Friday, April 6, 2012
Ventura still mum on closer's role
By Bruce Levine
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It could be around the ninth inning every game when Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura will sidle up to pitching coach Don Cooper and say "Who should we close with today?"
As the team prepared to open the 2012 season on Friday against the Texas Rangers, Ventura still refused to say if he had a closer.
"I just do not feel the need to announce it," the first-year manager said. "It's not going to be the same guy all the time. ... It will end up being different at different times of the season."
The Sox start the season with basically four rookies out of the seven bullpen pitchers.
"It depends on how guys do against certain teams and match-ups," Ventura said. "If we had Mariano Rivera I would be able to tell everybody I had a closer."
Part of Ventura's problem is that Matt Thornton may be best suited for both the closers and set- up roles. Thornton has 20 or more holds in four straight seasons, something no other reliever has done over that time period.
Thornton was also the failed team closer to start the 2011 season. After four early blown saves he went back to being a successful set-up man while relative unknown Sergio Santos claimed the job.
"For (the relievers) they understand when they are coming in and when they are likely to be used," Ventura said. "That's enough for them to know."