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Alexei Ramirez playing solid for White Sox

Alexei Ramirez has heated up after a slow start.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is a reason the Chicago White Sox could afford to send Triple A second baseman Danny Richar to the Reds in a multi-player deal for future Hall-of-Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. That is because of the solid play both offensively and defensively from Cuban rookie Alexei Ramirez.

The 26-year-old rookie started slowly, hitting just .138 in April. But he improved to a solid .295 in May. He has hit his stride in June and July batting .355 and .341, respectively. For the year he is hitting .309 with 38 runs scored, nine HR and 38 RBI while batting near the bottom of the White Sox lineup. Defensively he has made 10 errors and has also started games at shortstop and the outfield.

His play helped smooth the way for the Griffey trade. There is a downside to the transaction and if you have Paul Konerko you probably won't see much of him on the field. Konerko wasn't hitting very will (.214), but there was always the hope that he would break out of his season-long slump and you could get some value out of him.

Now with Griffey in the outfield and Nick Swisher likely to move to first base, Konerko's opportunities will be severely limited.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.