Semien Shares Father's Athleticism

Shortstop's father played football for California





CHICAGO—Marcus Semien followed in his father's footsteps, to an extent.
After starring at St. Mary's High in Stockton, Calif., the younger Semien went on to the University of California, where his father Damien was a wide receiver for the Golden Bears' 1991 team that went on to defeat Clemson in the Florida Citrus Bowl.

But Marcus made his own name as a shortstop for the Bears. He has continued developing with the White Sox, who are in need of depth at the middle infield positions.

The 21-year-old Semien, a sixth-round pick in 2011, was progressing nicely in his first full season at high Class A Winston-Salem, which included an 18-game hitting streak before he was sidelined because of right-shoulder tendinitis. When he returned, he fell into a 3-for-40 slump that dropped his average to .236. He remains a promising infield prospect because of his athleticism.

"(My father) didn't want me to play football, to be honest," said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Semien, who also excelled in basketball. "He knew my love was baseball and basketball. Basketball was always good for me to keep me athletic and keep me in shape, and I felt that was a pretty good choice I made.

"But by my senior year, I kind of thought if I played football, I'd wonder how I would do. Ultimately, I knew where my love was, and that was baseball."

Semien would like to incorporate more speed into his game. He stole three bases during his first season at low Class A Kannapolis.

Despite his mercurial start to the 2012 season, Semien knows it can't get any wackier than it did in 2011, when he played for a Cal program that was in danger of folding, only to survive and reach the College World Series.

"I tried to keep everyone calm because I kind of knew that I probably was going to be going after my junior year, but I wanted my whole team to stay together and make the best of the last year," Semien said.

Chi-lites

• Outfielder Jordan Danks, 25, received his first big league promotion on June 7. Danks batted .302/.419/.516 for Triple-A Charlotte and was off to a 5-for-13 start in Chicago.

• Within a week of being drafted, supplemental first-round pick Keon Barnum and third-round pick Joey DeMichele agreed to terms, and they were quickly joined by first-rounder Courtney Hawkins.