White Sox could shift prospect Micah Johnson to outfield

White Sox could shift prospect Micah Johnson to outfield
May 14, 2014, 5:00 pm
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OAKLAND — Micah Johnson could make a switch to the outfield in the future, but the White Sox aren’t there yet.

With a handful of talented middle infielders in or near the majors, the White Sox have difficult decisions ahead.

Gordon Beckham, Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez, Leury Garcia, Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez can’t all be on the field at once.

Someone will probably have to go.

But the Sox could also create space if they chose to move a prospect, perhaps Johnson, to the outfield. Asked Wednesday after Jeff Keppinger was designated for assignment if any of his infield prospects could be moved to the outfield, general manager Rick Hahn said nothing is currently planned.

[MORE: White Sox designate Jeff Keppinger with future in mind]

But, those plans could change.

“It’s conceivable down the road that we start exploring other options with these guys, but right now, we want to put them in the best possible situation to continue their development, and changing too much on them at once is not a real sound method, in our opinion, to get them to maximize their ability,” Hahn said. “You move a guy to a new level, let’s get him comfortable at that level at the position he’s used to. Eventually if he gets to the point where we start trying new positions, it’s probably going to be after we feel he’s acclimated to the life and certainly offensively at that level. I’m not ruling anything out, but right now it’s not part of our plan.”

Last offseason one scout suggested Johnson could handle the switch to center field if he didn’t stick at second base, where the team has plenty of options.

A move to the outfield might be necessary to get Johnson’s bat in the White Sox major league lineup faster.

Johnson, who went 0-for-4 in his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, has a .320/.405/.453 slash line this season with 13 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

The Southern League finals MVP, Johnson stole 84 bases in the 2013 regular season, the most in pro baseball. He also hit .312 wit 46 extra-base hits and 58 RBIs, scoring 106 runs.