The White Sox announced they’ve selected outfielder Mark Payton onto the MLB roster in advance of tonight’s game with the Twins. He’ll take the roster spot of center fielder Luis Robert, who’s going on paternity leave. To create a 40-man roster spot, reliever Aaron Bummer has been transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list.
Payton, 30, signed a minor league contract with Chicago in Spring Training. He’s spent the year at Triple-A Charlotte, putting up an impressive .289/.365/.522 line with 20 home runs and 11 stolen bases over 465 plate appearances. He’s made a strong impact from a power perspective, walked at a quality 9.7% clip and is striking out in fewer than 15% of his trips to the dish. It’s the latest in a long line of excellent Triple-A showings for the University of Texas product, who now carries a .295/.369/.509 line over parts of six seasons at the minors highest level.
A Chicago native, Payton will now add some outfield insurance to the bench for acting manager Miguel Cairo. He’s covered all three outfield positions in the minors, although he only worked in the corners during a 32-game MLB cameo with the 2020-21 Reds (his only big league experience to date). It could be a brief stint, with Robert expected back imminently.
Players on the paternity list are permitted to miss between one and three games. Regardless of how long he remains on the active roster, Payton’s call-up marks a deserved recognition of his strong Triple-A production. He does still have a minor league option year remaining, so the White Sox could move him back to Charlotte without taking him off the 40-man roster upon Robert’s return if they’re so inclined.
Bummer’s transfer is no more than a formality. He’s ruled out for 60 days from the time of his initial IL placement on June 9, meaning he’s eligible for reinstatement whenever he’s ready to return. Bummer began a rehab assignment in Charlotte on Wednesday and figures to make it back to Guaranteed Rate Field within the next couple weeks.