Sanchez not letting offense affect defense

Sanchez not letting offense affect defense

ARLINGTON -- After he lost the starting battle to Micah Johnson out of Spring Training, switch-hitting second baseman Carlos Sanchez had a .344 batting average for Triple-A Charlotte when the White Sox called him up to take over at the position on May 15, when Johnson was sent down.

That offensive success has not translated to the big league level, with Sanchez producing a .177 average since his arrival.

But offense clearly wasn't the first priority for the team when Sanchez was moved into an everyday role.

"We brought him here with the expectation he was going to help stabilize the infield defense," said general manager Rick Hahn of the 22-year-old Sanchez. "He's absolutely done that, and he's lived up to our expectations in that regard.

"Hitting out of the nine-hole in the lineup, it's not on him to carry the offense, so to speak. He got a couple of key hits along the way, he's grinded out a few at-bats and he's shown you he can be a tough out. As he gets more comfortable at this level, you're going to see more and more of that. But really, his job, his first job here, was to help stabilize the defense, and I think he's followed through on that."

Sanchez backed up Hahn's comments on Wednesday by delivering a two-run single off Nick Martinez after Tyler Flowers struck out with the bases loaded, sparking a six-run second in a 9-2 victory over the Rangers. He feels confident at the plate, even if the results aren't consistent.

"This is the big league level. You have to learn and make adjustments," Sanchez said. "I just try to keep working hard, and the base hits will be coming."

"He has a little more in there than what we've seen," manager Robin Ventura said. "Being a switch-hitter, coming up there I know he expects more out of himself, and eventually that will happen. But he's got some tough at-bats for us. Not where he wants it, but he can put the bat on the ball and get himself offensively, too."

Sanchez has also shown an underlying maturity in not letting his offense affect his defense.

"That's never going to happen," Sanchez said. "I think the best of me is my defense. I don't want to take my [at-bats] to the field. I try to help the team with whatever I can do, and I think I'm playing really good defense right now. So I try to go hard on defense and hitting."

"You're seeing the fluidity," said Ventura. "He has some plays up the middle, he's got good hands there. He's a pretty heady player. Ever since we've seen him in the Minor Leagues, that's always been his reputation that he's a cagey player that understands where he is and where he's going."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.