The White Sox checked into Birmingham, Ala., for last-minute tweaks and tuneups before Monday’s season opener, detouring on their way home from Arizona to play their Class AA affiliate Friday night.
After manager Robin Ventura presented the Barons with their Southern League championship rings, the Sox beat them 5-2 in an exhibition that allowed their bullpen arms to work one inning apiece. In order over the first six innings, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs, Ronald Belisario, Nate Jones, Daniel Webb and Maikel Cleto each worked a scoreless inning. None of them issued a walk.
After the game, the Sox reassigned pitchers Zach Putnam and David Purcey, catcher Hector Gimenez, infielders Alex Liddi and Micah Johnson and outfielder Blake Tekotte to minor-league camp, effectively settling on an Opening Day roster that includes a bullpen of Jones, Lindstrom, Belisario, Webb, Cleto, and left-handers Downs and Donnie Veal.
After Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger go on the disabled list, the Opening Day roster will be set. Here’s how it shapes up:
◆ Starting rotation: Chris Sale, Felipe Paulino, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson and John Danks.
◆ Lineup (order to be determined): Adam Eaton CF, Marcus Semien 2B, Jose Abreu 1B, Avisail Garcia RF, Adam Dunn DH, Dayan Viciedo LF, Conor Gillaspie 3B, Alexei Ramirez SS, Tyler Flowers C.
◆ Bench: Alejandro De Aza OF, Paul Konerko DH-1B, Leury Garcia IF, Adrian Nieto C, although it’s possible Konerko and/or De Aza could start Monday against the Twins.
◆ DL: Beckham, Keppinger.
Earlier Friday, right-handed reliever Javy Guerra was outrighted to Class AAA Charlotte, two days after he was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Guerra, who owns a 4-5 record with 29 saves and a 2.90 ERA over parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, spent most of last season with Class AAA Albuquerque.
He reported to the Sox’ spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz., on Friday.
Guerra, 28, was out of options, and because of the timing of the Sox’ request that he go to Charlotte, he could have gone through waivers again, but any team that claimed him would have had to place him on their Opening Day roster. “We potentially have another arm in the organization who can help us at some point during the season,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said.
NOTES: According to one oddsmaker, the Sox are the fourth-best team in the five-team AL Central. Here are Bovada’s odds to win the division: Detroit Tigers 4-to-9, Kansas City Royals 9-2, Cleveland Indians 11-1, Sox 12-1 Minnesota Twins 25-1.
◆ Jose Quintana pitched in a minor-league game in Glendale and Erik Johnson will do the same on Saturday. Quintana is third in the Sox rotation, Johnson fourth.
◆ The Sox will work out at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
◆ Former American Idol Gina Glocksen will sing the national anthem and 2014 Olympic bobsled bronze medalist and South Side native Aja Evans will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Monday’s opener.