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Saturday, February 23, 2013
Competition could be stiff at hot corner

By Bruce Levine

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The addition of Conor Gillaspie from the San Francisco Giants creates a logjam at third base that should help make the Chicago White Sox a more balanced team going into the 2013 season.

Gillaspie had little chance of making San Francisco’s 25-man big league roster.

"This is a business like every other job in the whole world," Gillaspie said after his first day in Sox camp. “Pablo [Sandoval], as you know, is a pretty good player. I probably wasn’t going to beat him out. This is a pretty good opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to it."

Gillaspie will have to battle newcomer Jeff Keppinger and holdover Brent Morel, who is returning injury-free after battling debilitating back pain in 2012.

The Sox are looking for better balance in their projected lineup. Only Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza hit from the left side in manager Robin Ventura’s projected 2013 opening day lineup. Most observers believe that Keppinger, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract this winter, is better suited to play multiple positions, rather than being the every-day third baseman.

The left-handed hitting Gillaspie, who is out of big league options, knows he has a chance to win a spot on the Sox roster.

“This could have been a lot worse," he said. “It could have been that I didn’t have a job at the end of spring training. On both sides I am very thankful that it happened the way it did. Now I can meet new people and have an opportunity to make another club. From what I have been told, [lefty-hitting infielder] is kind of a need. I’ll do my best to try to earn a job. You have to earn it; no one will be giving you anything."

Gillaspie, 25, hit .281 at Triple-A Fresno in 2012, with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs in 108 games. The White Sox were drawn to his on-base numbers and improved defense.

“As a player, I don’t have a superstar tool," said the newest member of the Sox. “I am not going to be someone who goes out and hits 50 home runs. That is just not who I am. I definitely will work and play hard for you. I practice hard and try to play the game the right way. Whatever happens at that point, you have to really roll with it."

The former Giants infielder has worked hard on his overall game the past couple of seasons.

“Three or four years ago, I was kind of shaky," Gillaspie said. “I have worked really hard on [my defense]. I hope that work will pay off for me the older I get and the more chances I get."