Thornton takes on mentor role in bullpen

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
8:15
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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The White Sox’s bullpen continues to get younger and less experienced every day. With that, the burden of helping the kid pitchers improve falls squarely on veterans like Matt Thornton, Will Ohman And Jesse Crain.

[+] EnlargeMatt Thornton
Brad Mangin/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesMatt Thornton's experience is proving to be a valuable resource for his younger teammates.

Thornton, the most tenured of the group, takes his role of friend and teacher seriously.

“I think every guy is different,” Thornton said. “Every pitcher has his own makeup, some need time in the minor leagues to be groomed others can get there more quickly. So far these guys have been great ,they are working hard. They are staying late after games. They are staying humble, doing everything that has been asked of them.”


to after the pen has done a great job to get us to the 14th inning to tie game and then oh my gosh we lost in a blink of an eye humble doing everything that is asked of them “

Thornton pointed to Hector Santiago’s meltdown in Oakland on Wednesday as how you are tested in the big leagues.

“You go from, ‘hey this game is locked down’ after the pen had done a good job to, ‘oh my gosh we just lost in the blink of an eye,’” Thornton said. “(Santiago ) was frustrated with the result, but to his credit he shook it off, showed up with a good attitude, working hard the next day.

No one can remember a team that had five rookies in its bullpen winning a division in recent years. Thornton, however, doesn’t concern himself with that.

“We are right around .500 and we have a lot of baseball to go,” Thornton said. “We have seen some good and some bad. The bullpen has been a part of both, but you see growth with these guys every day.”

Called up in place of the injured Jesse Crain, Dylan Axelrod became the fifth Sox bullpen pitcher with 50 or fewer days in the major leagues to pitch for the team in 2012. Axelrod will most likely stay with the team until Crain returns from the DL after May 5.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208