GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said on Sunday that he’s looking to fill either two or three open bullpen spots with pitchers who can throw anywhere from two to four innings of relief.
Pitchers Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Will Ohman and Addison Reed would be limited to an inning per outing in a perfect world, although Cooper said they will have two-inning outings somewhere down the line.
“So those other guys have to give us some innings,” Cooper said. “And we’re not just looking for innings, we’re looking for quality innings. We’re not looking to take a guy just because he can give us innings. We’re going to be taking the guy who we feel best can give us innings and get the job done.”
Dylan Axelrod, Zach Stewart and Hector Santiago, all of who spent time with the big league club last season, have come through the organization as starters and would seem to be best suited for long relief roles.
Cooper added that breaking camp with four lefties in the bullpen would be a reach.
“What I will say is if there are two other lefties besides Ohman and Thornton who jump up and show us that they can do it, we’d have to seriously consider it,” Cooper said. “I hope that’s the case that we’d have to look at that and say, ‘maybe four.’ Let’s face it, our division is chock full of left-handed hitters, particularly Cleveland and Kansas City and the Twins. But we’re not going to take a lefty because he throws with his left hand -- he has to have criteria.
“The other thing… you don’t want to go on spring training, you want to go on past track record. But sometimes we have some guys who don’t have past records so we’ll have to make decisions. We’ve seen Stewart, Axelrod, Santiago in Chicago. We haven’t seen [Leyson] Septimo and [Jose] Quintana and Donnie Veal, and others. They’ll show us what we need to be thinking about.”