Marcus Semien’s trip around BB&T BallPark continued Monday night in the Knights’ 4-2 win against the Columbus Clippers.
Since being assigned to Class AAA Charlotte on June 1, Semien, 23, has made starts at second (two), third, shortstop (two) and in left field – not once in the same position on consecutive games.
The way Semien has bounced around conjures up the image of Charlotte manager Joel Skinner sitting in his office, door closed, shaking a Magic 8 Ball as he writes the lineup card.
On Monday, its suggestion might have read: second base?
The truth of the matter is Semien was sent to the Knights to get at-bats and work on his ability to play multiple positions.
The Chicago White Sox started Semien at short, second and third this season, but the team was struggling to find enough at-bats for a player who needed to continue to develop.
Before joining with the Knights, Chicago brass had Semien pick up an outfielder’s glove and shag a few fly balls during batting practice.
“Just play around with it,” they said.
Once he arrived in Charlotte, that became, “Give it a try.”
In 18 chances, Semien has committed one error. Monday, he made a nice over-the-shoulder running catch on a pop up down the line in shallow right to end the fifth and strand a runner.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a merry-go-round type of situation,” Skinner said. “He’s not going to play anywhere for a long stint of time.”
Charlotte playing Boggle with Semien’s positioning hasn’t bothered him at the plate.
He came up in the first inning on Monday with two outs and the bases empty. After working the count full – a feat in itself when you’re trying to give your pitcher time to catch his breath – Semien fouled off three pitches before hitting a home run on the ninth offering.
The long ball was Semien’s second since joining the Knights and put them ahead 1-0.
He finished 1-for-3 with a walk in support of Charlotte starter Deunte Heath, who allowed one hit and struck out seven over five innings to improve to 2-1.
The hit raised Semien’s average to .241. He has been a victim of some tough luck, hitting several balls this homestand that have either hung up on the warning track or been right at a defender.
“He’s had quality at-bats,” Skinner said. “He’s barreling up a couple balls a night it seems like. Tonight he hit the home runs, but he’s hit some balls to straight away center field on the barrel” that just stay in the park.
The win for the Knights, who also recorded runs on a Micah Johnson two-out RBI single in the second, a Josh Phegley home run in the sixth and an Andy Wilkins single in the eighth, snapped a three-game losing streak.
As for where Semien will play Tuesday … Reply hazy, ask again later.
E — Sellers 2. DP–Columbus 1, Charlotte 1. LOB–Columbus 7, Charlotte 9. 2B–Holt. HR—Semien, Rohlinger, Phegley. SB–Semien.
|Heath W, 2-1||5||1||1||1||4||7|
|Thompson S, 1||1||0||0||0||1||1|
WP-Cloyd, Fuentes, Barnes. HBP-Rohlinger (by Kussmaul). T-3:06. A-9,538.
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