Additions of Nieto, Webb make roster all but official
Catcher, reliever on 25-man roster; newly acquired Guerra outrighted to Triple-A
CHICAGO -- Sunday has not quite yet arrived, when the White Sox must set their roster for the start of the 2014 season.
But with six moves made following Friday's 5-2 exhibition victory over Double-A Birmingham and one move made Friday afternoon, the roster is all but official.
The White Sox reassigned catcher Hector Gimenez, infielder Micah Johnson, infielder Alex Liddi, right-hander Zach Putnam, left-hander David Purcey and outfielder Blake Tekotte to Minor League camp, reducing their active roster to 27. That total includes 12 pitchers, two catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders.
Gordon Beckham (left oblique) and Jeff Keppinger (right shoulder impingement) will be placed on the disabled list prior to Monday's season opener at home against the Twins, reducing the active roster to 25.
These moves mean Adrian Nieto officially has gone from the Carolina League to the Major Leagues in the course of one offseason as the backup to catcher Tyler Flowers. Marcus Semien will start at second, Leury Garcia will play the utility-infield role and Daniel Webb becomes the seventh reliever.
Webb's status looked more and more certain Thursday, when Javy Guerra, who was claimed off waivers from the Dodgers on Wednesday, was not with the White Sox. General manager Rick Hahn cautioned that the addition of Guerra didn't necessarily mean anything automatic for Sunday's finalization, and that point became clear Friday when Guerra, 28, was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte.
Guerra has gone 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 29 saves over parts of three Major League seasons with the Dodgers. His top season came as a rookie in '11, when he finished with a 2.31 ERA and a team-best 21 saves over 47 appearances.
This newly acquired right-hander reported Friday to the White Sox Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., and then will join Charlotte. The move dropped the White Sox 40-man roster to 39 and opened the door for Webb, who profiles well at U.S. Cellular Field with the heavy sinker that he throws.
An official announcement at closer is about the only piece of news left for the '14 White Sox to cover. Although Nate Jones is the favorite, that information might not be divulged until the White Sox first have a lead in the ninth.
Being part of the Opening Day festivities will be an exciting moment for rookies such as Semien, Nieto and Webb.
"I'm excited for it," Semien said. "It's going to be way more people than Birmingham Opening Day or something like that. I've never been a part of one. I've never been to one as a kid, so I'm excited."
"I can't wait. I'm pumped to see all the great things I've heard [about Chicago]," Nieto said. "It's probably the best city in America."