Adam Engel will begin the season the injured list, as White Sox manager Tony La Russa told reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times) that Engel will miss “at least a couple of weeks” due to a right hamstring strain. Long known for his glovework moreso than his bat, Engel hit .295/.333/.477 over 93 plate appearances in 2020, and was projected to serve as Chicago’s fourth outfielder this year, also getting his share of right field platoon duty with the left-handed hitting Adam Eaton. [UPDATE: Engel told The Athletic’s James Fegan and other reporters that his injury carries a normal recovery timeline of 2-4 weeks, though that projection will depend on how his body responds to treatment.]
Utilityman Leury Garcia could fill Engel’s role, and La Russa also mentioned three other candidates in camp — prospect Luis Gonzalez, and non-roster invitees Billy Hamilton and Nick Williams. Mikie Mahtook is another center field-capable player with MLB experience in camp. If Engel does make good progress before Opening Day, it’s possible his IL stint could be fairly minimal, so the Sox might just use Garcia or Gonzalez as short-term replacements rather than make a 40-man roster move to accommodate one of the players on minor league deals.
More injury situations from around baseball….
- With Sonny Gray already slated to begin the season on the IL, two more pitching concerns arose for the Reds on Saturday. Michael Lorenzen suffered a minor shoulder strain while pitching in an intrasquad game, and Tejay Antone ended a side session due to hip flexor irritation. GM Nick Krall told reporters (including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that “we got as good of news as possible” on the two right-handers, saying “I think we’re hopeful that both will start the season on time, but we’re still monitoring the situation.” Lorenzen was taken out as something of a precaution, while Antone may perhaps be taken along a bit slower, considering that he was already trying to recover from a slight groin strain. Since the Reds have two off-days in the first eight days of the schedule, they could get by with just a starting four of Luis Castillo, Wade Miley, Tyler Mahle, and Jose De Leon should Lorenzen to miss time. If Antone is healthy and isn’t instead ticketed for the bullpen, he could also pitch as a starter rather than De Leon.
- Brewers pitching prospect Antoine Kelly underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last November, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy writes, and it isn’t yet certain when the southpaw might be back on the mound. “I think it’s unlikely for him to be ready by the start of the Minor League season….I think we do envision him pitching over the summer. Exactly when, we don’t know,” Milwaukee president of baseball ops David Stearns said. Kelly was a second-round pick in the 2019 draft, and he made 10 starts (nine in rookie ball, one in A-ball) that year before working out at the Brewers’ alternate training site last summer. Baseball America ranks Kelly as the fourth-best prospect in Milwaukee’s system, citing his plus fastball and plus slider, and saying he “has the attributes to develop into a mid-rotation or better starter.”