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Sunday, March 13, 2011
Closer choice down to two: Thornton, Sale

By Doug Padilla

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In what may have been a preview of the regular season, Matt Thornton came on in the ninth inning to finish off Sunday’s 6-1 victory.

It wasn’t a save situation, but everything else about Thornton’s surroundings against the Dodgers seemed to fit.

Afterward, manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t say that Thornton would be the guy, but he did reiterate that the lefty continues to be his first choice.

Matt Thorton
Matt Thornton closed out the White Sox's win over the Dodgers on Sunday.
“Thornton is a personal opinion,” Guillen said. “As a setup man, there’s not one better than him. There’s one thing in my mind, give him a new job [as closer] or keep him what he was and put [Chris] Sale [as closer]. But I got to listen to my pitching coach, I got to listen to what [GM] Kenny [Williams] wants, the coaching staff has an opinion.

“I can go with either one. I don’t worry about any of those guys. No matter what I pick, I’m going to pick a good one. And that’s why I don’t worry about who is going to be out there.”

Thornton or Sale, whoever doesn’t get the closer’s job, will set up games along with Sergio Santos and Jesse Crain, providing the White Sox with an impressive foursome when the club is leading in the final innings.

“I hope we can set that up right away to [tell the guys,] ‘You’re going to do this, you’re going to do that,'" Guillen said. "Besides the third base situation, everyone should have [their] role. We have a meeting next week to get everyone together and see how the ballclub is going to be, and let those guys know what their situation is and what job they have.”

Thornton, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier this spring, has a 3.60 ERA in Cactus League games, but his last two outings have been scoreless with three strikeouts over those two innings.