Sanchez, 29, will compete with Steve Tolleson, Drew Garcia, and fast-rising prospect Carlos Sanchez for the utility infield spot on the big league roster. The addition of the native of Puerto Rico also allows Carlos Sanchez a chance to start the 2013 campaign in the Minors, where the 20-year-old will pick up needed professional at-bats.
"Maybe it's part of it, I'm not sure," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell of Carlos Sanchez ramifications coming from the Angel Sanchez Rule 5 move. "I know we are really hesitant about starting Carlos in the Major Leagues in April, and I think that's a good thing.
"He hasn't had many at-bats above A ball. There's still some at-bats he needs to get. I think he's proven to all of us that I don't think it's out of the question he could be in the big leagues next year at some point."
Bell managed the right-handed-hitting Angel Sanchez with the Royals in 2006, when he had 27 at-bats at the big league level. Sanchez is a career .255 hitter over 568 at-bats in 184 games played for the Royals, Red Sox (2010) and Astros (2010-11). He currently is hitting .344 with two home runs and seven RBIs with Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League, after batting .320 with five home runs, 45 RBIs and 48 runs scored over 107 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization last season.
White Sox pro scouts ranked Sanchez at the top of their six-year free agent list for middle infielders, and the team had talked about him even before that list came out. Sanchez was signed by the Angels as a Minor League free agent on Oct. 26, 2012, but the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder became the first White Sox selection in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft since pitcher Jason Grilli in 2003.
According to Bell, shortstop is Sanchez's best position but he can move all over the infield. Sanchez appeared in 78 games at shortstop, 23 at second base and three at third last season for Oklahoma City.
This move brings the White Sox 40-man roster to 38, although it will reach 39 when the Jeff Keppinger deal becomes official next week. Sanchez must spend the entire season on the White Sox active roster in the Majors after he was drafted for $50,000 in the Rule 5. If he doesn't stay with the team all season, he must first clear waivers but then can be offered back to the Angels for $25,000. If the Angels don't want him back, the White Sox can place him in the Minors.
From the sound of Bell's praise, Sanchez has a good chance to stick with the White Sox.
"Yeah, we are excited about it," said Bell of the Sanchez addition. "He is Robin's kind of player. You don't really have to tell him what the situation is. He already pretty much knows what he needs to do."