Chicago White Sox: Brian Bruney
After seven seasons in the organization, the 27-year-old Omogrosso will make his major league debut whenever he gets in to a game with the White Sox, possibly as soon as Friday night against the New York Yankees. Omogrosso has a 4.09 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 33 innings over 21 games with Charlotte.
Bruney picked up a win in his only appearance of the season against Milwaukee on June 24.
The White Sox considered the bullpen an area of strength so they shipped off right-handers Jason Frasor and Sergio Santos in offseason trades to save a little cash and strengthen the farm system.
But the Santos move leaves the White Sox with one of their biggest challenges of the spring: Finding a closer.
The Opening Day closer job appears to be down to Matt Thornton or Jesse Crain. The lefty Thornton looked uncomfortable in the role to start the 2011 season. The righty Crain, meanwhile, was solid in a setup role before running out of gas late in the season.
Veteran Will Ohman will be the only other lefty in the bullpen other than Thornton, unless Hector Santiago can earn his way onto the club with a solid spring. Dylan Axelrod and Zach Stewart are expected to duel for a long-man role, a spot not utilized much last season since a six-man rotation was used for a long stretch.
Brian Bruney will get a chance to earn a spot back on the roster after he was invited to camp on a minor-league deal. Even the deal that sent Ozzie Guillen to the Miami Marlins could pay dividends for the relief corps. Part of the compensation the White Sox received for Guillen, right-hander Jhan Marinez, has an outside chance at a bullpen spot.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO IN 2012: A spirited spring duel lands Crain with the closer job meaning the lefty Thornton and the righty Reed can set up. If Bruney is able to handle a sizeable workload in middle relief everybody can settle into their roles nicely, allowing Ohman to take on a lefty specialist job. A real assist could come from a minor leaguer like Gregory Infante, or future starters Nestor Molina or Simon Castro stepping up to land a relief role.
WORST-CASE SCENARIO IN 2012: The White Sox don’t appear to have as many options at closer as they did last season, so if Thornton or Crain aren’t up for the job it would spell trouble. Would the White Sox dare push Reed into the role with limited big-league experience? The White Sox need the Thornton/Crain closer battle to be epic and ultimately a tough decision since the pitcher that isn’t asked to close will still be needed in key late-inning spots as the setup man.
KID TO WATCH: Clearly this is Reed, but he is virtually guaranteed a roster spot so we’ll dig a little deeper here. Santiago was impressive every step of the way last season. He had 5 1/3 scoreless relief innings in the big leagues while still posting a 3.60 ERA in 23 starts at two separate minor-league levels. His chances of making the White Sox’s bullpen would seem to center around Thornton winning the closer role since using three lefties in relief to get to the closer, like the White Sox did last season, isn’t ideal.
Right-hander Brian Bruney, who pitched with the White Sox last season for a short time was among those signed on minor-league contracts. Also included in that group is left-handers Leyson Septimo and Eric Stults, catchers Damaso Espino and Hector Gimenez, infielders Dallas McPherson and Ray Olmedo and outfielder Delwyn Young.
Among the players in the minor-league system that were invited to big-league camp, that list included: right-handers Brian Omogrosso and Jacob Petricka, catchers Michael Blanke and Josh Phegley, infielders Jim Gallagher and Tyler Kuhn and outfielders Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell, Brandon Short and Trayce Thompson.
White Sox pitchers and catchers report to Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 23. The cub’s first full-squad workout, with position players, takes place Feb. 28.
Bruney would earn $600,000 if he makes the big league team. The White Sox have yet to confirm the deal.
Bruney pitched well for the White Sox last season before a string of poor outings that led to him being designated for assignment.
At one point he had a 2.16 ERA in 19 outings before giving up 11 runs over his next three innings. His departure paved the way for Zach Stewart to join the major league roster.
Bruney was said to be working through injury issues at the time he was struggling and expressed a desire to return to the White Sox if the feeling was mutual.
The White Sox certainly have their needs as baseball's nonwaiver trade deadline approaches -- like a middle of the order slugger who preferably bats left-handed -- but the most attainable need remains a right-handed reliever.
With Sergio Santos now the closer and Jesse Crain the only right-hander available for late-inning duty before the ninth, a one-inning pitcher who throws from the right side isn’t only desired, it might still fit into a budget already stretched as thin as possible.
Right-hander Brian Bruney has emerged to somewhat dispel that notion, so reaching out to get just any righty isn’t want the club needs. Getting a right-handed reliever to mimic what Crain is doing could go a long way toward making a very good bullpen great.
Anything less than that isn’t needed because that level would be Bruney. That back-handed compliment isn’t meant as a knock, but it does seem as if the White Sox still aren’t convinced that Bruney has what it takes for important late-inning situations.
Bruney hasn’t allowed a run in seven outings this month (5 2/3 innings), but the White Sox lost five of those games and one was a blowout victory so it’s not as if the spotlight was at its brightest in those outings.
Bruney earned a hold in the July 1 victory over the Cubs, and on June 29, he earned a victory over the Rockies. Going back even one outing further he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals.
So the bar has been set. Bruney has been effective of late so unless the White Sox can land somebody better than what he has to offer, then don’t bother with a deal for a right-handed reliever.
It doesn’t seem as if Tony Pena is about to help any time soon. Early Wednesday the right-hander was placed on his second rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte only to experience elbow discomfort later in the day. He will be re-evaluated Thursday. Pena has been on the disabled list since May 29 with elbow tenidintis.
Nine players were affected in the moves, including outfielder Alejandro De Aza and catcher Tyler Flowers. Both were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte along with right-hander Gregory Infante.
Reassigned to minor-league camp were right-handers Brian Bruney, Jeff Gray, Josh Kinney and Shane Lindsay, as well as outfielder Jordan Danks and infielder Dallas McPherson.
The moves leave 29 players in big-league camp, a number that includes catcher Donny Lucy, who is not expected to make the opening day roster. A total of 13 pitchers also remain in camp.
Jake Peavy is among those 13 pitchers and it is widely assumed he will be on the disabled list once the season begins. Manager Ozzie Guillen has also stated a preference for 12 pitchers to start the season.
Barring any unexpected turn of events, that would leave the White Sox with the following staff (in alphabetical order): Mark Buehrle, Jesse Crain, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Phil Humber, Edwin Jackson, Jeff Marquez, Will Ohman, Tony Pena, Chris Sale, Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton.
If the White Sox end up going with an 11-man staff, Marquez figures to be the odd man out.
Bruney pitched for the Washington Nationals in 2010, and he was a reliever on the 2009 world champion New York Yankees.
McPherson was a No. 1 pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.