White Sox manager Robin Ventura gets look at infield prospect Carlos Sanchez
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 25, 2013 10:49PM
Updated: March 27, 2013 6:24AM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Sanchez got his first start in a White Sox uniform Monday, playing second base and going 1-for-3 with a single up the middle against the San Francisco Giants.
Sanchez, 20, was ranked as the Sox’ No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America after the 2012 season. He also was ranked as their best hitter for average and their best defensive infielder.
‘‘He’s a smart player,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘You see things in spurts. It’s good to get him in a game and start him and see what it is.’’
At the very least, Sanchez figures to make a major-league living as an above-average defender at second, short and third. At best, he looks equipped to be a strong-armed, every-day second baseman who makes good contact and plays solid defense.
Sanchez committed a two-base throwing error in the second inning, trying to catch Angel Pagan rounding first base too far. The ball went past first baseman Paul Konerko and into the stands. It might have been a case of nerves or trying to make an impression.
Signed in 2009, Sanchez made an impression last season. He had climbed steadily in the Sox’ system before breaking out in 2012 with a .315 average in 92 games at
Class A Kannapolis. At Class AA Birmingham, he hit .370 with nine doubles in 30 games. He figures to open this season at Class AAA Charlotte.
‘‘You hear of all these kids making progress from last year to this year, and now you really get to see the difference,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It’s good for me to see the kids go out there and play.’’
Left-hander Hector Santiago, who’s being stretched out as a starter in case John Danks isn’t ready for the first week of the season, was sharp in the first inning but gave up three runs and four hits in the second. Ventura pretty much has ruled out Santiago starting the season at Charlotte, even if Danks is ready.
‘‘He’s been able to bounce around and do a lot of different things,’’ Ventura said.
Santiago became the second rookie since 2000 to strike out 10 or more batters while allowing two or fewer baserunners when he pitched seven scoreless innings Oct. 1 at Cleveland. Santiago, who was the closer at the beginning of the season, showed Ventura something, too.
‘‘All the things he did, he never had those bits of being uncomfortable with a new role,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘He just kind of attacked it. He’s always been a starter at heart and closing was something different, but he went after it.’’
All eyes on lineup
Without Alex Rios or Adam Dunn in the lineup, Jeff Keppinger batted third.
‘‘We’re going to move guys around,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘By splitting them up, it’s just something for me to look at it. It’s a time when you can mess with lineups, and nobody raises an eyebrow.’’
Peavy gets after it
Right-hander Jake Peavy threw 55 pitches on the side.
‘‘In the second set, he got after it the way I was hoping he’d get after it,’’ pitching coach Don Cooper said. ‘‘I didn’t have to tell him. He knows what he needs to do to be ready.’’