Alexei adding value with slick glove, hot bat

White Sox shortstop putting on defensive clinic after struggling early

Alexei adding value with slick glove, hot bat

CLEVELAND -- The Alexei Ramirez on display for the past month certainly has some trade value to any team looking for a quality veteran shortstop or second-base upgrade before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Then again, the Ramirez hitting .333 during July with a .363 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging percentage, is a player that's pretty valuable to the White Sox.

"Every year, you look at him and he goes through ruts," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Ramirez, following Friday night's 6-0 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field. "This one was a little bit extended.

Ramirez steals second

"But at the end of the year, you look up and he's right at the top of everybody at shortstop. Right now, it's probably that time where he's starting to click, not just offensively but also defensively."

Ramirez had everything working during the the South Siders' second straight victory over the Indians and within the American League Central. He cut short a rally in the third by fielding Michael Brantley's infield single and throwing behind Jason Kipnis at second, instead of trying to force the play at first. Kipnis turned too far around the base, and Carlos Sanchez tagged him for the inning's final out.

In the fifth, Ramirez knocked down Mike Aviles' line drive and then flipped between his legs with his glove to Sanchez to get the force at second on Giovanny Urshela. Add in his three hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases, and Ramirez received an unofficial save in Jose Quintana's first shutout and complete game.

Ramirez's two-run double

Credit goes to Ramirez for fighting out of this season-long funk, a spell coming off a 2014 campaign when he was a Louisville Silver Slugger Award winner and Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist. Ramirez shared that credit with the White Sox coaching staff postgame Friday, speaking about their support.

"I really appreciate all of the coaches having my back and supporting me," said Ramirez through catcher Geovany Soto. "I feel it's been working out good with all of the support they've given me.

"We had a talk and a meeting [in Detroit at the end of June] in a friendly way. They said we're going to continue to play hard, and that's what I'm doing."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for 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.