White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada should be activated from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday, manager Tony La Russa told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin and other reporters. Moncada’s placement (due to a right hamstring strain) was retroactive to June 18, so Tuesday would represent the minimum 10 days for the infielder.
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The White Sox have placed infielder Danny Mendick on the 10-day injured list with a torn ACL, the team announced. Infielder Lenyn Sosa will have his contract selected from Double-A as he joins the active roster. In other moves, Adam Engel was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring and Gavin Sheets has been recalled from Triple-A. Eloy Jimenez was also moved to the 60-day injured list.
Mendick was having a bit of a breakout season, at least through 31 games, slashing .289/.343/.443 over 106 plate appearances. That’s not really enough playing time to call it a true “breakout,” but Mendick was nevertheless filling an important void at shortstop while Tim Anderson was out. There was at least the possibility that Mendick would take over at second base now that Anderson returned. Josh Harrison and Leury Garcia have been splitting time at the keystone, but Harrison has produced just a 79 wRC+ while Garcia has produced an even more abysmal 25 wRC+.
To take over at second, the White Sox could turn to promoted prospect Lenyn Sosa from Double-A, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Sosa has played all over the infield in the minors for the White Sox. Sosa was Chicago’s 11th-ranked prospect, per Baseball America, ranked 21st by MLB.com, and 14th by Fangraphs. Sosa has seen his stock rise this season with his power as he has posted a .197 ISO on the year. He is not a big tools player, but he’s nonetheless posted an impressive .331/.384/.549 line in 289 plate appearances in Double-A this season. If he can continue to produce, Sosa could solve the White Sox issues at the keystone. That’s a lot to expect of a 22-year-old without Triple-A experience, however.
Sheets returns to the big league roster, stationed in right field for tonight’s ball game. In Triple-A, he appeared in nine games, slashing .270/.308/.541. That kind of production in the bigs would keep Sheets in the lineup. After all, right field has been a collective effort this season for the White Sox, with Sheets, Engel, AJ Pollock, Adam Haseley, and Andrew Vaughn all getting starts. Nobody has started more than four consecutive games in right field this season, with Vaughn reaching that mark just once.
Engel had started the past three games in right, but he now heads to the injured list. The 30-year-old has slashed .240/.297/.349 over 158 plate appearances, good for just an 86 wRC+. Engel has long been considered a solid defensive outfielder, which is where he adds his value. That’s been no less true this season when he’s posted 5 DRS across the three outfield spots.
The White Sox announced that third baseman Yoán Moncada has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 18, with a right hamstring strain. Shortstop Tim Anderson is back from the IL in a corresponding move, as manager Tony La Russa announced yesterday.
It’s the second IL stint of the season for Moncada, who lost the first month-plus of the year battling an oblique strain. He returned in early May and has appeared in 29 games, but he’s posted career-worst production in the early going. Through 113 trips to the plate, the switch-hitting Moncada owns just a .179/.230/.292 line with three home runs. He recorded only one extra-base hit between May 16 and June 13, and this season’s 5.3% walk rate is a career low.
That’s been a disappointing follow-up to one of the better campaigns of Moncada’s career. He hit .263/.375/.412 last season, offensive production that checked in 22 percentage points above league average by measure of wRC+. Moncada’s slow start is one of a handful of contributors to the team’s mediocre 31-33 record, and his efforts to snap out of that funk will be put on hold by another injury.
Jake Burger steps into the lineup at the hot corner for this evening’s contest with the Blue Jays. That’ll presumably be a regular role for the former first-round pick, who owns a .257/.308/.472 line through 157 plate appearances. Burger has collected eight homers and seven doubles to make a strong impact from a power perspective, but he’s punched out in 31.2% of his trips to the plate while posting a modest 5.7% walk rate.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa told reporters, including Scott Merkin of MLB.com, that Tim Anderson will be back on the roster for tomorrow’s game, hitting leadoff and playing shortstop. Anderson has been on the injured list for about three weeks due to a groin injury. The corresponding move is not known at this time.
The return of Anderson figures to be a huge boost to the Pale Hose, as Anderson has established himself as one of their most important players in recent seasons. He even seemed to be finding another gear in this season’s early going, before being slowed by this injury situation. His 2022 batting line is currently .356/.393/.503, which amounts to a wRC+ of 161, 20 points beyond his previous career high. He’s also dropped his strikeout rate to a mere 11.6% after being between 21 and 23% in the previous three seasons.
Without Anderson around the past few weeks, the club has given most of the shortstop playing time to Danny Mendick, who has held his own admirably. Coming into tonight’s game, he’s hitting .284/.330/.455, 127 wRC+. That might be enough to keep him in the lineup even with Anderson’s return, by shuffling over to second base. Both Leury Garcia and Josh Harrison are having disappointing seasons, meaning that the team might ride the hot hand and bump those two to the side.
Despite dealing with a rash of injuries this year, the White Sox have managed to tread water in the American League postseason race. Their 31-32 record puts them just 4 1/2 games behind the Twins in the Central division and just three games back of a Wild Card spot. With Anderson back in the fold, that should make things a little less shaky going forward, and there could be some further reinforcements a little down the road. Closer Liam Hendriks hopes to be back by July 1, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, and Eloy Jimenez could soon resume his rehab assignment, per James Fegan of The Athletic.
In a corresponding move, the Giants designated catcher Michael Papierski for assignment, per MLB.com’s Maria I. Guardado (via Twitter). This was necessary to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old catcher made is Major League debut this season for the Giants, going hitless with one walk and four strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. The Giants acquired him this season in a trade with the Astros for utilityman Mauricio Dubon.
Mercedes will head to Triple-A for now, but it’s not impossible to see him playing a role for the Giants later this season. He’s a bit redundant with righty Darin Ruf, but the rest of the San Francisco bench leans left-handed. Mercedes crushed lefties last season to the tune of .339/.386/.523 in 70 plate appearances. He did not bring the same oomph against same-handed hurlers, however, hitting just .246/.307/.360 in 175 plate appearances against righties.
More will be known about Moncada’s status after further tests take place, but another injury is the last thing Moncada and the White Sox need. An oblique strain suffered near the end of Spring Training kept Moncada from playing until May 9, and he is hitting a mere .179/.230/.292 over his first 113 plate appearances. Should Moncada need to miss time, the Sox would at least have a ready replacement in the hot-hitting Jake Burger, and Danny Mendick could also find more playing time once Tim Anderson returns from the IL next week and regains his normal shortstop position. However, a Moncada injury would represent yet another setback for a White Sox club that hasn’t been able to play with its ideal first-choice lineup all season.
The White Sox shocked most onlookers when they hired Tony La Russa as manager over the 2020-21 offseason, bringing aboard the three-time World Series champion a decade after the end of his previous managerial stint in St. Louis. Chicago didn’t announce specific terms of La Russa’s contract at the time, calling it only a “multi-year deal.” Jon Heyman of the New York Post added some specifics this week, reporting that the 77-year-old is under contract for 2023 and makes $3.75MM in annual salary.
La Russa is one of the most accomplished managers in MLB history, but he’s also been the subject of some controversy since taking the position. A four-time Manager of the Year award winner and a Hall of Famer, he oversaw a 93-win club that claimed the American League Central title during his first season at the helm. However, this year’s team has stumbled to a disappointing 30-31 start that has them third in the division. Like any manager, La Russa certainly isn’t entirely to blame for the team’s successes or failures, but he’s come under renewed scrutiny from outside observers after a controversial in-game decision last week.
Trailing by two runs in the sixth inning of last Thursday’s contest against the Dodgers, La Russa intentionally walked Trea Turner on a 1-2 count. The decision was meant to enable left-handed reliever Bennett Sousa to face the lefty-hitting Max Muncy, but it was a bizarre call considering Sousa has already worked himself into an advantage count over the right-handed Turner. The perplexing decision was made to look all the worse after Muncy launched a three-run homer to essentially put the game away.
One strategic lapse isn’t going to torpedo La Russa’s job security, particularly in light of the manager’s close relationship with owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The resoundingly-panned move was, however, the latest chapter in what has thus far been an underwhelming 2022 showing on the South Side. There’s still time to turn things around, of course. Chicago just completed a sweep over the Tigers to get within two and a half games of the final Wild Card spot and four and a half behind the division-leading Twins.
As part of that effort, they’ll need dramatically better performance from a few spots on the diamond. The Sox have received bottom five offensive production at both second and third base this year, by measure of wRC+. Leury García and Josh Harrison have both struggled mightily as a platoon at the former position, while Yoan Moncada went a month without a home run before snapping that streak as part of a five-hit day this afternoon. It’s hard to envision the Sox replacing Moncada given his pre-2022 track record, but there’s perhaps room for a shakeup at the keystone.
Utilityman Danny Mendick has hit .288/.337/.475 through his first 26 games of the season, far superior numbers to those of Harrison or García. Mendick has played shortstop recently with Tim Anderson on the injured list, but the latter kicked off a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte yesterday and is likely to return to the MLB lineup fairly soon. James Fegan of the Athletic wrote this morning the Sox could kick Mendick over to second base upon Anderson’s return if they want to keep him in the lineup.
Anderson is one of three regulars on the shelf, as the club is also without left fielder Eloy Jiménez and catcher Yasmani Grandal. Chicago has also placed high-leverage relievers Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks on the injured list in recent days, with the latter hitting the IL yesterday with an ominous-sounding flexor strain in his forearm. General manager Rick Hahn suggested the preliminary timetable for Hendriks’ recovery was three weeks, and the two-time All-Star downplayed any additional worries.
Speaking with reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times) this morning, Hendriks said he’s “not concerned with (the strain) long term at all.” He admitted he’s pitched through a tear in the UCL in his elbow for over a decade but stated the forearm strain hasn’t done any further damage to the ligament. Signed to a $54MM guarantee over the 2020-21 offseason, the righty has an excellent 2.61 ERA across 96 2/3 innings with 54 saves in a ChiSox uniform.
White Sox closer Liam Hendriks has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his forearm, general manager Rick Hahn told reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). He’s been placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 11, with Joe Kelly reinstated from the IL to take his place on the active roster.
Asked about a timetable for Hendriks’ return, Hahn noted the club will have to see “how he responds to treatment over the next few days” but added “the preliminary estimate is three weeks.” A return within a few weeks would register as a positive for the club given the ominous diagnosis, as flexor strains can sometimes be a precursor to more serious elbow problems.
Signed to what amounts to a four-year, $54MM free agent deal over the 2020-21 offseason, Hendriks has generally been excellent for the South Siders. He posted a 2.54 ERA with an otherworldly 42.3% strikeout rate through 71 innings last season, saving 38 games in the process. He’s collected another 16 saves this year and owns a 2.81 ERA across 25 2/3 frames. The righty’s strikeout rate has taken a step back from its previous heights, but he’s still punching out a very strong 34.6% of batters faced.
Hendriks is one of the sport’s top late-inning weapons. The Sox also lost southpaw Aaron Bummer to the IL over the weekend, leaving manager Tony La Russa a bit shorthanded in the bullpen. Despite having a Hendriks – Bummer pairing at the back end, Chicago continued to invest heavily in relief pitching this past offseason. The front office brought in Kendall Graveman and the aforementioned Kelly on multi-year free agent deals, and that duo plus Matt Foster figure to see plenty of high-leverage opportunities over the next few weeks.
The White Sox announced they’ve placed catcher Yasmani Grandal on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 12, due to lower back spasms. Coming off the IL to take his active roster spot is starter Lance Lynn, who is in line to make his season debut. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Lynn — who had been on the 60-day IL — the club has placed reliever Ryan Burr on release waivers.
Grandal missed yesterday’s game against the Rangers because of a left hamstring issue, but the back spasms diagnosis comes as a surprise. Chicago selected Seby Zavala to the MLB roster yesterday as insurance, and he figures to back up Reese McGuire for as long as Grandal is out. The two-time All-Star will be eligible to return by the middle of next week, but the team has yet to provide any sort of timetable for his recovery.
Even prior to the injury, the 2022 campaign has been a nightmare for Grandal. Typically one of the game’s best offensive catchers, the 33-year-old has had a very rough first couple months of the season. Over 201 plate appearances, he’s hitting .185/.294/.237 with just a pair of home runs. Grandal is still drawing walks at an excellent 13.4% clip, but he’s collected only five extra-base hits all year as his batted ball quality has plummeted. It’s a rather shocking downturn for a player who hit .240/.420/.520 in 93 games last season, and the IL stint will perhaps afford Grandal an opportunity for a mental reset as he searches for his previous form.
McGuire, acquired from the Blue Jays just before Opening Day, hasn’t made much of an offensive impact either. He’s hitting .235/.280/.286 in 110 trips to the plate in a Chicago uniform, a step back from the .253/.310/.343 mark he posted in Toronto last year. A left-handed hitter, he’ll pair with the righty-swinging Zavala to form the catching tandem for manager Tony La Russa for now.
Lynn is listed as the probate starter for tonight’s game against the Tigers. La Russa suggested yesterday he’d likely be activated on Tuesday, but he’ll take the ball for the first time a day earlier than anticipated. The 35-year-old righty has been out all season after undergoing right knee surgery in April, but he’s now ready to get back on the hill. That should be a notable boost for a Chicago team that owns a disappointing 27-31 record, as Lynn has been one of the game’s most effective arms over the past couple years. He tossed 157 innings of 2.69 ERA ball last season, earning a two-year contract extension in the process.
Burr, meanwhile, could be seeing his time in the organization come to a close. A Diamondbacks draftee, he was acquired by the ChiSox as a minor leaguer in 2017 and reached the bigs a season later. He’s suited up at the MLB level in each of the past four years, making 66 appearances. The righty has a 4.08 ERA across 75 innings, including an excellent 2.45 mark through 36 2/3 frames a season ago. However, he’s posted a mediocre 20.6% strikeout rate and an elevated 12.2% walk percentage during his MLB tenure.
It seems the primary impetus for Burr’s release, however, is a health issue. The 28-year-old has been on the minor league injured list for the past couple weeks with an undisclosed injury. Players on the MiLB IL still count against a team’s 40-man roster, but injured players cannot be placed on outright waivers. To take Burr off the 40-man roster, Chicago either had to release him or recall him and place him on the MLB 60-day IL. The latter course of action would’ve required paying him a major league salary, however, and the Sox have decided they’d rather expose him to waivers.
While Burr hasn’t missed many bats at the MLB level, he’s induced grounders on more than half the balls in play against him and averaged around 95 MPH on his fastball. That could intrigue another team enough to grab him and stash him on their 40-man roster or major league injured list. If Burr clears waivers, he’d be a free agent.
As the injury bug continues to bite the White Sox, Tim Anderson is at least nearing a return. Manager Tony La Russa told reporters (including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) that Anderson is scheduled to begin a Triple-A rehab assignment on Tuesday. Anderson suffered a groin strain in Chicago’s May 29 game, and at the time, La Russa estimated the star shortstop would need about three weeks of recovery time. This rehab assignment would seemingly put Anderson right on track to match or even beat that projection.
The South Side would love to have Anderson back as soon as possible, given how he was on pace for possibly the best season of his already-standout career. Anderson hit .356/.393/.503 with five home runs over his first 173 plate appearances, plus a perfect 8-for-8 mark in stealing bases. With Eloy Jimenez still on the IL and Yasmani Grandal now nursing a sore hamstring, Anderson’s return is a much-needed boost for a struggling White Sox lineup.