White Sox use Alexei to fill void in No. 3 spot

White Sox use Alexei to fill void in No. 3 spot

KANSAS CITY -- With Jose Abreu out of the lineup indefinitely, someone needs to fill the three-hole that Abreu occupied in 30 of his 43 starts this season.

On Monday, Alexei Ramirez drew the assignment, and he belted a three-run homer in the third inning.

Ramirez's scorching hot start to the season, which included a pair of walks and runs scored in the White Sox's 8-2 loss Sunday, earned him the No. 3 spot in the lineup, despite the fact that he has not hit higher than fifth this season.

"He fits the best for us being in the three-hole the way he's been swinging," manager Robin Ventura said.

Ventura also liked the flexibility Ramirez offered as a right-handed hitter in the middle of the order against a left-handed pitcher in the Royals' Jason Vargas. Putting Ramirez in the three-hole allows the White Sox to feature two right-handed batters in the top three.

After seeing his slugging percentage dip in 2012 and '13 to .372, compared to .421 in his first four seasons, Ramirez has already collected as many home runs this year as he did last season (six). He also leads the team in hits and steals. He's top five in the Majors in hits.

"We're different then we were a week ago. This is a good spot for him to be in," Ventura said.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.