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WSI News - News Watch

Sox nab Aztec closer

Keith Foulke just happened to be listening to sports radio in his car Tuesday afternoon when he heard the White Sox had chosen San Diego State closer Royce Ring with the 18th pick in the first round of the amateur draft.

As soon as he got to the ballpark, Foulke was bombarded with questions about his future as the Sox's closer.

"I'll start packing my stuff and give my locker to him," Foulke said with a laugh.

Foulke doesn't have to pack his suitcase just yet, but the Sox did draft Ring with the idea of developing him into a major-league closer. The 21-year-old left-hander went 5-1 with 17 saves during his junior year, recording a 1.85 earned-run average and striking out 54 men in 39 innings.

Sox scouting director Doug Laumann said the 6-foot, 215-pound Ring could be placed on "the fast track to the big leagues," though Ring is not in the Sox's immediate plans.

"He was not drafted with the thought of helping the major-league club this year," general manager Ken Williams said.

Ring, ranked 16th among pitchers on Baseball America's list of top draft prospects, throws a two-seam fastball that averages 88-91 m.p.h., plus a curve and a changeup. How long does he expect to pitch in the minors?

"That's up to the White Sox," he said. "Hopefully I come out of the chute ready to go. I keep my weight training and conditioning going to get me ready to be as close to where I want to be. I'm not expecting the Sox to [bring] me up in the next week. I'll just go play hard and hopefully do well. That's a good idea for me."

For complete story, click here.



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