Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain top Sox’ closer options
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2012 9:18PM
Updated: April 19, 2012 8:22AM
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — White Sox manager Robin Ventura has been in no rush to name a closer, and it doesn’t seem like that stance will change any time soon.
“When we get closer to the end [of camp],’’ Ventura said. “I don’t think it’s necessary to name someone now. We have capable guys. You see what you have first and see what your needs are.’’
But after the 12-3 loss Thursday against the Indians, Ventura said that left-hander Matt Thornton and right-hander Jesse Crain are the best options to grab the job with the Addison Reed hype having cooled a bit.
“Not making it just those two, but from a body of work, they’re the best options,’’ Ventura said.
Thornton would love another shot at it. He won the job out of spring training last year, and after blowing his first four save opportunities, he was stripped of those duties.
He feels like there’s some unfinished business.
“You see things like, ‘Oh, he’s good in the seventh and eighth inning, can’t do it in the ninth,’ ’’ Thornton said. “Well, I’ve never said I can’t do it in the ninth inning. I’ve done it in the ninth inning. I’ve gotten a handful of saves. Then it’s, ‘Oh, well, he can’t do it as a permanent closer.’ Well, last year we were struggling early on, and I struggled at the wrong time.
“If you would have flip-flopped my year and I struggled at the end, no one would have said a thing. Then it would have been, ‘Oh, I did a great job.’ It had nothing to do with the ninth inning. I felt comfortable in that inning, felt fine. I just didn’t get it done. It’s about going out and proving I can get it done.’’
From the infirmary
Adam Dunn was a late scratch before the game against Cleveland because of a sore neck that has been bothering him throughout the week. Dunn played with it Wednesday and homered, but he missed the game Tuesday. Ventura didn’t expect to see him until the weekend.
Crain (strained right oblique) remained on the shelf but expected to pitch this weekend.
Looking for a spot
Dylan Axelrod started and allowed a run and three hits in three innings. His spring has been less than stellar, but he’s hoping to show enough to land a spot as a middle reliever.
“It seems like there are three bullpen spots open, so whatever capacity they want to use me in is fine with me,’’ Axelrod said. “I just want to make the team out of spring training.’’