Milledge and Lillibridge Each Making Their Case
In a 7-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night, Gavin Floyd (7 IP, 3 ER), Adam Dunn (HR, 2b, 3 RBI) and Carlos Quentin (HR No. 5 this spring) all showed they’re ready for the regular season to begin, but the most exciting competition of camp reached a new level as Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge both had exceptional games as they compete for the final bench spot on the Chicago White Sox 25-man roster.
Lillibridge hit a leadoff home run and made a nice diving catch in left field in the second inning, but Milledge, playing center field, responded in the third by gunning down David Winfree at the plate to end the inning.
Milledge later came up in a 4-3 game with runners on second and third with one out and drilled a double to deep left-center, extending the lead to 6-3. Lillibridge finished with two hits, but reached base four times, scored two runs and stole a base.
Milledge is hitting .320 (16-for-50) in Cactus League play with a .444 on-base percentage. He has four homers and 12 RBI. Lillibridge is hitting .244 (11-for-45) with a .286 OBP and 10 RBI, but has a positive rapport with the team.
Furthermore, Lillibridge is out of minor league options. This means if he doesn’t make the roster, he will be placed on waivers, and there’s a slim-to-none chance that he’ll make it through waivers…lots of teams will want a scrappy kid like him.
While most signs point to Milledge as the guy, don’t be surprised if Lillibridge sneaks in and grabs the spot, just because the Sox want to protect their assets. Milledge can go to the minors, and has even said he’s willing to do so (he’s just happy to have a job this season), and can be called up when he’s needed.
This is the definition of a “baseball move.”
Also of note, Brent Morel had three more hits Friday night and has very quietly raised his average to .317.