GLENDALE, Ariz. – The White Sox haven't seen as much from Daniel Webb in the majors as some of the other candidates for their closer job.
Webb made nine appearances with the Sox in September, posting a 3.18 ERA in 111/3 innings. But the 24-year-old right-hander has shown enough of an edge that the Sox have thrown his name in the mix for the job — or at least a spot in the bullpen — with more experienced pitchers such as Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom.
"There's something about it competitively, just his fire when he's out there," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's not afraid of anything, and he has good stuff. He has a lot of things that people would put him into that category — velocity, control, the fearlessness he had when he was up last year that guys with a lot of experience have.
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"Coming down here, he's in a different role. … It'll be interesting to see how he progresses through the spring, but he did a lot of interesting things for us when he came up. So he has put his name right in the hat to be in the running for a spot in the bullpen."
Webb is flattered his name is being tossed around as a closer possibility, but he has a broader goal.
"I'm not showing up like, 'I want to get the closer role,' " Webb said. "I just want to make the team, and whatever they want to do with me would be great because I'd be up there playing."
Webb said it "all started to click" during his run through three levels of the minors last season, when he was 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA and 10-for-11 on save opportunities in 42 relief appearances.
"It was more of a command thing for me, commanding my off-speed (pitches) and throwing my secondary pitches for strikes," Webb said. "Not just having the fastball, having more pitches mixed in there, that was the biggest key."
Opening a door: Ventura said he thinks Major League Baseball could welcome its first openly gay player soon and doesn't believe it would be an issue in the clubhouse.
"I'm sure I played with (a gay player)," Ventura said, addressing the possibility in light of NFL prospect Michael Sam's announcement this month that he is gay. "I'm not naive enough to think it didn't happen. But to have it openly in the locker room, I don't see it as big an issue as it has been in the past.
"It would be like anything. It would take the first person to come out and say it, but then you adjust. I don't think it would be a big change as far as the way guys are and the way the game is right now."
Taking the fifth: Ventura said right-hander Andre Rienzo, the Sox's fifth starter in the final two months of 2013, is "sitting outside of the rotation, could work his way in there." Felipe Paulino and Erik Johnson are penciled into the final two spots.