White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday that Carlos Sanchez will be recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Friday before a three-game series at Oakland and will take over as the team's everyday second baseman.
“There are just some elements of his game that we want him to work on consistently at the minor-league level and get ironed out prior to having him back in Chicago,” Hahn said about Johnson, who won the second base job over Sanchez out of spring training.
“Obviously from an offensive standpoint, he was contributing, but from a defensive standpoint, he wasn’t quite as consistent, play to play, as we needed him to be at the big-league level and as we expect him to be in the future,” Hahn added.
Hahn also mentioned some base-running blunders Johnson committed.
Johnson started 25 of the White Sox’s 31 games at second base but did not start Wednesday night at Milwaukee. Johnson isn’t the only White Sox player struggling on defense, but he did have some issues in the first two games of the series against the Brewers.
Offensively, Johnson had been able to contribute with a .270 batting average and a .333 on-base percentage, to go along with a team-leading three steals, while hitting mostly out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
Sanchez, though, rates as a plus defender at second and has not committed an error in his last 24 games at Triple-A Charlotte. He has just three errors all season, and two of those came in the same game.
“Carlos is going to bring a little bit more defensive consistency and solid base running,” Hahn said. “He’ll be a tough out for us. He’s going to help stabilize that position.”
The White Sox also have Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio who could play second base, but both will remain in their utility roles. Bonifacio started at second base Wednesday, while Beckham has been used to shore up the defense at third base on occasion, especially in the late innings.
Sanchez made the Opening Day roster but was sent down to Charlotte April 11. He actually had a better offensive spring than Johnson but did not get the nod at second base for Opening Day. Since going to Charlotte, Sanchez batted .344 in 29 games with a .368 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage.
Sanchez played in 28 games with the White Sox last season, nearly all of them after Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in August. He batted .250 with a .269 on-base percentage, including five doubles among his 25 hits.
“He’s still a relatively young player,” Hahn said of Sanchez. “I think he’s more coming into his own with the repetition at the minor-league level. We do like the fact that he is a kid that got an extended taste last year and that at the start of the year he got beat out for his job, but as opposed to hanging his head, he went down and worked his tail off and obviously had a great amount of success.”
Johnson will continue to get playing time at second base when he gets to Charlotte, as opposed to learning a new position or developing into a utility-type player.