GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Robin Ventura said the world might not know who his closer is until the ninth inning on Friday -- assuming the Sox need one against the Texas Rangers on opening day.
"Hopefully when we're winning in the ninth in the first game,'' Ventura said Monday when asked when his decision will be known.
"I will know and they will know,'' Ventura said. "I don't really feel the need to tell everybody and make a statement about it. I don't see a need to do it.''
Ventura has been saying he'd make it known when the Sox are in Houston Tuesday and Wednesday for exhibition games. Ventura said he hasn't decided.
"We have an idea, I don't want to say it right now,'' he said.
Veterans Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, and rookies Hector Santiago and Addison Reed are the possibilities. Thornton, an All-Star setup man in 2010, had the job out of camp last season and lost it . After he gave up two singles and two walks Sunday -- while Santiago (0.90 ERA) threw a perfect inning -- Ventura might be having a hard time not giving the job Santiago. Ventura said he has no qualms about giving it to a rookie.
"No. He's definitely a possibility,'' Ventura said of Santiago. "So is Addison, Matt and Jesse. I feel good with the back end of our bullpen.''
"I'm impressed,'' Ventura said of Santiago. " Not just his ability but how how he carries himself. His personality ... he's been fun to watch.''
If Ventura is leaning toward Santiago, it's possible he's holding off on announcing it to avoid putting a lot of attention on the rookie leading up to the opener.