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WSI News - News Watch

Sox trim roster to 28

By Jimmy Greenfield, MLB.com

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The White Sox reduced their Spring Training roster to 28 Monday as they optioned 3B Joe Crede to Triple-A Charlotte and waived OF Brian Simmons among their six roster moves.

Also optioned to Charlotte were RHP Matt Ginter and C Miguel Olivo. IF Tim Hummel was reassigned to minor league camp and RHP Rocky Biddle was put on the 15-day disabled list as he continues his rehab from shoulder surgery last September.

Despite hitting .380 and having an outstanding camp defensively, Sox manager Jerry Manuel said he preferred to have Crede playing every day at Charlotte than wasting away on the Sox bench.

Crede won MVP awards at Single-A Winston Salem in 1998 and at Double-A Birmingham in 2000.

Last season, after hitting .276 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs in 463 at-bats at Charlotte, he hit .220 with no homers and seven RBIs in a September stint with the Sox.

"(Crede) is a guy that's in the same situation as Aaron Rowand was in last year," Manuel said. "We'd like to see him get a lot of at-bats. In case anything happens we wouldn't hesitate to give him a shot yet."

Starting 3B Jose Valentin is not going to need much time off and when he does bench players Tony Graffanino and Jeff Liefer are capable of backing him up.

LHP Jim Parque is among the 28 left in camp, though he is destined for Charlotte to try and build up his velocity and wait for a spot in the Sox rotation to open up.

The three contenders for the final roster spot are LHP Mike Porzio, IF/OF Willie Harris and C Josh Paul.

The 29-year-old Porzio, whose only Major League time was a 16-game stint with Colorado in 1999, is the only pitcher remaining in camp who is not assured of a roster spot. If the Sox elect to take 12 pitchers he would get the nod.

The 29-year-old Porzio, whose only Major League time was a 16-game stint with Colorado in 1999, is the only pitcher remaining in camp who is not assured of a roster spot. If the Sox elect to take 12 pitchers he would get the nod.

Harris, who arrived from Baltimore in January for Chris Singleton, has struggled both in center field and at second base but is hitting .301 with three homers and 12 RBIs and has six stolen bases without getting caught.

Paul appears destined for Charlotte unless the Sox decided Sandy Alomar, Jr. isn't healthy enough and they need to carry three catchers.

It's been hinted at for several days that Mark Johnson will be the backup, as Manuel has even discussed giving Johnson an Opening Day start.

Johnson, who was beaten out by Paul for the backup job last spring, is hitting .370 while Paul is hitting .276.

Simmons, a defensive specialist who was claimed off waivers from Toronto in November less than a year after he was dealt by the Sox to the Blue Jays, hit .182 this spring, striking out 10 times in 33 at-bats.

Manuel said it was hard to release Simmons, who he described as "an original White Sox guy." Simmons was selected in the second round of the 1995 draft by the Sox and was set to open both the 1999 and 2000 seasons as their starting center fielder.

However, Simmons lacerated his left palm in 1999 and lost his job to Chris Singleton, and then suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury the following spring.

"I probably didn't give him enough starts," Manuel said. "He played sporadically but we personally didn't see the same player that we saw two years ago."



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