Roster decisions coming down to wire

Roster decisions coming down to wire

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Ozzie Guillen's plan is to have his 25-man roster set two or three days before the team breaks camp next Thursday, in order to play the same lineup a few days in a row.

The White Sox manager is finding that exact goal to be easier said than done.

"It's all over the place. I got five different lineups, but that's a good problem to have," said Guillen after Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the Padres. "And like I told [general manager] Kenny [Williams], we got to be patient.

"One morning we talk about somebody, and then we change our minds. That's why we have to be patient about it, because we have tough decisions this year."

Third base appears to be the toughest decision, although also the most clear-cut. If Joe Crede is not traded, then he remains the team's starter and Josh Fields begins the year with Triple-A Charlotte.

There's also one relief spot open, a battle between Nick Masset and Ehren Wassermann, with Wassermann allowing one run over 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday. The second-base job appears to belong to either Juan Uribe or Alexei Ramirez, but Ramirez's athletic versatility might provide the White Sox an option as a utility player.

Ramirez will start in center again on Wednesday against the Rockies, after finishing at shortstop on Tuesday. The question for Ramirez is whether he will get enough at-bats to succeed off the bench.

"That's the question Kenny asked me today," Guillen said. "To tell you the truth, it makes for a tough situation because

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I don't care if I give him at-bats or not. I care about winning games this year. And if we think this guy can help us win some games this year, who cares about next year?

"My position is to get him the most at-bats we can. We want to see him. We know he can play center field, shortstop and the second-base part, but we got to find ways to start games and get innings out there."

Using Ramirez in center could leave out Brian Anderson, who is a natural at that particular position. But Anderson has played quite a bit in both left and right this spring, keeping him on an even playing field with Carlos Quentin.

Making the tough call between Ramirez, Anderson and Quentin will go deep into this week, according to Guillen.

"Everyone needs to be on the same page when we make that decision," Guillen said.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.