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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The competition between Brent Lillibridge and Lastings Milledge for the last roster spot might end in a tie as the Chicago White Sox could conceivably open the season with both players on the active roster.
After a listless 6-3 loss to the Angels on Saturday, manager Ozzie Guillen said he already knows the final 25-man roster for his club, but he can't divulge the results.
"I know," he said. "But I can't announce it and say 'Coming from Ozzie, Ozzie say this.' I can't say that until the last day."Speculation about keeping both position players, and only 11 pitchers, began when Guillen was asked about Saturday's starter, Jeff Marquez, who is out of minor league options. The manager raised some eyebrows with his answer.
"He pitched well. He pitched good," he said. "He do everything we asked him to do, and that's the best spring training he's had, put it that way, since we have him. But meanwhile, you have to make moves sometimes. The last move always hurts."
Marquez (1-1) has a 3.63 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs on six hits in four innings Saturday, taking the loss. If the Sox want to send him down, he has to clear waivers.
Earlier in the week, general manager Kenny Williams insinuated to reporters the team planned to open with 12 pitchers if Jake Peavy wasn't ready to open the season.
But the White Sox have off days on April 4 and April 14 and if Peavy's mound session goes well Sunday, he could conceivably be ready for his second scheduled start on April 10, or his third on April 20.
Both Lillibridge and Milledge have played well this spring. Lillibridge is hitting only .239, but he has 10 RBIs and has shown his defensive versatility.
Milledge, a minor league invitee, is looking more like the highly touted prospect he was with New York Mets organization. He's hitting .315 with four homers and 12 RBIs.
"Those guys are playing very well in spring training," Guillen said. "We need them to battle to compete against each other. That battle was awesome."
Guillen didn't know when the roster would be finalized, but time is running out.
"I think the answer from me is not the right one," Guillen said. "The answer should come from Kenny because of all the rules. I don't know the players' rules, all kinds of things, 'You send this guy down, you bring him up, 24 guys.' They explained to me all morning about it. And I need help. I don't know anything."Jon Greenberg is a reporter and columnist for ESPNChicago.com.