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Mitchell closes in on majors

GLENDALE, Ariz. – At 24 years old, White Sox former first-round draft pick Jared Mitchell is finally approaching the big leagues.

Mitchell, the 23rd overall pick in 2009, still needs to hit for a better average and cut down his strikeouts. But the outfielder possesses the all-around tools to become an impact player on the Sox, potentially at some point this season. Mitchell is staying focused on trying to improve his game and wait for the call.

“Pro ball is something new to me, like it is to everyone that comes in here,” Mitchell said. “There was no sort of timetable or plan however it goes. I just work every day to try to get better every day.

“I feel like if I’m not utilizing my whole game with the skill set that I have, I’m not fulfilling my potential really.”

Mitchell missed the 2010 season after a gruesome ankle injury during spring training. Giving Mitchell at-bats remains a priority for the Sox, which is why he will start the season at Triple-A Charlotte, barring something strange happening, general manager Rick Hahn said.

“Our plan from the start has always been to get him out there playing in games,” Hahn said. “ … Instead he’ll be playing on an everyday basis at Charlotte, pushing us to hopefully bring him up based on his performance as the season goes on.”

Reed not resting on laurels: Reliever Addison Reed could have reported to camp under the expectation he is the Sox’s closer.

But that’s not the situation. Despite recording 29 saves last season, Reed is approaching spring training as if he must win the job again. Manager Robin Ventura appreciates Reed’s philosophy and said “he’s hungry.” For Reed, he just wants to prove he’s still the most worthy for the position.

“I don’t think I have that position on lock at all,” Reed said. “I will do what I did last spring training and try to get that closer spot. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and all I ever dreamed of, so I’m going to try and get that spot again this year.”

Crain eager to play in WBC: For the third time in his career, Jesse Crain is representing Canada in the World Baseball Classic and the 31-year-old right-hander is embracing the opportunity.

Crain will report March 3, and though he will miss time with the Sox, he doesn’t believe the absence will affect him. He will pitch in two or three games with the Sox ahead of the WBC.

“For a bullpen guy, it’s a lot easier,” Crain said. “I’ll throw an inning at a time. I won’t throw two days in a row. I’ll get three games in before I go, so it’s not going to be too much different. Whenever I go out there, whether it’s spring training or in a regular game, I go out with the same intensity no matter what.”

• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at mmontemurro@shawmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter: @M_Montemurro.

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