The Chicago White Sox travel to Oakland to face the Athletics after winning four out of seven games this past week. At 19-20, the White Sox keep hovering right around .500 and figure to remain there for the foreseeable future. Injuries have played a big factor in limiting the success of this team, but the White Sox are hoping to get two key players back shortly.
Leadoff man and center fielder Adam Eaton is set to begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday. If everything goes well, Eaton is scheduled to rejoin the White Sox this Sunday versus the Houston Astros. Eaton’s injury has hampered the White Sox roster over the past ten days while only having three outfielders. When Eaton returns, the White Sox have some decisions to make with regards to their roster.
The first decision is who gets sent down when Eaton comes back? Marcus Semien and Leury Garcia avoided demotion when Conor Gillaspie returned from the disabled list last week, but I’m not sure how much longer the White Sox can operate with only three outfielders. So, one of the two infielders will likely have to go. Semien is the better player, but Garcia’s versatility might be more valuable at this time. Semien needs to get at-bats, and I don’t know if starting only against left-handed starters will be enough action to warrant him staying in the big leagues.
If the White Sox still elect to only go with three outfielders, then either Moises Sierra or even Alejandro De Aza will be designated for assignment. Some White Sox fans might be surprised if De Aza was DFA’d, but the reality is that he is a terrible outfielder, an even worse base runner, and his .194 batting average shouldn’t be enough to save his job. In addition, manager Robin Ventura hinted that changes might be in store after yesterday’s lackluster performance, and De Aza is the only starting player I could think of being in jeopardy of losing his job. On the other hand, the White Sox just acquired Moises Sierra and they reportedly see a lot of potential in him. Sierra has eight hits in his first twenty-two at-bats, including a home run yesterday, so his early production could be enough to help him stick with the White Sox when Eaton comes back on Sunday.
Sale Coming Back?
For the first time since starting pitcher Chris Sale went on the disabled list, the White Sox have disclosed a detailed plan for the lefty’s return. Sale threw a simulated game on Saturday and will now make two rehab starts before hopefully returning at the end of the month against the New York Yankees. Since Sale has already been out longer than originally expected, it makes me wonder if the injury is more serious than reported. While that is certainly a possibility, I think the White Sox are just being cautious with their “Ace”. As much as the White Sox want Sale on the mound this season, they realize that it is more important to have Sale healthy and on the mound in 2015 and beyond. Given the state of the current starting rotation, I think I can speak for all White Sox fans that we are eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best pitchers in baseball. Hopefully, he’ll remain on the mound for the final four months of the season and provide the stability that is desperately needed to the pitching staff as a whole.
Last week, I examined the hot starts of Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, and Tyler Flowers and determined that all three players would start to regress in the coming weeks. One week later and all three players have seen their batting averages drop by at least .20 points. Ramirez saw his average fall from .356 to .333, Viciedo’s average dropped from .337 to .297, and Flowers’ average dipped from .354 to .324. I’ll be interested to see where all three of these players’ averages sit at the end of May, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are all hitting under .300 by June.