Defense focus for Semien as Arizona Fall League begins

Defense focus for Semien as Arizona Fall League begins
October 7, 2013, 3:15 pm
Share This Post

Marcus Semien’s offseason plans will have to wait as he and seven other White Sox minor leaguers are set to play in the Arizona Fall League.

Semien, outfielders Jared Mitchell and Brandon Jacobs, fellow infielder Micah Johnson and pitchers Charlie Leesman, Chris Bassitt, Stephen McCray and Kevin Vance will all play for the Glendale Desert Dogs, who play their first game on Tuesday in Phoenix.

Players reported on Friday for the AFL, which runs through mid-November.

The report date gave Semien four days off after the White Sox season ended on Sept. 29.

[MORE: Ten moments that defined the 2013 White Sox season]

If Semien -- who had a .261/.268/.406 line with two homers and seven RBIs in 71 plate appearances for the White Sox -- has any concerns over another 5 1/ 2 weeks of baseball he hasn’t let on.

“I feel fine,” Semien said. “Gotta stay strong. I never say I’m tired ever. Whatever they tell you do you want to give your best so I’ll be ready. I’m looking forward to it. My goal is to do well there and use the momentum to carry me into spring training.”

The White Sox plan for Semien is to focus on defense.

After a strong second full professional season, the club likes what they see from his offensive game. Club officials believe his bat to be major league caliber as Semien continues to settle in.

Assistant general manager Buddy Bell is also happy with Semien’s defensive skills, but the White Sox want the prospect to get even more comfortable at third base.

[RELATED: Keppinger's shoulder shouldn't slow him down]

A natural shortstop, Semien began to play second base in 2012 and added third to his repertoire in 2013. Semien has played at third 40 times in his career, all coming in the 158 games he played this season.

“We need for him to continue to play all the positions,” Bell said. “We don’t look at this as a big experience for him offensively. From the defensive standpoint it can really help. Even though he’s been good I still think he’s learning the different nuances of each position.”

A five-time All Star and Gold Glove award winner at third, Bell believes Semien is strong at third from a technical and mechanical standpoint. He likes what he has seen thus far and just wants Semien to gain as much experience as possible at third in case he’s needed there next season.

“The position is a tough thing to learn if you’ve never played,” Bell said. “It might feel a little claustrophobic over there. … Marcus and (Erik Johnson) did a really good job in the majors. They didn’t look out of place and that’s what you look for.”