White Sox tag Matt Thornton as their closer
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)
''I'm looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge of being the ninth-inning guy,'' said Thornton, who saved eight games in 2010, posting a 2.67 ERA in 61 appearances.
The 34-year-old signed a two-year extension for $12 million on March 6. He had a career-high 12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched last year in earning his first All-Star selection.
In handing Thornton the job, manager Ozzie Guillen also told him that he might to share closing duties at times.
''(Guillen) said, 'Look, you're our guy to start the season,''' Thornton said. '''And if you throw back to back days and we got a run of big righties coming up, we'll probably go with someone else in that situation.'''
Rookie southpaw Chris Sale, Thornton's primary competition for the job, was just glad to have the situation resolved.
''Now that we know Thornton is the guy at the end, our job is to get him the ball,'' Sale said. ''You get him the ball and you've got a chance to win.''
Sale was drafted last June and was called up to the majors in August. He had a 1.93 ERA, 32 strikeouts and four saves in 23 1-3 innings.