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Conor Gillaspie designated for assignment by White Sox

CHICAGO -- In need of bullpen reinforcement, the Chicago White Sox announced Sunday that infielder Conor Gillaspie was designated for assignment and right-hander Matt Albers was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

In sending out Gillaspie, who turned 28 on Sunday, the White Sox no longer are carrying their Opening Day third baseman from the past two seasons.

The left-handed hitter was batting .321 exactly one year ago, but had not played much of late, last starting July 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Gillaspie was batting .237 this season with a .276 on-base percentage, hitting three home runs with 15 RBIs. He had been splitting time with Gordon Beckham at third base for a month.

The White Sox will now turn to Tyler Saladino as their primary third baseman. Saladino made his major league debut on July 10, going hitless that day, but has since gone on a five-game hitting streak. He also has played solid defense and is adept at playing both infield and outfield positions.

“It’s always a tough decision, especially when you’ve got a kid like [Gillaspie] where you know what he’s capable of,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You know he’s a much better hitter than what those numbers indicate. That’s what makes it tough. He got off to the slow start.”

The White Sox had been operating one man short in the bullpen since adding an extra position player on July 10 to give them lineup flexibility when playing in a National League park against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. They were trying to get through the weekend before adding another reliever, but Friday’s doubleheader and Saturday’s 13-inning game against the Kansas City Royals sped up their timetable.

Albers last pitched for the White Sox on April 19. He suffered a broken little finger on his right hand when acting as a peacemaker during the April 23 on-field brawl with the Royals. The 32-year-old made eight appearances on two separate minor league levels during his injury-rehabilitation assignment.