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Sunday, August 25, 2013
White Sox's future arrives next week

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- Rosters can be expanded next week and the Chicago White Sox are expected to take full advantage of the opportunity.

A near certainty to be called up on or after Sept. 1 is right-hander Erik Johnson, while infielder Marcus Semien and reliever Daniel Webb also figure to get strong consideration.

None of those three players are on the 40-man roster, although the White Sox do have three spots available. They can even make a fourth spot available on the 40-man by transferring injured pitcher Brian Omogrosso to the 60-day disabled list.

That fourth spot could go to a catcher, giving the White Sox a little insurance behind the plate. Either Hector Gimenez or Bryan Anderson would be options to get the call.

A handful of other players on the 40-man roster remain at Triple-A Charlotte and could be considered for a one-month promotion. Those include pitchers Simon Castro, Deunte Heath, Jhan Marinez and Santos Rodriguez. Infielder Brent Morel and outfielder Blake Tekotte also are on the 40-man roster.

Getting Johnson one month of experience in the major leagues would be key since the 23-year old is expected to battle for an Opening Day rotation spot next season. The Cal product has been impressive at both Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season, posting a combined 11-3 record with a 2.07 ERA over 23 starts.

In nine starts at Charlotte after a June promotion, Johnson has gone 3-1 with a 1.79 ERA, working his way through a groin injury that had him on the disabled list. He was a second-round pick in 2011.

Semien, who like Johnson is a product of Cal, also has been impressive on two levels this season. He has batted .282 between Birmingham and Charlotte, hitting 19 home runs with 58 RBIs, while stealing 21 bases. He has posted a .400 on-base percentage.

Listed as a shortstop, Semien could be used all around the infield, and could end up battling Conor Gillaspie next spring for time at third base. Semien was a sixth-round pick in 2011.

Webb has done both Johnson and Semien one better this season, by pitching at three different levels of the organization. He started the year at Single-A Winston Salem, before moving on to Birmingham and ultimately Charlotte.

The right-handed reliever has a 1.99 ERA over 39 appearances at all three levels, striking out 75 with 27 walks in 58 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting .197 against him. Webb, who turned 24 last week, was acquired in the trade that sent Jason Frasor to the Blue Jays before the 2012 season.