The White Sox can’t officially announce their final moves before leaving Glendale, but it seems the word is out:
–Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge have both made the 25-man roster as the South Siders have decided, at least for now, to go with an 11-man pitching staff.
–Jeff Marquez, thought to have secured the “seventh spot” in the bullpen, has been placed on waivers. Since he is out of options, he needs to clear the waiver wire before he returns to the Sox organization. This means that Philip Humber will fill the “fifth starter/long man out of the bullpen” role for the time being.
–Jake Peavy (shoulder) and Dayan Viciedo (thumb) will start the season on the disabled list.
Sox play the Reds this afternoon, their last game at Camelback Ranch this spring. They travel to Surprise to play the Royals tomorrow, then break camp and head to Winston-Salem to face their Class A farm club there. After a day off Thursday, it’s Opening Day vs. the Tribe in Cleveland.
When the Mets selected outfielder Lastings Milledge as their No.1 pick in the 2003 draft, they expected him to be the club’s star of the future. Like so many major league draft picks, he was eventually deemed expendable and was traded to the Nationals after the 2007 season. Washington, in turn, dealt him to the Pirates in June of 2009.
After a season and a half in Pittsburgh, Milledge’s contract was declined by the Bucs after last season–presumably for a variety of reasons which include a history of average (at best) production, injuries and attitude problems. As a result, the one-time “can’t miss” prospect became a free agent at the tender age of 25.
A free agent, that is, until today when the White Sox signed him to a minor league deal. With Alejandro De Aza the only reserve outfielder listed on the roster, the Sox apparently think Milledge can be a contender for the fourth outfielder role (potential super-sub Mark Teahen, Brent Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo are in the picture as well). A righthanded hitter, the newest signee batted .277 last year, but .320 with a .926 OPS against lefties.
Milledge certainly hasn’t come close to the expectations placed on him when he was drafted. But, in my opinion, the Sox have done the right thing in making this move. Hopefully somewhere within Milledge there’s a star waiting to break out.