Alejandro De Aza probably won't be smiling when he puts on a Charlotte uniform again.
We'll get to him at the end, but since I like to do these things by groups, let's speed through the other eight.
Minor league journeymen
Nowhere else to go
Flowers did everything that could be asked of him. He hit .476/.542/.857 (10-for-21). He struck out six times over 24 plate appearances, which is a small sample improvement. His throws to second were pretty good. Ozzie Guillen was more than pleased in every respect, which is big.
He's rewarded with a return to Charlotte. He still needs to prove that he can handle Charlotte, so the Sox have about three months before Flowers officially has some grounds to accuse the Sox of wasting his time. If I were him, I'd wait a full season to make sure I don't destroy the goodwill that's just started to accumulate.
Jordan Danks' strike zone numbers (one walk, eight strikeouts over 28 plate appearances) don't inspire confidence, but his .291 average allows the Sox to talk him up, as they seem inclined to do (and I think I know why!).
Cuts like a knife
Gregory Infante, Alejandro De Aza
Infante had an ugly outing against Oakland on March 19 that irreparably damaged his spring line. He gave up five runs on three hits and two walks over an inning of work, and there's no way to work around that in a small sample.
Even taking away the disaster, though, his numbers don't stick out -- 8 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. His location still needed work, so it's probably best for everybody that he heads to Charlotte. Guillen gave him strong consideration for a bullpen spot, but he's just not ready yet.
Now, De Aza definitely had the inside track for the fourth outfield job, with just about everything in his favor. He came off a strong September, he had nothing left to prove in Triple-A, and handedness and defensive skills were on his side, too. Yet he didn't even make it to the final cuts, which indicates a fumbled opportunity.
It's not just that he had a flat spring (.244/.295/.390) while Lastings Milledge surged (.319/.421/.574), but I had the impression that De Aza wasn't connecting on other opportunities. For instance, while he might've gained Ozzie Points with the suicide squeeze on Monday night, he was still in the red, having botched two squeeze attempts earlier in the spring.
Other odd things piled up, too -- like a laughable throw, or hanging Ramon Castro out to dry by missing a hit-and-run sign, or ruining a Brent Lillibridge steal attempt with batter's interference. These gaffes may have been inconsequential for all I know, but they are the kind of mistakes that can help spoil an audition, especially when the rest of the competition is raising the bar.
Add it all up, and I think De Aza just didn't show enough relative to what was at stake. That said, he should be the first outfielder called up from Charlotte if he can keep his head and health up. The Sox have needed to go to that well in previous years, and with Carlos Quentin rumbling around the outfield, an emergency call-up is never far away.