GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox trimmed their Major League roster to 41 players Wednesday, as they optioned catcher Rob Brantly to Triple-A Charlotte and reassigned shortstop Juan Diaz and outfielder Courtney Hawkins to Minor League camp.
Hawkins, ranked No. 9 on the White Sox top prospects list, stood out this spring, hitting .412 with four homers and an .853 slugging percentage. But with the season fast approaching, the South Siders will likely shift to giving their regulars a bigger workload, leaving fewer at-bats for Hawkins.
"He's probably made the biggest strides of anybody we've seen in the last couple of years as far as coming over here and just listening, paying attention, getting an opportunity and doing something with that opportunity," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Hawkins. "He's done well. As far as going into this season, this is a big jump for him as far as confidence. … He just has to keep that going."
Brantly, meanwhile, hit just .167 in 12 spring games. He didn't play in the Majors in 2014, after spending parts of the previous two years with Miami. Brantly's being optioned leaves three catchers on the White Sox roster -- Tyler Flowers, Geovany Soto and George Kottaras.
Diaz batted .250 in 13 games this spring. He hit .278 for Miami's Triple-A affiliate New Orleans last season.
In other White Sox news …
• Right-handed starter Hector Noesi threw 5 2/3 innings in a Minor League game against the Reds on Wednesday afternoon, allowing three runs on eight hits. Noesi surrendered two runs in the first, but escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting an inning-ending double play. He didn't run into any more trouble until he allowed a leadoff homer in the sixth.
Noesi, who currently projects as the No. 4 starter until Chris Sale returns to the rotation, seemed to be working his offspeed stuff relatively frequently. He threw 87 pitches -- 60 of them strikes -- and probably has two more starts before he makes his regular-season debut.
• The White Sox unveiled plans for a portion of seats at U.S. Cellular Field to be dubbed the "Shark Cage" when Jeff Samardzija pitches this season. Sections 154 and 155 -- more than 930 seats -- will be dedicated to Samardzija, and fans will be given a hat and a fin-shaped strikeout sign.
This is in addition to Chris Sale's "K Zone."
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.