GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the White Sox packed up their Spring Training camp on the day of their last Cactus League game Monday, manager Robin Ventura said he still has not decided on a closer for the club, though he does have an anticipated announcement time.
"Hopefully, when we're winning in the ninth in the first game," Ventura said in response to a question about when he will reveal his closer. "I will know, and [the team] will know, but I just don't feel the need to tell everybody and make a statement about it."
Though he remained coy about whether there was an advantage to holding back the information, saying, "Maybe, maybe not," one possible advantage to avoiding an announcement would be to keep the pressure off a potential young closer like 24-year-old Hector Santiago (0.90 ERA, 10 innings this spring). The left-hander split his time between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham last year and had a two-day callup in July, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings over two appearances.
"I'm impressed," Ventura said of Santiago. "You hear things about certain guys and witness it. Not just his ability, but how he carries himself, his personality. He's been fun to watch.
"He's definitely a possibility. So is Addison [Reed, 2.70 ERA, 10 innings] and Matt [Thornton, 2.35 ERA, 13 1/3 innings] and Jesse [Crain, 3.60 ERA, five innings]. I feel good with the way our back end of the bullpen is."
Ventura admitted he did not know in his own mind yet, though he has a good idea and is relishing the luxury of having a variety of viable choices.