3:15pm: The club has formally announced that Mazara is on the injured list and expected to miss the beginning of the season. An official reason for the placement was not given.
6:25am: The White Sox appear to be in need of an alternative plan in the outfield. They have placed Nomar Mazara on the 10-day injured list, according to their transactions page, though manager Rick Renteria insisted yesterday that a final decision on his availability had not yet been made.
Renteria did not give much in the way of detail, but did explain that Mazara has been “under the weather,” per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s the same status that was provided a few days ago when Mazara’s absence was noted. It’s a bit of an ominous statement in the age of the coronavirus, since the league’s protocols could mandate a reasonably lengthy absence, though there’s no indication as of yet that covid is involved.
If indeed the team has made an IL placement — the transactions pages have been mistaken in the past — it’ll delay Mazara’s debut with the South Siders, who acquired him from the Rangers during December’s Winter Meetings. Mazara’s a former standout prospect who never matched the hype as a member of the Rangers, with whom he slashed an underwhelming .261/.320/.435 (92 wRC+) and racked up 79 home runs in 2,189 plate appearances from 2016-19.
Based upon his track record alone, there’s not much cause for lofty expectations. But Mazara is still just 25 years old and has long been considered a major talent. As MLBTR’s George Miller explained during the spring, it’s probably too soon to say he has maxed out his potential in the majors.
In a best-case scenario for the White Sox, Mazara will form an enviable outfield trio with Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert as early as this year. As long as Mazara is on the shelf, though, Chicago may turn to some combination of Adam Engel and Leury Garcia in right field. The only other outfielders in the player pool with 40-man roster spots are Micker Adolfo, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Blake Rutherford, none of whom has yet reached the big leagues. Nicky Delmonico and Luis Gonzalez are non-roster options.