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Thursday, December 6, 2012
Sox select INF Sanchez in Rule 5 draft

By Doug Padilla

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Chicago White Sox added more versatility to the roster Thursday by selecting utility infielder Angel Sanchez in the Rule 5 draft.

Sanchez has major league experience over three different seasons, playing in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals (2006), Boston Red Sox (2010) and Houston Astros (2010-11). He can play second base, third base and shortstop.

General manager Rick Hahn hinted Wednesday that the White Sox had a narrow focus in the Rule 5 Draft and they appeared to get the guy they wanted. The White Sox didn’t need to go any further than assistant general manager Buddy Bell to know what they were getting.

“I actually managed this kid in Kansas City, and I loved this kid,” Bell said. “He had some elbow issues at the time and I left before he came back after his injuries. I’ve been keeping my eye on him for the last few years. He had a good year in Triple-A last year, he’s solid and more of a situational player who can catch the ball.”

The 29-year-old native of Puerto Rico was recently acquired by the Los Angeles Angels as a minor-league free agent. The Angels were expecting Sanchez to compete for a utility spot during spring training and potentially fill the role left vacant after the departure of Maicer Izturis.

The White Sox were able to pry Sanchez away from the Angels because he wasn't protected on their 40-man roster. The White Sox have to pay the Angels $50,000 in compensation.

As a Rule 5 selection, Sanchez must stay on the White Sox's major league roster the entire 2013 season or be offered back to the Angels for half of what they paid in compensation for him.

Sanchez, who was originally an 11th-round selection by the Royals in 2001, has batted .255 in his major league career over 568 at-bats. He is putting up a solid showing in the Puerto Rico Winter League, batting .344 with two home runs and 17 RBI over 17 games with Mayaguez.

Sanchez batted .320 in 107 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City this past season. He played the bulk of his games (78) at shortstop.

White many Rule 5 selections are calculated gambles that a player can have a rebirth in a new organization, the White Sox feel that this pick has more staying power.

“First of all, it creates a lot of competition for that (utility) spot with (Steve) Tolleson, (Carlos) Sanchez and (Drew) Garcia,” Bell said. “This is a lot different than finding a guy that is throwing 95 or 100 (mph) then you can just hope you can hide on your roster somewhere. This guy here, we think if it works out, it can really help our club from Opening Day beyond that.”

The White Sox did not make any selections in the Triple-A and Double-A phases of the Rule 5 Draft. They did lose one player in the minor-league portion: right-hander Jon Bachanov, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox. The White Sox will receive $12,000 in compensation from the Red Sox for the Triple-A selection.

The Rule 5 Draft prevents teams from stockpiling excessive amounts of talent with more than four or five years of minor league experience. Players who sign before age 19 must be protected on the 40-man roster after four years.

The last time the White Sox selected a player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft was in 2003 when they picked up pitcher Jason Grilli.