Carlos Sanchez’s transition back to the majors has been made easier by his teammates playing some of the best baseball they’ve played all year.
The 22-year-old is making his fourth consecutive start Monday night against Cleveland since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. He has two hits in 12 at-bats, but what’s been most impressive to manager Robin Ventura has been Sanchez’s good baseball I.Q.
“He’s a smart baseball player,” Ventura said. “He’s a heady player, just aware of a lot of things. People might get caught up in the defense part of him, but he also gives you a good at-bat. He’s been in our minor leagues and on our radar for a while, just being able to help you do a lot of different things.”
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Sanchez did get 104 plate appearances last year to get his feet wet in the majors, so the experience isn’t totally new to him. He’s already taken advantage of working with hitting coach Todd Steverson and third base coach Joe McEwing, though he’s appreciated that his major league coaches haven’t tried to alter his game now that he’s a starting second baseman here.
“They just let me play my game,” Sanchez said. “… I think right now I feel really good, I feel really comfortable in my game. So I just try to have that feeling and keep playing.”
For Sanchez, that he’s here at U.S. Cellular Field is at least a little bit weird given his relationship with Micah Johnson, who was optioned to Triple-A last Thursday to make room for him on the roster. The pair are close, even as they fought for the Opening Day nod out of spring training. Sanchez, though, said he relayed a message to Johnson as they traded places between Chicago and Charlotte.
“It's hard because we're friends and when they sent me down I told him to keep playing hard and you have to be here because he played hard every day like me,” Sanchez said. “Somebody has to do the job.”