The White Sox placed left-hander Aaron Bummer on the 10-day injured list due to a left biceps strain, the team announced. Right-hander Brady Lail was also designated for assignment, and the two open Major League roster spots will be filled by right-handers Zack Burdi and Drew Anderson. Burdi is being called up from the club’s minor league training site, while Anderson had his contract purchased.
Bummer suffered the injury in last night’s game, departing during an at-bat against Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. The seriousness of the biceps problem isn’t yet known, though any absence for Bummer counts as a problem for the White Sox given the southpaw’s increasing prominence in the bullpen. After posting a 4.36 ERA over 53 2/3 innings during the 2017-18 seasons, Bummer broke out with a 2.13 ERA, 2.50 K/BB rate, 8.0 K/9, and a whopping 72.1% grounder rate over 67 2/3 innings in 2019. Only Zack Britton had a higher ground-ball rate among all pitchers who threw at least 60 innings last season.
In a nod to their belief in Bummer’s work, the White Sox signed him to a contract extension in February that will pay Bummer at least $16MM in guaranteed money through the 2024 season. If two club options are exercised, Bummer will be in Chicago through 2026 for a total of $29.5MM — not a bad payday for a rather unheralded 19th-round pick from the 2014 draft.
Burdi, meanwhile, had a much higher profile as the 26th overall pick over the 2016 draft, though the righty’s progress was stalled by Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for much of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. If that wasn’t enough, a ligament tear in his patella prematurely ended Burdi’s 2019 campaign after just 22 2/3 innings. All told, Burdi has only 100 2/3 professional innings under his belt, and only 16 of them at the Triple-A level.
However, those Triple-A innings came back in 2016, indicating that the White Sox were planning on fast-tracking him to their big league bullpen in pretty short order. Working almost exclusively as a reliever, Burdi has a 4.31 ERA, 2.53 K/BB rate, and a 12.5 K/9 over his minor league career, and is the owner of a blazing fastball that regularly sits in the high 90’s and has often touched the 100mph plateau. Burdi’s arsenal suggests a possible future as Chicago’s closer, if he can stay healthy and translate his velocity into success against big league hitters.
Lail has four Major League innings to his name over the last two seasons, including a single outing for the Sox this season that saw him toss 1 1/3 frames of work in Thursday’s 8-3 loss to the Brewers. An 18th-round pick for the Yankees in 2012, Lail has mostly worked as a reliever in the minors over the last two seasons, and has an overall 3.97 ERA, 2.64 K/BB rate, and 7.0 K/9 over 741 career minor league frames. The DFA is an unfortunate early birthday for Lail, who turns 27 tomorrow.
Anderson will make his White Sox debut after joining the club on a minors deal last winter. He posted a 7.71 ERA over 21 innings with the Phillies over the 2017-19 seasons, and a 3.52 ERA, 2.48 K/BB, and 7.7 K/9 in 486 innings in Philadelphia’s farm system. Anderson has started 94 of his 101 career games in the minors but only started once at the big league level, so the White Sox will likely deploy him out of the bullpen barring a rotation emergency.