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Rotation math likely squeezes out Johnson, Turner

Latos' addition forces pair of hurlers down depth chart
MLB.com @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Erik Johnson and Jacob Turner know the layout of the White Sox starting rotation without being reminded.

Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and John Danks look to be locks for the starting five, with Mat Latos recently joining the group via a one-year, $3 million deal. Simple math leaves no apparent openings.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Erik Johnson and Jacob Turner know the layout of the White Sox starting rotation without being reminded.

Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and John Danks look to be locks for the starting five, with Mat Latos recently joining the group via a one-year, $3 million deal. Simple math leaves no apparent openings.

Slow Sale-ing for White Sox ace this spring

But those numbers aren't stopping these two young hurlers from focusing on their work during Spring Training.

"It's really noise to me," a confident Johnson said. "You go through your routine, you do what you've got to do, and you control what you can control."

"Ultimately, I'm just looking for a spot that I can go out and compete and show what I can do," Turner said. "That's basically all anybody in this room is looking for."

• White Sox Spring Training information

Video: Robin Ventura on preparing the pitching staff

Pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Robin Ventura announced Friday that Sale won't be pitching in a Cactus League game until March 19, using bullpen sessions, simulated games and a Minor League contest or two to help increase his pitch count. Cooper also doesn't plan on using certain pitchers against the A's or the Indians, with the White Sox playing seven games against them in the first week of the season.

Plenty of chances exist for Johnson and Turner to start in Cactus League games. The White Sox also could opt for a long reliever breaking camp, keeping Johnson and Turner in the mix. If nothing else, these two stand as important insurance for the White Sox as the season progresses.

"You have to be prepared for things to go sideways sometimes: whether it's under-performance or DLs or just even a scheduling of doubleheaders and such that disrupts a normal five-man rotation," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "How we start on Opening Day in terms of who the five we are going to roll out for the first five games isn't necessarily how we are going to wind up. From our standpoint, if we have quality depth or access, that's a positive or something we are going to draw upon."

Video: Merkin analyzes the White Sox chances in 2016

Latos is working his way back from a sore left knee, and Turner is coming back from a stress fracture in his right elbow that limited him to two Minor League starts last season. So the first priority is make sure they are 100 percent. Turner also is out of options.

Johnson, meanwhile, fought his way through a miserable 2014 campaign to win International League Pitcher of the Year in '15 and put himself firmly back in the White Sox plans. He's ready to build on that confidence, regardless of the roster permutations.

"In our minds, there's a chance for all seven of those guys and others even to contribute at some point over the course of the year," Hahn said.

"My objective never changes," Johnson said. "Whether it be bullpen, catch, game, side, whatever, it's I'm on the attack, I'm aggressive and it's good stuff going at the glove."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, John Danks, Erik Johnson, Mat Latos, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Chris Sale, Jacob Turner