Marcus Semien went 2-4 on Saturday in his first start in five days. With Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham both healthy and hitting well, there hasn't been much room for Semien to squeeze into the White Sox lineup lately.
Semien saw plenty of playing time in April and early May with Beckham and Gillaspie both spending time on the disabled list. While he only hit .220/.286/.348 in 34 starts as a lineup regular, he consistently put together good at-bats and came up with some big hits in crucial situations -- like a two-out, go-ahead grand slam against Detroit April 23.
While Semien isn't playing every day anymore, he's found a way to stay busy: by not changing anything about his approach. That means he's taking the same amount of grounders, getting the same amount of work in the batting cages and doing all the other things he would if he were starting.
Semien added his attitude hasn't changed, either.
"I'm taking it day by day no matter what," Semien said. "Even if I'm an everyday player, you're taking it day by day because anything can happen in this game. You can't get ahead of yourself."
The White Sox need Semien to keep that level-headed approach, seeing as they optioned outfielder Jordan Danks to Triple-A when Gillaspie returned instead of Semien. That decision placed a lot of trust in Semien to not only keep playing the way he did as a starter, but to do it while not playing every day.
The results have been a mixed bag so far. Semien went 0-4 with four strikeouts in a start against Oakland May 13, but picked up those two hits against New York on Saturday. What Semien's tried to avoid is trying to do too much in his sporadic starts, which would get him away from the tough, drawn-out at-bats that made him a valuable piece of the Sox lineup early in the season.
"When you haven't played for a while the game might speed up on you a bit," Semien said, "but I just try and relax, focus on breathing and doing everything that got me here and trust my abilities."