Sanchez continues to improve on offense

Second baseman boasts .276 average in July, entering Thursday's game

Sanchez continues to improve on offense

CLEVELAND -- Carlos Sanchez entered Thursday's series opener against the Indians hitting .200, which is not an average he aspires to achieve or one that shows anywhere close to his capabilities.

But considering that the 23-year-old switch-hitter was batting .162 as recently as July 6 and .141 on June 20, it's a sign that Sanchez once again has found something that works for him at the plate.

"I'm feeling very comfortable," said Sanchez, through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo. "My confidence is coming back since I've started to hit a little bit better. I feel very good right now. I'm playing good and helping the team."

Sanchez arrived with the White Sox prior to the series in Oakland on May 15, with the team looking for a bit more defensive stability at second base. But Sanchez also brought with him a .344 average over 137 plate appearances for Triple-A Charlotte, so the sort of offensive dropoff that followed was not expected.

"I was surprised because as a player you're going to struggle sometimes," Sanchez said. "But I was feeling good and suddenly I couldn't hit. I kept working and now I'm glad the results are good with me because it was a tough time."

Sanchez made changes to his stance and tried to be a little bit more ready when the pitchers would throw. Those adjustments have translated to a .276 average in July and making him a viable threat at the bottom of the order.

Struggling for the first time as a professional at the big league level is a tough challenge to handle. But Sanchez, who actually broke camp with the team as a utility player despite Micah Johnson winning the starting job at second, seems to have battled through the worst-case scenario.

"I've been able to do that because of all the changes," said Sanchez, who is hitting .326 with a .341 on-base percentage over his last 12 games. "Especially when I'm ready early, because before when pitchers threw me a fastball, they wanted to because I couldn't get my bat ahead of the ball. Now I feel better and I'm hitting the ball well, ahead of home plate"

"You have to be able to control the strike zone, swing at fastballs that are on the plate," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He was chasing stuff, trying to impress instead of playing the game. Now he's somewhat more relaxed when he goes to the plate and you see him have better at-bats. Late in games he's been pretty good. His at-bats just look better and he's more competitive now, going to the plate feeling like he can do something."

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.