Sands gets final roster spot, leads Sox to win

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Jerry Sands secured the final spot on the Chicago White Sox's 25-man roster. Sands is a right-handed hitter who can play outfield as well as first and third base if needed.

    Jerry Sands secured the final spot on the Chicago White Sox's 25-man roster. Sands is a right-handed hitter who can play outfield as well as first and third base if needed. Rob Dicker for the Daily Herald

 
 
Updated 4/2/2016 1:14 AM

hen Adam LaRoche set off an international firestorm last month by abruptly retiring from baseball and walking away from a $13 million salary after White Sox vice president Kenny Williams asked him to scale back son Drake's presence in the clubhouse, a roster spot became available.

On Friday night before the Sox game against San Diego, Jerry Sands claimed it.

 

Then Sands singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Sox beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Friday night.

"With the LaRoche situation, I knew something opened up there," Sands told reporters before the Sox played an exhibition game against the Padres in San Diego. "I came into camp and have done it the last few years with new teams, kind of show them what you've got and go from there. Obviously, I didn't have the greatest camp in the world. But I felt like I accomplished a few things I wanted to even though the numbers didn't show it."

Competition for the final job on the White Sox' 25-man roster pitted Sands, a right-handed hitter, against Travis Ishikawa, a left-hander.

Both journeymen can play first base and the corner outfield spots, but Sands got the nod because he hits for more power, is out of minor-league options and can fill in at third base if needed.

Sands batted .188 (9-for-48) with 3 home runs and 9 RBI in 24 games this spring. Ishikawa also played in 24 Cactus League games and batted .260 (13-for-50) with 2 homers and 7 RBI.

"Those aren't easy decisions, but knowing what your roster needs to be and what you think you're going to need, he (Sands) is the guy you end up taking," manager Robin Ventura told reporters. "First, outfield, he'll mop up at third if we need him to. If we need somebody to come off the bench and hit a lefty, we've got him to be able to do it. He has a great number always against lefties.

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"In the past, we have not had that great of a look from that side if they bring in a lefty from the bullpen. He does a lot of things we've been looking for, and we've played against him enough that we've seen him."

Sands played in 50 games for the AL Central Cleveland Indians last year, batting .236 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI. In parts of four major-league seasons with the Dodgers, Rays and Indians, Sands is a .238 hitter with 9 homers and 50 RBI in 132 games.

In parts of eight major-league seasons with the Giants, Brewers, Orioles, Yankees and Pirates, Ishikawa is a .255 hitter with 23 homers and 137 RBI in 488 games.

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