By Bruce Levine-
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — With just three weeks until Opening Day, the White Sox are no closer to naming a full-time third baseman than they were when spring training began.
Number one candidate Matt Davidson has impressed manager Robin Ventura and his staff with a power stroke to all fields. Davidson must make consistent contact and field the position to break camp with the big league team.
“I think he is getting better at it and he is gaining a little more confidence as he is over there,” said manager Robin Ventura about the young infielder’s defense. “He just looks better, his preparation on the pre-pitch (set-up) is a little bit better.”
Davidson, who was acquired for closer Addison Reed this winter, has had a reputation for being behind on defense. The one tool every scout raves about is his power.
“He is a big strong kid and when he hits it the ball will go a long way,” Ventura stated. “We seem to have a lot of those guys, so you don’t always notice it because we have a lot of big guys around. The fact is he has pop the other way (right field). He just needs time, he needs to go play.”
Ventura was referring to’ play’ as the last three weeks of the spring. A determination on Davidson making the club will be made closer to the end of camp.
The shoulder issues that have impacted veteran infielder Jeff Keppinger, has limited the options at third base, if Davidson starts the year at Triple A Keppinger is still recovering from shoulder surgery last September. His throwing status is going to be questionable for third base duty. Keppinger has yet to play in the field, serving as DH so far this spring.
“We are near that now,” Ventura stated in reference to worrying about Keppingers shoulder. “I remember having the same thing were it took a long time to get the shoulder in shape”. Once he is there we will feel pretty good about it. The timing of hitting and everything ,you want to make sure you get him his at bats.”
Also in the mix for third base consideration are Conor Gillaspie and Marcus Semien. both players are vying for backup roles, as well as playing time at third base.
“I am making sure he gets some time there,” Ventura said of Semien. “He has been getting a lot of time at shortstop and second base but he is in the mix there (third).”