Later the better for new White Sox reliever Alex Colome
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he has multiple options in his bullpen to close games, and while he mentioned newcomers Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera and veteran Nate Jones, the best bet to get the most save opportunities would be Colome.
Colome, for one, would welcome it.
“I like to pitch with the game on the line, when I can feel the adrenaline running through my veins,’’ Colome said Wednesday. “That’s why I like the ninth. But if a big situation arises in the seventh or eighth, I would hope to feel the adrenaline. I don’t know how to do it when the adrenaline is not there. That’s why I prefer to pitch in the ninth.’’
Colome, 30, was the first pitcher in Rays history to lead the league in saves with 47 in 2017, a year after making the All-Star team. With the Mariners last season, he was a setup man for closer Edwin Diaz.
Pitching coach Don Cooper, when sizing up the bullpen recently, seemed to lean toward Colome as closer, although mixing and matching based on matchups is a possibility.
Show us the money
All the money saved that didn’t go to Manny Machado isn’t exactly burning a hole in Rick Hahn’s pocket, but he did say eventually it will be spent, although not necessarily this year.
A boatload of free agents remain available, and the Sox could add just about anywhere, with ample room in the outfield and in the rotation. And there are never enough good arms in the bullpen.
On the day Hahn and Co. lost out on Machado, he said he was on his phone working on potential additions.
“This isn’t money sitting around waiting to accumulate interest,’’ Hahn said. “It’s money to be deployed to put us in the best position to win some championships.’’
That means it might be better served a year from now, when the Sox’ young core of talent is closer to contributing to what they hope is a contender.
“A year from now, we will be in a better position to know more about our own guys and what’s available and where specific needs may lie and what we may have addressed,’’ Hahn said. “When we have that knowledge, that’s where this money is going to go. It’s going to serve us well in the long term to have this economic flexibility and might to make ourselves better.’’
The Sox went for it and lost in shooting for Machado as a long-term play.
“It did not work,’’ Hahn said, ‘‘but it does not change the fact that we are going to take advantage of those opportunities again when they arise in the coming years.’’
The Sox’ payroll projects to around $93 million to $95 million for 2019, with significantly less on the books for 2020.
Infielder Jose Rondon played some outfield in winter ball and is doing work in the outfield to expand his versatility.
Eloy Jimenez, viewed primarily as a left fielder, is also taking work in right.
“We wouldn’t mind him being comfortable in both positions,’’ Renteria said.
Minor-leaguers Donn Roach and Jordan Guerrero get the starting nods in Cactus League split/squad openers Saturday, Roach against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch and Guerrero against the Athletics in Mesa, Arizona. Bernardo Flores is scheduled to start Sunday against Manny Machado’s Padres in Peoria, Arizona.