Sands' addition wraps up White Sox roster

Sands' addition wraps up White Sox roster

SAN DIEGO -- The White Sox 25-man roster all but officially was set on Friday night, with manager Robin Ventura naming Jerry Sands as the fourth bench player. Sands earned the final nod over non-roster invite Travis Ishikawa, with Matt Davidson and Carlos Sanchez also in the mix.

"Those aren't easy decisions," Ventura said. "But knowing what your roster needs to be and what you think you're going to need, he's the guy you end up taking."

Sands, 28, joined the White Sox as a free agent on Dec. 23, 2015. He's a right-handed hitter with a little bit of pop and a career .292 average against southpaws. He has played 101 games in the outfield and 18 at first base.

White Sox depth chart

Monday's game against the Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz., actually featured Sands playing briefly at third base. Sands said the Dodgers had talked about converting him to third base a few years back, and during a recent offseason, he focused on the particulars of that goal by working with some of the Dodgers' coaches in Arizona.

He also takes ground balls at third base because it makes him focus a little more on footwork.

"Besides Scottsdale, I haven't played third," Sands said. "Back in 2010 or '11 is the last time I really played. I can handle it, obviously, if I needed to go out there. I'm going to take ground balls everywhere."

"If we need somebody to come off the bench and hit a lefty, we've got him to be able to do it," Ventura said. "In the past, we have not had that great of a look from that side if they bring in a lefty from the bullpen. He does a lot of things we've been looking for, and we've played against him enough that we've seen him."

Sands joins a bench that features Dioner Navarro, Tyler Saladino and J.B. Shuck. The rotation already has been set with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Friday's starter Mat Latos and John Danks, while the team goes with seven relievers at the outset of the season.

That relief alignment could be re-evaluated when the White Sox begin 19 games in 19 days on April 13.

"We could do that any time," Ventura said. "For where we're starting and how we're leaving Spring Training, that's the decision we came to, and we feel that's our best shot coming out of Spring Training. That's the squad. There is never going to be a time Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] doesn't ask for 13 pitchers. That will always be there."

Adam LaRoche's retirement opened up a spot for Sands on the bench, which might not have been there otherwise.

"You come in and have the expectation to make the team. You have to have that regardless of your situation in every camp," Sands said. "I came into camp and have done it the last few years with new teams, kind of show them what you got and go from there.

"Obviously I didn't have the greatest camp in the world. But I felt like I accomplished a few things I wanted to even though the numbers didn't show it."

Davidson and Sanchez were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday, and Ishikawa figures to be reassigned to Charlotte following Saturday's contest. 

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.