Davidson, Sanchez, Saladino have third covered for White Sox

 
 
Updated 3/7/2018 4:19 PM
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  • Matt Davidson of the Chicago White Sox is greeted after hitting a two-run home run in a spring training game against the Cubs. Davidson hit 26 homers for the White Sox last season.

    Matt Davidson of the Chicago White Sox is greeted after hitting a two-run home run in a spring training game against the Cubs. Davidson hit 26 homers for the White Sox last season. Associated Press

For the short term, the Chicago White Sox's starting lineup is just about set.

Before prospects such as Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Zack Collins, Jake Burger, Micker Adolfo and Gavin Sheets are ready to join the Sox, you've got Avisail Garcia, Adam Engel and Nicky Delmonico in the outfield, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson in the infield and Welington Castillo behind the plate.

Who's on third?

While that was the one unanswered question heading into spring training, the White Sox have plenty of candidates.

Matt Davidson is the obvious choice to be the Sox's regular third baseman. In his first full major-league season last year, Davidson finished second among American League rookies with 26 home runs and fifth with 68 RBI.

Associated PressMatt Davidson played 60 games for the White Sox at the DH, and 34 at third base, where he is expected to start the season.
Associated PressMatt Davidson played 60 games for the White Sox at the DH, and 34 at third base, where he is expected to start the season.

"I'm glad to put some numbers up," Davidson said. "I had some success but definitely feel like I have a lot more to improve on that."

Davidson has the power expected from a third baseman, but his slash line from last season (. 220/. 260/. 452) was not good.

When he was in the White Sox's system at Class AAA Charlotte, Davidson led the International League with 23 home runs in 2015. He also ranked first with 191 strikeouts. Davidson also led the IL with 164 strikeouts in 2014 while ranking fourth with 20 homers.

In 118 games last season, Davidson led the Sox with 165 strikeouts.

Minor-league hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger has spent long hours working with Davidson on getting his body balanced and in a better position to make a good swing.

The work paid off in the first half last season, when Davidson batted . 245 with 18 home runs and 42 RBI.

In the second half, however, the average dipped to . 185 with 8 homers and 26 RBI. Davidson, though, missed most of August after Toronto's Marcus Stroman hit him with a pitch on the right wrist.

"Kind of a frustrating," Davidson said. "A very minor injury but it was obviously very important with my wrist."

Davidson is 100 percent healthy now, and he entered Wednesday's exhibition play tied for the major-league lead with 12 RBI in only 8 games.

He has earned the right to play every day for the Sox this season, but Davidson likely will repeat last year's pattern and spend more time at designated hitter than third base.

Acquired from Arizona in a trade for relief pitcher Addison Reed after the 2013 season, Davidson was the Sox's DH in 60 games last season. He played 34 games at third base and 19 at first.

Associated PressThe Chicago White Sox are counting on Yolmer Sanchez to help out at third base and other infield spots this season.
Associated PressThe Chicago White Sox are counting on Yolmer Sanchez to help out at third base and other infield spots this season. -

Look for manager Rick Renteria to use Davidson, Yolmer Sanchez and possibly Tyler Saladino at third base this season.

Sanchez has a much better glove than Davidson, and he established career highs with 8 triples, 12 home runs and 59 RBI in 2017 while batting .267.

The White Sox drafted Burger on the first round last year and he instantly became the third baseman of the future. Burger was ticketed for a full season in the minor leagues, but he is out for the year after rupturing his left Achilles tendon last week.

Associated PressThe Chicago White Sox could use infielder Tyler Saladino at third base this season.
Associated PressThe Chicago White Sox could use infielder Tyler Saladino at third base this season. -

• Twitter: @scotgregor

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