Dallas Keuchel says White Sox’ pitching staff ‘most talented group’ he’s been with

“We have a chance to be really special this year,” Keuchel said.

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White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start the second game of the season Friday, against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start the second game of the season Friday, against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Dallas Keuchel pitched for the 2017 World Series champion Astros and four other teams that reached the postseason, so for him to say the White Sox’ staff might be the best one he has been on is saying something.

‘‘I’ve been fortunate to play for a few really, really good staffs, and it’s truly special to watch four other great starters and special pieces pitching from the bullpen every day,” Keuchel said after his final Cactus League start Sunday, a 7-4 Sox victory against the Diamondbacks. ‘‘I told the group we have a chance to be really special this year. This is probably my most talented group.’’

Lucas Giolito, Keuchel, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon make up the starting rotation. The bullpen is loaded with power arms, including Liam Hendriks, Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, Codi Heuer, Michael Kopech, Garrett Crochet and Matt Foster.

“Just the bullpen itself, there is no real question mark,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘We’ve got guns from the fifth inning on. If somebody comes in from the fifth inning on to bridge that thing, you’ve got 95 [mph]-plus. Not a lot of teams have that ability.’’

Keuchel, the softest tosser on the staff, allowed two runs and five hits, struck out four and walked none in five innings.

‘‘I touched on everything I wanted to do,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘My body feels like I pitched a full game. I’m ready. I’m excited.’’

Final roster spots

The injuries to outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Adam Engel might have given Billy Hamilton a spot on the Opening Day roster and made it easier to include both Jonathan Lucroy and Zack Collins as backup catchers. Lucroy and Collins also would be available for designated-hitter duty if Andrew Vaughn plays left field.

The Opening Day roster likely will be set Monday or Tuesday.

‘‘You start talking [about] scenarios,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘Who’s [the Angels’] Opening Day pitcher? What would your lineup be? Need an outfielder or an infielder? An offensive player or defensive player? You try to build on scenarios that you start rating guys with their versatility. Boxes have gotta be checked.”

La Russa wasn’t ruling out outfielder Nick Williams, who has competed for a spot this spring. Danny Mendick figures to be the extra infielder, although Leury Garcia can play all the infield positions, too.

Garcia OK

With the bigger outfield expanses to cover in Anaheim and Seattle, Garcia or Hamilton — both of whom are much swifter than Vaughn — might be sound options defensively. Garcia missed the last two days because of a sore shoulder, but it bothered him more hitting than throwing, and he should be fine.

‘‘I think he took too many swings,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘I watched him when he took batting practice, hitting the ball all over the field. I think we’re fine with that.’’

This and that

On the day off Monday, Lynn will throw 90 to 95 pitches in a simulated setting. Rodon’s day is Wednesday, when the Sox travel to Anaheim. He’ll stay back with a catcher for a similar workday, La Russa said, before they drive together to join the team.

• The Sox (12-11-5) are 11-3-2 in their last 16 spring games.

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