Matt Lindstrom would like a chance to be the White Sox’ closer
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 20, 2014 9:06PM
Updated: February 21, 2014 2:34AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Matt Lindstrom makes sense as a closer candidate. He has 45 career saves, including 23 for the Astros in 2010, and he has a veteran’s presence that can be a plus on the job.
“It would be cool to get another shot at it,’’ Lindstrom said.
“I have my sights set on that. But if I’m not throwing in the ninth inning when the season starts I’ll be fine with that. I hope they give me a more important role than just always coming in with guys on base, maybe my own inning again.’’
For Lindstrom, the appeal is the make-or-break, game-on-the-line adrenaline that flows in the ninth.
“It’s the high stakes, having your teammates count on you,’’ he said. “I like that. They’re out there battling their butts off for eight innings and the manager hands you the ball and you have a chance to finish them off.’’
Lindstrom, 34, has learned to command a fastball that runs and sinks and has been adept at getting double-play balls (he was first in the American League with 2.23 DPs per nine innings). He’s working on being quicker with a better slide step to the plate because his high leg kick is tempting to baserunners.
“I know that’s in issue,’’ he said.
Having played for five teams in the last five years, Lindstrom is happy the Sox picked up his option after he posted a 3.12 ERA in a career-high 76 games last year.
Manager Robin Ventura’s Day 1 speech was short and to the point, as usual.
“It was more about being ready, getting your mind ready,’’ Ventura said. “When you’re doing drills you have to make sure your mind is ready and you’re doing the right things to get better.’’
This and that
Nate Jones, also in the closer’s mix, was on the field but only to catch a few balls at first base. The glute strain that has sidelined him is getting better and he is close to returning, Ventura said.
◆ Right-hander Ronald Belisario is still absent due to visa problems.