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Milledge, Lillibridge both might be keepers

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The battle between Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge might have two winners if the White Sox change gears and take 11 pitchers instead of 12.

That seemed to be a possibility Saturday when manager Ozzie Guillen answered questions about his Opening Day roster after the Sox lost 6-3 to the Los Angeles Angels. An 11-man staff would leave right-hander Jeff Marquez as the odd man out. With days off in April, the Sox might try to make do with 11.

Characterizing the battle between Lillibridge and Milledge as ‘‘awesome,’’ Guillen said this last decision is the toughest Opening Day roster situation he has faced.

‘‘[Marquez] pitched well,’’ Guillen said. “He did everything we asked him to do. But you have to make moves sometimes. The last move always hurts.’’

Lillibridge can play the infield and outfield. Milledge is an outfielder only but has put up bigger numbers (.315, four home runs, 12 RBI, 11-game hitting streak) and looks like a left fielder of the future with Juan Pierre’s contract expiring after the season.

Lillibridge (.239, two homers, 10 RBI) is confident another team will pick him up if he’s let go, but he wants to stay in Chicago. Lillibridge is out of options; Milledge isn’t.

‘‘I love the guys, and I’d be disappointed if I leave, but I’m not going to fight it,’’ he said. ‘‘You just keep doing your thing and wait for the final decision. It’s a tough thing.’’


The Sox have no interest in Carlos Silva as a fifth starter before Jake Peavy returns, even if the Cubs would eat a substantial portion of his contract. They seem satisfied with Phil Humber, who will start Tuesday’s Cactus League game against the Kansas City Royals. Humber is slated to start the fifth game April 6 in Kansas City.

While Mark Buehrle makes his final tuneup today before Friday’s Opening Day start, Edwin Jackson will be pitching in a minor-league game. John Danks starts against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Buehrle, Jackson and Danks pitch the Sox’ first three games in Cleveland, followed by Gavin Floyd in Kansas City on April 5. Buehrle lines up for the home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 7.

The Sox signed Dexter Carter, whom they dealt to the San Diego Padres in the Peavy trade.

Mark Teahen’s error was his sixth of the spring.

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