The good news for the White Sox is the return of Adam Engel.
The bad news is that Billy Hamilton is out.
Before Sunday’s series finale with the Tigers, the Sox reinstated Engel (hamstring) from the injured list while placing Hamilton (right oblique strain) on the 10-day IL. Engel made his season debut Sunday, batting eighth and playing center field.
“We’re glad to get him back, a lot of value,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He can do a lot of things for us.”
Engel strained his right hamstring during a March 20 spring training game and then suffered a setback, delaying the start of his season. During a seven-game rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte, Engel went 8 for 28 as he got acclimated to live pitching and made sure his outfield reads were sharp.
But the setback, Engel said, was really tough.
“I really care about this team a lot, so it was hard to see that and experience that,” Engel said. “I’m glad I get to put that behind me.”
Other than maybe not lifting as much weight off the field, Engel said he’s able to run full speed and do everything he needs to on a baseball field. That’s good news for the Sox, whose outfield depth has been tested without Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and now Hamilton.
“It felt good to get back out there, and things went well the last couple weeks so I’m excited to get back with the big-league club,” Engel said.
As for Hamilton, the 30-year-old outfielder was developing a niche as a sparkplug, delivering value with his speed and glove. The Sox will be without him for at least 10 days, after he was seen grabbing at his right side during his fourth-inning at-bat Saturday.
La Russa said Hamilton’s injury doesn’t seem to be a tear, a somewhat-positive development because an injury like that could keep him out for weeks.
The latest on Kopech, Fry
Michael Kopech, on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring since May 31 (retroactive to May 28), is having normal soreness but responding “very well” to a ramped-up throwing program, La Russa said.
La Russa said there isn’t a final determination of when the Sox will activate Kopech, but he’s progressing and that “everything is going in the right direction.”
Kopech’s return would be a boost for the Sox. He’s been a key part of the bullpen and also spot starter, going 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
As for left-handed reliever Jace Fry (microdiscectomy), he has no ERA in five innings during his rehab stint at Charlotte. La Russa said the Sox could use him, and that Fry is being careful as things progress.
“We are optimistic but it’s slow play,” La Russa said.
Abreu gets a breather
The Sox gave Jose Abreu a day off Sunday to rest, which is effectively two days off because of Monday’s open date. Abreu is 4 for 26 in his last eight games, and struck out twice in Saturday’s loss.
In place of Abreu, Andrew Vaughn started at first for the fifth time this year.