ANAHEIM, Calif. — Marcus Semien’s outfield experience has begun.
The White Sox prospect made his first start in the outfield on Saturday night at Triple-A Charlotte. The club is hopeful Semien, who has played everywhere on the infield but first base, can make a smooth transition to the outfield as well. Before he was sent to Charlotte a week ago, the White Sox asked Semien if he’d be willing to try and learn to play in the outfield in order to make him a more versatile option for the team’s 25-man roster.
The White Sox are very happy with how Semien performed in the majors this season but are in more need of outfield help than infield at this point. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Semien has been very open-minded and began to take work in the outfield prior to being sent to Charlotte.
“I told him to even mess around in (batting practice) and getting comfortable with it and the reason why,” Ventura said. “He understood. He’s willing to do anything. I think that’s part of having him go down there, is do stuff that would make him a valuable piece of coming back up here. He was ready for it.”
Semien had a .218/.287/.327 slash line with 18 RBIs in 181 plate appearances before he was sent back to Charlotte. But 12 of those runs driven in came in the seventh inning or later as Semien has shown a knack for hitting in the clutch. Ventura believes Semien’s a good candidate to handle a potential transition to a new position, though it’s not a permanent move but one designed to get the rookie back to Chicago more quickly. He also believes Semien could be more than a corner outfield because of his speed.
“It’s not a question of whether we like him or not,” Ventura said. “He has done a lot of great things for us. He’s a winning-type player. Roster-wise we need to have a little more flexibility. That’s something that could help him be up here.
“You’ve got a guy who can move around at three infield positions and most of the outfield, he becomes valuable.”
Abreu at DH
Jose Abreu started at designated hitter on Sunday but said his ankle feels great. Abreu hasn’t shown any signs he is still experiencing pain in the sore left ankle since he was activated on Monday. He also said he has found a guard that isn’t cumbersome.
“Right now everything feels great,” Abreu said through a translator. “The equipment that I’m using right now is really good. It’s very comfortable. It expands and it’s easy to wear and it’s holding up pretty good.”
— The White Sox dropped to 0-10 on Saturdays with last night’s 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
— Opposing hitters are carrying a .145 average against Chris Sale through eight starts this season. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the lowest average against an American League pitcher through eight starts since Oakland’s Mike Norris had a .140 in 1980.
— The White Sox activated minor-league prospect Micah Johnson off the 15-day disabled list at Charlotte on Sunday. Johnson had been on the DL with a hamstring strain.