Marcus Semien makes strides in the outfield at Class AAA Charlotte
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter June 22, 2014 10:11PM
Updated: June 22, 2014 10:31PM
MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox’ shaky defense at the corner outfield positions makes infielder Marcus Semien’s crash course in the outfield at Class AAA Charlotte worth monitoring, although Semien isn’t preparing for full-time work if and when he returns.
Assistant general manager Buddy Bell said Semien’s outfield practice at Charlotte has been good.
“He’s doing a lot of work. I don’t think any of us had any question whether or not he could do it,’’ Bell said. “It’s just getting the time put in there and not taking away from his work that he’s doing at other positions. He’s playing second, short and third, and the outfield. He’s more than capable.’’
Bell said Semien, who played his fourth game in left field for Charlotte on Sunday and has divided his time fairly equally among third base, shortstop, second base and left field, would be ready to play the outfield if he were back in the majors, but not as an every-day player.
“Part of the problem is he’s dealing with the fence and things like that that he never had to deal with before,’’ Bell said.
Fences still are an issue for left fielder Alejandro De Aza and right fielder Dayan Viciedo.
A good talking-to from Thome
With third baseman Matt Davidson batting .190 with 11 homers and 24 RBI at Charlotte, special assistant Jim Thome was sent there to spend time with Davidson last week.
“Jimmy is really good at just making you feel better about yourself,’’ Bell said. “Sometimes that’s all you really need. Just the energy Jimmy gives a player is more important than any mechanical change. Matty just got himself in a situation where like a lot of other Triple-A guys, they just want to get to the big leagues so bad that you start doing some things that are kind of out of character on a mechanical basis.’’
The Sox traded closer Addison Reed for Davidson.
“He’s doing well defensively and he’s starting to get to a fastball,’’ Bell said. “If you can’t hit a fastball, you can’t play in the big leagues. He’s going much better with that.’’
Turn it like Beckham
For Joe McEwing’s money, there aren’t many second baseman better at turning the double play than Gordon Beckham.
“He’s got such good hands, he gets rid of it quick,’’ said McEwing, a former major-league infielder who coaches Sox infielders. “The thing I love is he’ll stay in there and take a hit. He has great feet, so if the throw takes him off line he’ll get out there and still turn it. Instead of taking it and eating it, he’ll take that chance.’’
Beckham has made seven errors, tied for the team lead with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, so he hasn’t been flawless, but “he’s an elite second baseman,’’ McEwing said.
Patching up the rotation
Manager Robin Ventura said he hadn’t decided whether struggling Andre Rienzo will be out of the rotation, although that seems to be a good bet. The problem with putting Scott Carroll — who has excelled in relief since his demotion — back in is that Rienzo isn’t throwing enough strikes to be trusted in the pen. An issue for the Sox is that Charlotte doesn’t have a lot to offer, although lefty Eric Surkamp, who has major-league experience, has a 3.98 ERA over his last 10 starts.