OAKLAND — Carlos Sanchez performed well enough in spring training where he just as easily could have been named the White Sox starting job second baseman.
Rather than sulk after he was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte on April 11, Sanchez, who was recalled on Friday, said he used it as incentive to get back to the majors.
A two-time International League player of the week in 2015, Sanchez is starting and hitting ninth against the Oakland A’s on Friday night after he replaced fellow rookie Micah Johnson, who was sent to Charlotte on Thursday. Sanchez followed a strong spring by hitting .344 with 10 doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs at Charlotte.
“I knew I had a good spring training, and I tried to transfer that to Triple-A when the team sent me down,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I took it like something motivational for me, something good, to try to be the best player possible I could and try to develop all of my skills. I’m glad this opportunity came sooner than I was expecting.”
Sanchez has been on the White Sox radar since he was one of their top prospects headed into 2013. After he struggled that season, Sanchez has been on the rise, including a solid September performance in 2014. Sanchez said he was at his apartment in Charlotte on Wednesday when manager Joel Skinner called to inform him of his promotion.
“It’s always special,” Sanchez said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or second time. It’s always special when you get that news because you are welcomed to the big leagues again.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows exactly what he has in Sanchez and is glad to be able to plug him in the lineup. Looking for a defensive boost, Sanchez brings a strong defensive skillset to the majors. Sanchez also has held his own in 107 major league plate appearances and hit .440 this spring.
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“To have the ability to reach down and get somebody like Carlos in here to fill in we feel that’s one of our strong points is having guys like him that are down in the minor leagues and you’re able to reach down and get those guys,” Ventura said. “They know how to play and you trust them.”
Sanchez said he tried not to worry about getting back to the majors, instead focusing on how everyday reps at Charlotte might help him. He feels prepared to help the White Sox no matter what they ask of him.
“I kept doing what I was doing in spring training and the first week in the majors,” Sanchez said. “Being sent down, I took it as motivational, something to help me and to push me to be a better player. I think, in the end, the work was valuable because of the results. I am here because of that. I hope to continue doing my job and continue progressing as a player.”