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updated: 6/23/2014 8:28 PM

Waiting in the wings if White Sox deal

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  • Starting pitcher Erik Johnson was a big disappointment in April, but he could find himself back in a White Sox rotation short on right-handers.

      Starting pitcher Erik Johnson was a big disappointment in April, but he could find himself back in a White Sox rotation short on right-handers.
    Associated Press

  • With the trade deadline on the horizon, second baseman Micah Johnson could find himself called up to the White Sox if needed.

      With the trade deadline on the horizon, second baseman Micah Johnson could find himself called up to the White Sox if needed.
    Associated Press

 
 

As the White Sox continue spinning their wheels on the road, it's a good time to look at some players of note in the minor leagues.

If the Sox fall out of contention and general manager Rick Hahn makes moves similar to last season -- when he traded veterans Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain for young talent -- keep an eye on these guys:

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Micah Johnson

He's a top prospect, and Johnson has the potential to bring some needed life to the White Sox' inconsistent offense.

Johnson opened the season at Class AA Birmingham, where he had a .329/.414/.466 hitting line in 37 games before being bumped up to AAA Charlotte. In 23 games with the Knights, Johnson's line has slipped to .263/.291/.354, so that tells you the 25-year-old second baseman can use some more seasoning.

There was some speculation that Johnson would switch positions, considering Gordon Beckham is playing second for the Sox. As of now, Johnson is staying put in the infield, and so is Beckham.

Eric Surkamp

The left-hander got off to a disappointing start with AAA Charlotte, but Surkamp has been coming on strong.

The 26-year-old starting pitcher was named International League pitcher of the week Monday after going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 2 outings with the Knights.

The White Sox claimed Surkamp off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Dec. 23, and he is on the 40-man roster.

Surkamp missed most of the past two seasons after having Tommy John surgery, but he appears to be fully recovered. His 84 strikeouts (in 73⅓ innings) lead the IL.

With Andre Rienzo and Hector Noesi struggling, Surkamp is an obvious candidate to join the Sox' rotation. But with three left-handers already in place -- Chris Sale, John Danks and Jose Quintana -- Surkamp might get a look out of the bullpen.

Marcus Semien

He will be back with the White Sox at some point, possibly as an outfielder.

Semien posted an unimpressive .218/.287/.327 hitting line in 43 games with the Sox before being optioned to Charlotte. But his knack for coming through with clutch hits late in games left a positive impression.

A versatile infielder, Semien has played four games in the outfield with the Knights and is athletic enough to play left or right.

Erik Johnson

He was a huge disappointment in April, going 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA in 5 starts with the White Sox before being sent down.

Last season Johnson not only breezed through AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte, combining to go 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA, he held his own in 5 September starts with the Sox (3-2, 3.25 ERA).

The White Sox don't have a reliable right-handed starter, and they are being patient with Johnson.

Given his 1-5 record and 6.38 ERA in 11 starts with the Knights, Johnson doesn't figure to rejoin the Sox' rotation anytime soon.

Tim Anderson

The Sox' first-round draft pick (No. 17 overall) appears to have the bat. Anderson has a .300/.329/.475 hitting line at high Class A Winston-Salem, and he is third in the Carolina League with 7 triples, 79 hits and 29 extra-base hits while ranking fourth in slugging and total bases (125).

Widely viewed as Alexei Ramirez's eventual successor, Anderson's defense at shortstop is a big concern. With 28 errors in 63 games, he's another prospect who might wind up in the outfield.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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