Levine: Lindstrom Relishing Closer’s Role
By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) For now, Matt Lindstrom will be the White Sox closer.
Lindstrom got his first save of the season in the home opener Monday and left his manager impressed.
“He did a good job,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “We have confidence in him. It is not anything you feel you have to declare. He is going to be the guy to get in there most often in the ninth, unless something is up. I would see it as him being the guy.”
The mentality of closing is often debated but not easily defined, but Lindstrom believes a gruff-and-somewhat-distant persona is a necessary requisite for closing success.
“You really have to have the intensity and fire about you,” Lindstrom said. ” You have to have a mean exterior about you. Closing is about getting those last three outs. That is the most important thing.”
The 34-year-old Lindstrom had 45 career saves entering this season. He has been a primary set-up man for the White Sox, pitching in a career-high 76 games last year. A veteran of six major league teams, the righty relishes the closing role he has been presented with.
“This is a great challenge because there is no one pitching after you,” he said. “If there are, then you have blown the assignment.”
Although there were numerous candidates for Chicago’s closing role, it appears the slow start Nate Jones got off to after his injury was part of the reason the White Sox went with the veteran Lindstrom.
Lindstrom also had his own injury woes during the Cactus League schedule, as an oblique strain slowed him at times in spring training.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised to get the closing job,” Lindstrom said. “I was hoping for that decision. I have been working on a new pitch this off season, and it has paid dividends so far.”
What could be termed the “Don Cooper pitch” — after the White Sox pitching coach — is a cut fastball, which Lindsrom has added to his arsenal of pitches.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.