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White Sox ready for the inevitable during spring training change of plans

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 10:06 a.m. CST

(MCT) — GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago White Sox have learned over the years that their spring training script doesn’t always follow their preferred plans.

And with spring training extended by one week because of the World Baseball Classic, the opportunities for changes could increase for several reasons.

Manager Robin Ventura plans to use the extra time to evaluate all his players, starting Tuesday with the workout for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch.

The changes in the catching department could run deeper than just the fact that projected starter Tyler Flowers has taken over the locker stall previous held by A.J. Pierzynski. The Sox announced Monday that Hector Gimenez, targeted to be Flowers’ backup, will report late because of visa issues in his native Venezuela.

That could open an opportunity for left-handed hitter Bryan Anderson, who played parts of 2010 and 2012 with the Cardinals. This wouldn’t be the first time the catching plans could be altered in spring training. A shoulder injury to Toby Hall during the final week of March allowed Gustavo Molina to make the 2006 opening-day roster, and non-roster invitee Chris Widger beat out backup Ben Davis the previous spring.

The Sox’s bullpen was fortified last month by the signing of Matt Lindstrom, but Jesse Crain’s participation with Canada in the WBC will give Ventura and his staff a longer look at the likes of Jhan Marinez and Brian Omogrosso, whom each impressed during brief stints in 2012.

The Sox likely will carry 12 pitchers on their opening-day roster, thus increasing the competition for the lone backup infield job. Rule 5 pick Angel Sanchez is believed to have the inside track, but a strong comeback from injury-plagued third baseman Brent Morel could at least give the Sox a reason to move Jeff Keppinger to other infield positions, increase Morel’s value or put more scrutiny on second baseman Gordon Beckham.

Extra innings: The Sox’s first workout isn’t scheduled to start until about 11:30 a.m. because of physical examinations and meetings. ... Reliever Deunte Heath will arrive late because of his expectant wife. ... The Sox’s spring training caps will sport a silver bill. ... Outfielder Jared Mitchell switched numbers from 82 to 29.

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