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Sox prospect Sanchez could be making move

(MCT) — SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As long as switch-hitter Carlos Sanchez continues to produce, his best position for the White Sox will be in the batter's box.

Sanchez's ascent has created a pleasant problem for the Sox, who aren't in any hurry to rush him to the majors but accelerated his progress through the minors in 2012.

Sanchez, 20, the top prospect in the Sox's farm system, started as a shortstop — a position currently held by sure-handed Alexei Ramirez.

Sanchez said Wednesday he feels most comfortable at second base, where Gordon Beckham displayed Gold Glove-caliber skills and delivered key hits in the final two months.

But Sanchez did play at third base late this season despite not possessing the prototypical power associated with the position, and he'd be receptive to playing there if it meant reaching the majors soon.

"I'm for that," Sanchez said. "The White Sox have talked about that for next year."

But Buddy Bell, the Sox's vice president of player development and special assignments, downplayed any thought of Sanchez becoming an every-day third baseman.

"We see Carlos as an every-day middle infielder," Bell wrote in an email. "However, we like all our infielders to play multiple infield positions so in the case they are called up they have the ability to play all (infield positions)."

Sanchez dazzled the Sox's front office this summer by hitting a combined .323 at three minor league levels, playing exceptional defense and not being overwhelmed by the competition despite his youth.

"He doesn't look overwhelmed," Salt River manager and Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams said of Sanchez, who is batting .238 in 42 at-bats. "He'll swing at some bad pitches once in a while. But this pitching is a step up for him. There are good arms in this league, and there are some lefties throwing 100 mph. So it's good for him. I think one thing that he probably can get better at is recognizing breaking balls.

"That's part of being 20. So the more he's sees it, the more he'll be able to recognize it. But he's doing fine.''

Sanchez played in the Futures Game, a midseason showcase of minor league talent, as well as gaining the experience of advancing two levels to Triple-A Charlotte and playing in the International League playoffs.

"I'm very happy with the opportunity they've given me, especially with the Futures Game," Sanchez said.

Williams is impressed with Sanchez's versatility in the field as well as at the plate.

"He's got great actions, and it all starts at short," Williams said. "He's made a nice move to second, turns the double play fine and continues to work at it because as part of the deal, he needs to be able to make the pivot.

"But the fact he can hit from both sides of the plate makes him valuable anywhere in the lineup."

Ever Magallanes, the Sox's minor league infield instructor, marvels at Sanchez's aptitude in the field, his poise at the plate and his ability not to be consumed with hitting for power.

"That's why he hits for a high average," Magallanes said of Sanchez, who drove in 56 runs despite having only 33 extra-base hits. "He takes what the pitcher gives. He's got gap power, but he hits hard line drives and hard grounders. And he's just as good from both sides of the plate. You don't see that a whole lot."

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