Not many surprises as Sox set roster
Swisher gives way to Wise in Game 1, will start Friday
ST. PETERSBURG -- Nick Swisher was not in the White Sox starting lineup on Thursday for the American League Division Series opener against the Rays.
Despite Dewayne Wise's three-run home run in the top of the third and his dead-on throw from left field to almost nail Akinori Iwamura at the plate in the bottom of the frame, Ozzie Guillen plans to start Swisher in left for Friday night's game. Guillen wants the switch-hitting Swisher to face southpaw Scott Kazmir.
That day-to-day status figures to follow Swisher throughout the rest of the playoffs. He certainly was included on the White Sox 25-man playoff roster, officially announced Thursday morning, but he no longer will be considered a starter until next spring in Arizona.
"Next year? He's got his position back," said Guillen of Swisher. "But right now. ... I might put the wrong guy out there, but I don't make the decision about myself from one day to another.
"I put Wise out there for a couple days, and he did a very good job. He's got something we need. I don't say he beat him out, but he's going to be a platoon player for the next couple days, at least to the end."
Jerry Owens earned the final outfield slot, as the roster announcement had no surprises from what was reported on Wednesday, with Guillen having the ability to use the fleet-footed left-handed hitter as a pinch-runner late in games. Josh Fields serves as the team's lone utility infielder, although the White Sox have the benefit of flexibility with starting third baseman Juan Uribe and second baseman Alexei Ramirez. Uribe can play shortstop and second, while Ramirez can pay at shortstop, third and in the outfield.
Seven relievers will back up the starting four of Javier Vazquez, Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd, with Clayton Richard and Adam Russell chosen over Mike MacDougal, Boone Logan, Horacio Ramirez and Ehren Wassermann. Richard will be used in middle relief, as well as a left-handed specialist.
"Clayton has been throwing the ball good for us, and we feel like he's the one who deserves to be on the team to help us," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "With Adam, he's big and strong and has a good live arm. He can be a little intimidating, at times."
"At least it's more fun when you throw 95 mph. You scare somebody," added Guillen of Russell. "This kid's going to be here next year; I'm going to give him an opportunity to be in that situation."
Swisher figures to be back with the White Sox in 2009 and beyond, as the team has him locked in through '11 and holds a $10.25 million option for '12. But Guillen isn't playing for next year, and it's Wise who gives him the best option to win -- or at least a platoon of the two.
"He has to play every day, but this series? Yes," said Guillen of using Swisher and his .219 average part-time.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.