Last week we learned via this report from ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla that the Chicago White Sox would like to add a left-handed hitter for their bench. General manager Rick Hahn stated an infielder that bats lefty would be a "nice complement." Since then the club has outrighted recently-claimed right-hander Zach Stewart, creating room on the 40-man roster. Padilla notes that the move was expected, but the timing suggests a potential addition is on its way, or at least that the club still is exploring their options.
Padilla wrote earlier this week that while the Sox could use more lineup balance on a regular basis -- an addition entirely separate from the bench needs -- they may decide to stay in-house for such a piece. Jared Mitchell may be that bat.
Hahn, speaking to fans at SoxFest this past weekend, said: "After Buddy Bell returned from instructional league this year, he wouldn’t shut up about where Jared is and we can’t possibly consider moving this guy because he’s ready to bust loose. Guys who have been working with him since he arrived here on campus are starting to get that excitement in their voice.”
Mitchell, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2009, missed all of 2010 with a tendon tear in his left ankle, has not hit for average the past two season, managing a .237 mark a year ago and batting just .222 in 2011. He does offer medium power, plus speed that helps lead to strong defensive value, and a solid approach at the plate that produces walks and acceptable on-base production.
He does strike out quite a bit, as nearly 33 percent of the time he's strolled to the dish as a professional he's walked away a strikeout victim, but the Sox see him turning the corner very soon. At 24, Mitchell is running out of a time to an extent. This coming season looms large for his future.