White Sox acquire third baseman Connor Gillaspie

White Sox acquire third baseman Connor Gillaspie
February 22, 2013, 1:00 pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox hope they’ve added the versatility they need at just the right time when they acquired third baseman Connor Gillaspie on Friday.

The left-handed hitting Gillaspie comes to the White Sox from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jeff Soptic.

Gillaspie, the 37th overall pick of the 2008 draft, carries a career .287 average in the minors. He’s out of minor-league options after appearing in 29 games with the Giants, including his major league debut only 96 days after he was drafted.

Despite his quick ascent, which was required in his contract, World Series hero Pablo Sandoval has blocked the path of Gillaspie, who was rated the No. 13 prospect in the Giants system by MLB.com.

“He’s been on our list for a while,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “The last few weeks it became a little more apparent there was a chance to get him. It was important for us to get him now and have him in camp with us for four-plus weeks and get to know him and how he fits. It’s one thing to see him on video and see the scouting reports and talk to people who know him, it’s another thing to have him in the clubhouse and see how all the pieces fit together. So we wanted to have him sooner rather than later.”

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Gillaspie, 25, can solve two of the club’s issues if he earns his way onto the 25-man roster. The team has been short a left-handed bat since A.J. Pierzynski departed and also needs a complement at third base to free-agent signee Jeff Keppinger, who has never played more than 67 games in a season at the hot corner.

Though Gillaspie isn’t a big power hitter -- he has 37 homers in five minor-league seasons -- he has a .358 on-base percentage. Hahn also describes Gillaspie as a solid defender.

“Being able to acquire a guy who has a good recognition of the strike zone, is able to get on base, work the count a bit,” Hahn said. “Although he’s not your prototypical power guy at third base he does spray the ball around pretty well and has a nice line-drive approach, which should play well in our park.”

Soptic was the White Sox third-round pick in 2011. He was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 27 appearances at Single-A Kannapolis last season. He struck out 36 batters in 43 1/3 innings and is listed as the No. 29 prospect in the Sox system.

The big right-hander can throw 100 mph and White Sox observers were pleased with how he’d cleaned up his mechanics this season.

The White Sox designated first baseman Lars Anderson for assignment to make room on the 40-man for Gillaspie.

Gillaspie will report to camp on Saturday. The White Sox are excited to have Gillaspie for their entire spring slate of games.   
“There’s plenty of time to still evaluate and watch guys and we leave here and we are going to leave with who we think is the best group of guys that gives us the best chance,” manager Robin Ventura said.