The White Sox opening day roster became much clearer thanks to series developments on Tuesday, which made for an interesting day and a good demonstration of our new FanShot feature.
- Following the extended morning meetings to discuss the roster, Toby Hall was called in for at least one meeting, if not two. It initially appeared like Hall was on his way off the opening day roster, but at the end of the day, He and A.J. Pierzynski were the only catchers left on the spring roster.
- Josh Fields was officially optioned to Charlotte, making Joe Crede the starter with Pablo Ozuna and Juan Uribe as his back-ups. Doesn't that sound familiar?
- Juan Uribe has won the second base job, but Ozzie warned that he'll have a quick hook.
"If Uribe doesn't do what we think he can do, he will be replaced. I'm not going to put pressure on him. He knows he has people around him who can play that position.
"But the way he played in spring training, and the way he went about his business, I think he earned that spot."
- Finally, Jerry Owens went in for an MRI which reveal he has a slight tear of an abductor. He will be put on the DL retroactive to Monday, and will be eligible to be back for the home opener April 7th. That's the same injury Scott Podsednik has had each of the last two seasons. In fact, Pods battled it last spring, but made the opening day roster before re-injuring the groin and missing the next 2 months.
I'm going to be honest. Sending Fields to AAA doesn't bug me that much, or at least not as much as many of you. I want the Sox to put the best team on the field, and Fields hasn't yet convinced me that his 2008 skill set is greater than that of 2008 Joe Crede. Obviously, that argument would be a whole lot easier to make if Crede were having a more productive spring.
Ultimately, I don't think there is enough evidence on either player's side to get too worked up over the third base situation. There are valid arguments on both side of the ledger, and I'm not convinced that there is an obvious, hard and fast right answer. Fields is obviously the long term choice, and as such, he would have received my vote, but I just can't muster the ire to get worked up over this one.
Were I making the decisions, things would be different. I'd find a way to get Fields on the roster, probably platooning with Thome at DH and occasionally at 3B as many of you have suggested. And truthfully, I would have parted with Crede for whatever meager returns I could have obtained in the last two weeks.
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Jerry Owens' trip to the DL is good news for Brian Anderson and Carlos Quentin, who will both open the season on the roster. Anderson, in particular, has the opportunity to earn himself some major playing time in Owens' absence. He'll share center field duties with Alexei Ramirez in the first week of the season, during which the Sox are scheduled to face a number of lefthanders. In addition to C.C. Sabathia on opening day, the Sox should face Detroit's Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis before Owens is eligble to come off the DL.
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Maybe the worst news of the day was that there was no resolution (or at least no reported news) to what should be a no-brainer in the battle for the final bullpen spot. I can only hope that we haven't heard anything because they don't want to remove the minute amount of trade value that Nick Masset may have by declaring Ehren Wasserman the winner of the final bullpen slot.