Back at short, Saladino looks to find niche with Sox

Back at short, Saladino looks to find niche with Sox

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tyler Saladino made his second start at shortstop for the White Sox Wednesday night at Target Field, giving Alexei Ramirez a rare night off. Saladino has primarily played shortstop throughout his Minor League career, although he has held steady this season as the White Sox third baseman for 44 games.

One White Sox issue to be tackled going into the 2016 season is where Saladino fits in the infield mix moving forward. With the team holding a $10 million option on Ramirez for '16 and a $1 million buyout, Saladino could become the team's everyday shortstop if his offensive and defensive capabilities balance out in the team's plans.

"Playing short, he's fine. He can handle the position," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Offensively, that's a whole other thing. To be able to do it every day is a tough task for a lot of guys because it's a demanding position. He has the ability to maybe do that.

"Any position, you're giving and taking. Shortstop is always going to be a tough one if you're not good at it defensively. You really have to be good offensively to be able to have a subpar shortstop. There's always give and take with that.

"If you're not as good offensively, you better be real good with the glove. And if you're not very good with the glove, you better be really good with the bat," Ventura continued. "When a guy doesn't play it well, it's a tough go for the pitchers, especially in the middle of the field to have somebody do that. You always need somebody in there that can hold that position down."

Tim Anderson, the White Sox top prospect per MLB.com, will likely be holding down that shortstop position in the foreseeable future. That future might not start until midway through 2016, But in Anderson, the White Sox hope to have an elite prospect that can impact their team as Miguel Sano has already done for the Twins.

"We're looking I think to next year of looking where he's at," said Ventura of Anderson. "The maturity and progression of getting some time in, and letting him play, and getting some experience is important.

"Not all these guys, they don't just come up their first year and play. Tim hasn't had a ton of time playing. He was a basketball player before, so that experience is important for him."

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.