CLEVELAND -- Maybe too much was expected of Carlos Sanchez as the youngest player in the International League during the 2013 season at 21 years old. Sanchez, who is currently the 10th-best White Sox prospect per MLB.com, hit just .241 in his first full year with Triple-A Charlotte after being discussed prior to that same Spring Training as having an outside shot to break camp with the team.
But what a difference a season makes.
Sanchez, now at the ripe old age of 22, was called up from Charlotte on Sunday and put into the starting lineup at shortstop for the final game of the first half. Sanchez serves as an insurance policy for Alexei Ramirez's balky back, which knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning of Saturday's victory.
In 351 at-bats this season for Charlotte, Sanchez was hitting .291 with 13 doubles, six triples, five homers, 42 RBIs and 48 runs scored. That extra bit of maturity has made a difference, starting back in winter ball for the Venezuelan native.
"I worked a lot on my hitting, my offensive skills," said Sanchez through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "I needed to make some adjustments offensively, and that's what I've been working on very hard since winter ball with my hitting coaches. And thankfully, things have worked out.
"I'm feeling pretty good right now offensively. Definitely, the experience just of knowing and preparing yourself for who you're facing helps. That's what I've been doing this year, and I've continued to improve in that area."
Ventura doesn't believe Ramirez's injury is anything serious, so Sanchez could be gone after just one game.