MINNEAPOLIS — Whereas they have time to make a decision on Jared Mitchell, the White Sox don’t have that luxury with Michael Taylor.
That was the train of thought behind a promotion the veteran Taylor called Tuesday a “nice surprise,” general manager Rick Hahn said.
Had they not added Taylor — rated the No. 20 prospect in baseball in 2010 by Baseball Prospectus — to the 40-man, the White Sox risked losing the outfielder to minor-league free agency this offseason.
Before they allowed that to happen, the White Sox want to give Taylor, whom they acquired from the Oakland A’s in June, a look. Taylor is one of seven players the White Sox promoted to the majors on Tuesday afternoon. After a strong finish to the season, there was some thought the White Sox might promote Mitchell, their 2009 first-round pick. But he has another full season under team control before the White Sox have to decide whether he belongs.
“Right now the arrow on Jared Mitchell is pointing up,” Hahn said. “At the same time we do have a crowded outfield right now. We had some other players we wanted to give the opportunity and see here in Chicago for the next few weeks, Michael Taylor being an example of that.
“We just felt that it was good for Jared to finish the season on a positive note, knowing exactly the progress he made. He could head into the offseason feeling good about what he did and hopefully carry it into spring training next year.”
Taylor previously worked with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson in Oakland, both in the minors and majors. Steverson holds a high opinion of Taylor, who has a .290/.374/.465 slash line with 108 homers and 105 steals in 3,765 minor-league plate appearances.
“He’s (done) everything you want a guy to do,” Steverson said. “He really hasn’t had that much of a chance at the big league level on a consistent basis of playing. He’s older now. He kind of knows himself, knows the type of role he’ll probably have to play in today’s game and hopefully it’ll work out for him. He’s a guy who knows the strike zone, knows how to take a walk, has got some pop, uses the whole field. Hopefully it’ll be positive for him.”
A fifth-round pick in the 2007 draft, Taylor has accrued 81 major league plate appearances over three seasons with Oakland. He had a .306/.386/.489 slash line with six homers and 38 RBIs in 64 games at Charlotte but still expected to head home for the winter. Then Charlotte manager Joel Skinner called him in with the news, which Taylor admits is exciting and unexpected.
“I always say it’s nice to become a new toy,” Taylor said. “Sometimes when you’re stuck in a place for a while and you do things well, they say, ‘Oh we’ve seen that before.’ Or if you do things poorly, ‘We told you, that’s why.’ It’s nice to go to a new place and you can have some success, have people excited about you again, if only for a moment. It was definitely a nice change of scenery.”
-- The White Sox also promoted RHPs Chris Bassitt and Scott Carroll, OF Jordan Danks, C Josh Phegley, INF Marcus Semien and LHP Eric Surkamp on Tuesday. The team also purchased the contracts of LHP Scott Snodgress and 1B Andy Wilkins on Sunday and activated OF Moises Sierra off the disabled list.
-- Manager Robin Ventura said Semien wouldn’t play in the outfield this month.
-- With days off Monday and Thursday, Ventura plans to skip the fifth spot in the rotation this time through even though Carroll and Bassitt are back with the team. Ventura didn’t identify which pitcher would take the next turn once the No. 5 spot comes up.