Sam Dexter is in Lynchburg, Virginia, with the Winston-Salem Dash. Dexter was promoted to the Dash, the high Single A team in the Chicago White Sox organization, two weeks ago. Two games into his tenure with the Dash, Dexter’s third team this season, he was placed on the seven-day disabled list. Dexter said he’s been told by team officials not to discuss how he ended up on the DL, but when he spoke via phone early Tuesday afternoon, Dexter didn’t sound like a man fighting a major injury.

“I can’t say why,” Dexter said, “but I’m hoping to get back in there in the couple of days.”

For now, Dexter, a Messalonskee High School and University of Southern Maine graduate, is learning a new set of teammates and enjoying the day-in, day-out grind of minor league baseball.

“It’s all about, when you get your opportunity, just play hard and play smart. I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible,” Dexter said.

In 13 games playing for three teams, Dexter has a .282 batting average, a .378 on base percentage, and six runs batted in. Dexter opened the season in extended spring training at the White Sox facility in Arizona. After one game with the Rookie League Great Falls Voyagers, Dexter was promoted to the low Class A Kannapolis (North Carolina) Intimidators of the South Atlantic League. Dexter played in 10 games with Kannapolis before his promotion to Winston-Salem of the Carolina League on July 5.

“I got a call from my manager (Justin Jirschele) in the morning, and I was in a Winston-Salem uniform that night,” Dexter said.

Dexter played his first game for the Dash on July 6, entering as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning before playing shortstop in the ninth. Dexter’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning helped key a five-run Winston-Salem rally in an 11-7 loss to the Down East Wood Ducks. The following night, Dexter made his first appearance in the Dash starting lineup, playing second base and batting eighth. He went 1 for 3 in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Mudcats.

Dexter was drafted in the 23rd round by the White Sox last year, and after a brief training camp, was sent to Great Falls to play for the White Sox’s Rookie League team. Dexter’s debut pro season also included nine games with Chicago’s Arizona Rookie League team, and a one-game stint in Kannapolis. In his three 2016 stops, Dexter hit a combined .235, with two home runs, 17 RBIs, and 16 runs scored.

With his batting average up 47 points this season, and his on-base percentage up 79 points, to .378 from .299, Dexter said his improvement is largely due to experience.

“I’ve been able to watch a lot of games and play a lot of games,” Dexter said. “I see how guys are getting hits and making outs.”

As he’s moved up, the pitching has gotten understandably better, Dexter said. As a young hitter new to the Carolina League, paying attention to pitchers is the most important thing he can do.

“You have to be watching the game, seeing what pitchers are doing. Guys are throwing more offspeed stuff in high ‘A,’ in any count,” Dexter said. “More at this level, you have to wait guys out. You’re going to get one, maybe two good pitches in an at bat.”

Dexter hopes to be back on the field soon, helping the Dash contend for a spot in the Carolina League playoffs. The Carolina League divides the regular season into halves, with the winner of each half making the playoffs. Winston-Salem is currently 13-12 in the second half, in second place 3 1/2 games behind the Buies Creek Astros. With close to two seasons of professional baseball now under his belt, Dexter is enjoying his career.

“I’m having a blast. It’s everything I dreamed it would be,” Dexter said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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