens.
The White Sox currently have 20 pitchers on the 40-man roster, as well as four catchers. Those numbers only will go up when non-roster invitees are announced in advance of big league camp.
Young left-hander Carlos Rodon will be a candidate here, and figures to be stretched out as a starter this spring, even though there is talk about him being a reliever, as well. But the White Sox already have three lefties in the rotation, Noesi will make nearly $2 million this season and having Rodon waiting in the wings as the next starter up might make the most sense.
Chances of going through a season with just five starters are slim to none, so Rodon would get his chance if the White Sox keep him stretched out, even if he isn’t a part of the Opening Day crew. The White Sox will also take another close look at right-hander Erik Johnson, who was rising fast before stumbling last year.
In the bullpen, David Robertson is the obvious closer with Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam battling it out for the setup role. Zach Duke could be considered the setup mix as well, although he figures to be more of a late-inning lefty.
As for the rest of the bullpen (with the disclaimer that nobody has thrown a pitch in anger just yet), right-handers Daniel Webb and Javy Guerra, as well as lefty Dan Jennings, look to be in line for roles.
Because of the versatility that utility man Emilio Bonifacio brings, with an ability to play infield and outfield, that could allow the White Sox to start the season with a 13-man pitching staff. A long man is possible to start the season, but with three off days over the first two weeks of the season, that might not be needed.
At catcher, Tyler Flowers is the clear-cut No. 1 option to start the season. Adrian Nieto was the backup catcher last season, but after getting just 106 at-bats all year, playing every day at Charlotte might be in his best interest. That could leave Rob Brantly as the favorite to back up Flowers, with Kevan Smith also in that mix.
Pitchers and catchers will have their run of the place for only four days since the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 24. The first Cactus League game, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, will take place March 4.