GLENDALE, Ariz. Right-hander Nestor Molina, the high-end pitching prospect acquired from the Blue Jays in the somewhat surprising trade of 2011 closer Sergio Santos, left general manager Ken Williams feeling good about the deal.
Molina was optioned to AA Birmingham last week, but he will likely be seen in a White Sox uniform this season.
"If it were up to the coaching staff they would probably carry Molina on this club,'' Williams said. "But we think he has such a bright future as a starter, he needs at least to get through a half year and get some innings in. We'll see how he's doing at that point.''
After getting rocked for five runs in 1 1/3 innings by the Dodgers in the first Cactus League game, Molina made two scoreless appearances.
"His stuff, pitchability, ability to throw strikes, and throw the changeup in any count'' impressed the Sox GM.
To Molina's credit, he did not become unglued after his bad outing. Like Santos, the 23-year-old Venezuelan is a converted position player. His minor league numbers are impressive: 27-7 with a 2.21 ERA with a 277-47 strikeouts to walks ratio. Pitch command is his calling card.
Baseball America ranks Molina as the No. 2 prospect in the organization.