Sanchez maturing, making his case to White Sox

Sanchez maturing, making his case to White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Give Carlos Sanchez an "A" for honesty, along with other skills the switch-hitting infielder brings to the White Sox.

That honesty comes from the 23-year-old's assessment of his first real extended playing time last season at the big league level, specifically his work with the bat.

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"Most of the time last year, I went to home plate without a plan. I didn't have a plan to attack the pitcher or to understand what I have to do," said Sanchez through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo. "When the season ended, I kept thinking of my performance and when I went over the season, I learned about all the things that I did the wrong way and the things I did in a good way.

"Now because I have more experience, I also am a more mature player. I understand better what I have to do and all the situations of the game, and that's helped me a lot for the season in Spring Training."

Sanchez has seven hits in 18 at-bats during Cactus League play. Of those seven hits, five are doubles -- including one in Thursday's 8-2 win over the Rangers in Surprise -- and one is a triple, so that extra maturity and understanding seem to be paying off in power dividends.

Sanchez's RBI ground-rule double

It also doesn't hurt that Sanchez made an adjustment to his batting stance. He's a little taller right now and his contact point is a little ahead of where it was last year.

"Yes, that has been the major difference," said Sanchez of the stance adjustment. "All the work that I put in with my body during the offseason in Venezuela, that helped me also to show that kind of power right now."

When Sanchez replaced Micah Johnson at second base on May 15 of last season, the move was made to solidify the White Sox defense. Sanchez didn't disappoint in that particular area.

His offense, which stood at a .344 average over 131 at-bats for Triple-A Charlotte before his callup, didn't immediately follow suit. Sanchez hit .157 in May and .151 in June, before bouncing back to hit .224 for the season.

The White Sox added Brett Lawrie at second and Todd Frazier at third as part of their offseason plan, meaning Sanchez basically is fighting for the 25th spot on the roster with J.B. Shuck. Manager Robin Ventura certainly wasn't going to handicap the race with three weeks remaining in camp, but a more confident Sanchez certainly is there.

"I'm just waiting for an opportunity to play," Sanchez said. "I don't care if it's at third, second, shortstop. That's a decision that the front office and Robin have to make."

"He came in here in great shape, moving him around, playing him at shortstop, getting him looks and seeing how versatile he is. It's going to be an important thing for us," said Ventura. "Once we got Jimmy [Rollins], it becomes a little bit of a moving piece in there. We have some guys that are fighting for a job, but he's in the mix."

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