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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sox's roster appears down to one open spot

By Doug Padilla

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Welcome to the opening day roster Phil Humber and Jeff Marquez.

To Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge: The final roster spot is down to you two.

Sifting through a conversation with general manager Kenny Williams that touched mostly on Jake Peavy’s recovery, those two assumptions could be made about the 2011 opening day roster.

Williams didn’t say those things up front, but he said enough to glean that information.

Williams said there is a plan to carry 12 pitchers on the roster in the event Peavy was not ready to start the season, which appears to be the case now. Only 13 pitchers remain in big-league camp, including Peavy. Humber and Marquez are among those remaining.

Asked if he is satisfied opening the season with in-house pitching talent, Williams said he was.

Through a process of elimination that leaves only one roster spot to be decided with is basically a backup outfielder that can also play center. Milledge and Lillibridge are the only two candidates remaining that fit that bill after Alejandro De Aza was sent to minor-league camp Tuesday.

Humber, who is scheduled to start in Thursday’s game against the Cubs, is expected to get the first crack at the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation in Peavy’s early-season absence.