De Aza does everything asked and more

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
10:05
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CLEVELAND -- Alejandro De Aza has done nothing but impress since joining the Chicago White Sox toward the end of July and this series has been no exception.

De Aza had two hits and two RBIs for the third consecutive game. He did it in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

With a veteran outfield already in place and Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge picked as backups, De Aza opened the season at Triple-A Charlotte. He dominated there, finally earning a promotion when Mark Teahen was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

De Aza has made the best of his opportunity. He is now batting .328 with a .921 OPS and 23 RBIs in 47 games. He has also played a solid outfield.

“I’m happy. It’s never enough,” De Aza said. “I’m just trying to keep grinding and taking what they give me.”

Manager Ozzie Guillen called De Aza his best player right now, which isn’t all that shocking.

“I’m very excited watching this kid play, very excited,” Guillen said. “He does a lot of things. [Tuesday] we win game because he gets to ball in the gap that looked like a double. He got there pretty nice and made the play. If that ball is in gap it’s a different thing.”

With Juan Pierre not expected back next season, De Aza could end up as the starting left fielder, but can he handle the leadoff spot? At this moment he would seem to be the best candidate for the spot despite not being a prototypical No. 1 hitter.

“I just try to play and try to do my little things day by day,” De Aza said. “I don’t think about next year. When next year comes, then I will think about it more. Right now, I’m just trying to play the game.

Guillen thinks De Aza has what it takes to do the job.

“I don’t see why not,” Guillen said. “He does everything a leadoff man is supposed to do. He gets on base, hits the ball well, has more power than Juan. He will steals bases. I don’t see why not. It’s not just about one month, though. Can he do it? The difference is how you handle 0-for-5. I think he has the tools to do it.”

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208