Escobar Growing On White Sox Brass





GLENDALE, Ariz.—Eduardo Escobar didn't show any signs of being discouraged after his first major league spring training despite knowing that Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham could be ahead of him for several years.

Before he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, Escobar impressed the major league staff with his energy and ability to play second base as well as shortstop.

"Escobar played better than what people thought," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Escobar opened a lot of people's eyes. We very excited about him and what he can do."

The progression of Escobar, 22, accelerated last season when he hit a combined .277 at high Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. He continued that progress in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .300 with four home runs despite looking smaller and lighter than his 5-foot-10, 165-pound frame. Escobar even squeezed in six games for La Guaira in the Venezuelan League.

"He's a high energy guy," White Sox farm director Buddy Bell said. "Three years ago, he wasn't even in extended spring training. We went to the Dominican Republic and wondered why isn't this guy over here? He wasn't a big guy, but he came over here and he's come quickly. He's gotten stronger. His legs have gotten bigger and he's broader, but he's not afraid of anything.

"What you see is what you get. He's a very high energy kid because that's him. He doesn't put up with anything. He's kind of like Ozzie in that regard, but he's not as abrasive. Maybe he will be. They're very similar in the way they play and swing."

Escobar was regarded as the best defensive infielder in the White Sox's system, and Guillen, a fellow Venezuelan, values defense as highly as anyone in the organization.

"I think he'll play mostly shortstop because I think that's a natural position for him," Bell said. "I think he'll always be able to play second. But at short, there are different plays out there, so I think he's got to play more there than second."

CHI-LITES

• The smooth transition of infielder Dayan Viciedo to right field took an abrupt halt when Viciedo suffered a fractured right thumb March 10 after getting hit by a pitch. He was expected to be sidelined from two to four weeks.

• Guillen said that righthander Lucas Harrell, who was expected to contend for a long relief job or as the fifth starter if Jake Peavy wasn't healthy, should be "disappointed in himself" after being one of the first spring cuts.