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White Sox beat writer on the team's new manager, possible closers

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The White Sox are getting ready for a new era with manager Pedro Grifol at the helm.

CBS 2 Sports Director Marshall Harris spoke with White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin about what difference will be seen with Grifol replacing Tony La Russa.

Merkin: "I think it's just different styles. He's been a bench coach. He's run spring training. This is his first one as a manager though. I think they're just going to be looking at every little detail, everyway to maximize this team, because this is a big season for them, coming off a really disappointing season for them last year."

Harris: "Listening to Eloy Jimenez, it sounds like players, the staff may not be all on the same page just yet. Jimenez said he wants to play in the outfield. The thought was that he would [play as the designated hitter]."

Merkin: "Eloy's a 26-year-old kid, right? I tip my hat to guys like David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines, Jim Thome for some time – guys who DH well, because Jose Abreu hated DHing and Eloy does to. He doesn't want to DH full time at 26 years old. It makes sense, even though he found some level of success last year as a DH because they were protecting his hamstring that was surgically repaired. I think the one thing that's surprised me a little bit, and maybe it was the way we caught him in the Zoom, is that he didn't really acknowledge that he was going to be DH at all."

Harris: "Meanwhile, no Liam Hendriks. He's undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. We wish him all the best in his recovery."

Merkin: "Absolutely."

Harris: "In the meantime, the White Sox need someone to close these games, as the season starts."

Merkin: "First, I want to say, obviously, whether the person is a good guy, or not a great guy, you never want anyone to be sick. Liam Hendriks happens to be a great guy. If positive attitude is something that leads into this kind of battle to help you, I have a good feeling about both Liam and [his wife] Kristi getting through this. But you were talking about the baseball part of this. I think you have options. You have Reynaldo Lopez who was a started, one of the best starters they had back around 2018, 2019, and now looks like he could be a closer. Aaron Bummer could do that role. Kendall Graveman did close a little bit when Liam Hendriks was on the IL last year and Joe Kelly, if he's healthy, also can be a closer."

Grifol is excited about his first time managing a ball club. He's got his work cut out for him trying to get the White Sox back to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time in three seasons in 2022.

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