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Hanson joins club, debuts as pinch-runner

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CLEVELAND -- Alen Hanson joined the White Sox on Saturday at Progressive Field with what he felt was a built-in advantage.

"I came from the National League, where I have to play all around the field," Hanson said through interpreter Billy Russo, "and you know I'm ready to play wherever the manager asks me to play.

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CLEVELAND -- Alen Hanson joined the White Sox on Saturday at Progressive Field with what he felt was a built-in advantage.

"I came from the National League, where I have to play all around the field," Hanson said through interpreter Billy Russo, "and you know I'm ready to play wherever the manager asks me to play.

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"Naturally, I'm a second baseman, but I know I can play all around the field. I think that's the idea why this team took me."

Claimed off waivers on Friday from Pittsburgh, Hanson takes the roster spot of outfielder Adam Engel, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following Friday's 7-3 loss to the Indians.

Hanson entered Saturday's 5-3 win as a pinch-runner for Matt Davidson in the eighth inning. He would come around to score on Kevan Smith's sacrifice fly.

The 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic made the Pirates' Opening Day roster and hit .193 with two triples and eight runs in 37 games before being designated for assignment on June 2. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Hanson made nine starts at second base this season while also appearing in two games at shortstop, two in right field and one at third base.

"A really good kid, very amenable," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Hanson. "He looks you straight in the eye when you're talking to him, which is really important. He understands up to this point probably his pluses and minuses and things he's going to have to work on to continue to improve as a baseball player, and to become a part of the White Sox."

From the first moment Hanson walked in and talked with Renteria, he felt at home. Hanson played with outfielder Willy Garcia as part of the Pittsburgh system and knows other players on the White Sox active roster, so the former top prospect feels comfortable in his new home.

Video: CHC@PIT: Hanson dives to his left for a great stop

"These last few days were kind of tough for me because I didn't know what to expect," Hanson said. "I didn't know the whole process of what's going on. At the end, I just was praying to God whatever he wants me to be, it will be good for me. And at the end was this team who picked me, and I'm just glad to be here.

"This is a new place, but I know a few of the guys and that makes me feel more comfortable. That's all that you want, especially when you are here for the first time."

Adding Hanson gives Renteria greater flexibility in using a number of players around the diamond. Leury Garcia, who has been the team's everyday center fielder, could spell Tim Anderson in the future by moving to his natural position at shortstop.

"That wouldn't be out of the ordinary, especially with their flexibility and their ability to play different positions," Renteria said. "It allows us an opportunity to see them and see how they perform and see how they react to certain situations."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Adam Engel, Alen Hanson