White Sox utility man Tyler Saladino doesn’t get wrapped up in how much he plays or even where.
In 45 games this season, Saladino has played mostly at shortstop, but has filled in at third base for Todd Frazier and even in centerfield. But after Brett Lawrie was unable to play Friday after leaving Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Tigers with hamstring tightness, Saladino got his first start at second base on Friday.
“Whatever your job is, you’re going to find a way to do the best you can at it,” Saladino said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Lawrie said after Thursday’s loss that leaving the game was more preventative after he experienced a bit of discomfort. But manager Robin Ventura said Friday that Lawrie didn’t feel well after arriving at the ballpark.
Lawrie underwent an MRI exam on Friday to determine if the injury is more severe than originally thought. Ventura was planning on playing Saladino Friday, but said Lawrie’s injury could keep him out longer than just Friday.
“We’re getting him checked out to see possibly how many days it will be,” Ventura said.
If needed, Saladino will be ready. Ventura cited the valuable role Saladino plays considering his versatility. But Saladino, who is hitting .263, has found ways to be consistent at the plate – even when he hasn’t played on a consistent basis.
“I just like to be reliable (and) make sure (the Sox) can count on me,” Saladino said. “If I go out there, I think a lot of (the consistency) comes from preparation, work every single day, I try to do everything game speed so I’m not out there going through the motions.”
As rumors continue to swirl what the Sox could look like after the Aug. 1 trade deadline, Ventura said it’s sometimes difficult to remain focused. General manager Rick Hahn said Thursday that changes need to be made to improve the Sox, who he said are “mired in mediocrity.”
Ventura said the various scenarios aren’t lost on players.
“You hear enough stuff and you’re curious about it and you don’t really know what’s there and what’s not and how it gets started and where it goes to,” Ventura said. “It’s a strange time and it’s tough. It’s always been tough on guys.”
Ventura continues to bat Adam Eaton in the leadoff spot followed by Tim Anderson and Melky Cabrera. Ventura likes Eaton’s plate patience while he considers Anderson more of a free-swinger.
Ventura said having Justin Morneau in the lineup gives him more protection for hitters and gives him the freedom to juggle the lineup when needed.
“Adam has been very effective at the top,” Ventura said. “You can switch that back and forth. I think both of (Eaton and Anderson) are pretty comfortable. If you do switch them, it’s not going to change too much of what they’re doing. I think right now, it’s just a nice spot for us to have a little left-right back and forth.”
Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.