Saladino playing third at high level despite inexperience

Natural shortstop learning position on the fly

Saladino playing third at high level despite inexperience

CHICAGO -- When Tyler Saladino was a young baseball player, before he became a professional, he always thought being No. 1 on ESPN's daily Top 10 Plays would be the coolest of accomplishments.

Saladino hit that goal on Saturday night with his Superman-like diving catch of Chris Denorfia's line drive in the second inning of a 6-3 loss to the Cubs.

Saladino gloves second-inning trifecta

"I thought about that play. I imagined it plenty of times," said Saladino on Sunday. "But I didn't think it would play out like that. I had to get up there a little higher than I imagined."

Now that Saladino is part of Web Gem nation, he can set his goals a bit higher. One of those targets just might be earning a 2016 starting job in the White Sox infield.

His third-base experience was limited to two games at Triple-A Charlotte this season and five games over his Minor League career, but Saladino has excelled defensively at this somewhat unknown spot. He could move one position to his left next year at shortstop, with the White Sox holding a $10 million club option and $1 million buyout on incumbent Alexei Ramirez.

"I love short. You get around a little bit more. A lot more to do," Saladino said. "They are different in their own ways. Third base is the hot corner and you have to be ready for the hot shots and try not to let things get through.

"Not nearly as much to do over there. I enjoy [playing third]. It's a spot on the field to play. I've been trying to work on it each day I'm out there. Getting reads off guys and learn swings to anticipate better. I take it like any other job: just work at it and study it and try to do the best I can out of it."

The future will play out in the offseason for Saladino. For now, he's trying to play well to raise the team's second Wild Card stock instead of his own.

"You just try to take it one day at a time with always the goal of improving and getting better and try to make the adjustments," Saladino said. "Learn how the ball is up here and the different ways it separates out from the Minor Leagues."

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.