The daily injury update for the White Sox was a mixed bag Wednesday. Andrew Vaughn is “most probably” headed to the injury list after missing his fifth game in a row with a sore right hand, manager Tony La Russa said.
“The bruise is deep and it’s in an area where it’s a tough spot to handle it,” La Russa said. “It just alters everything you do so we’re definitely re-thinking and I guess there’s still an option where he can get healthy and he can swing really and get back in shape.”
That would be the IL. Vaughn was hit by a pitch Friday against the Angels and x-rays were negative. But there was still “tons of inflammation” five days later, he said.
“It’s kind of progressed, but it’s still aching when I swing, real bad,” Vaughn said. “Like it’s kind of blocking me from swinging because of the pain. I feel it all the time.”
On the plus side, third baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed reliever Joe Kelly will likely wrap up their rehabilitation assignments with Triple-A Charlotte this weekend and could be reinstated when the Sox open a home stand against the Cleveland Guardians Monday.
Vaughn would miss at least another seven days, and will probably go on the 10-day IL before the Sox open a three-game series in Boston Friday. The most an IL stint can be backdated is three days.
Vaughn, 24, was leading the Sox with four homers when he went down and was one of their top hitters with a .283/.367/.566 hitting line and .933 OPS.
Moncada, Kelly close; Cueto, too?
Kelly (right biceps nerve), signed to a two-year, $17 million contract, was expected to make his second appearance for Charlotte Wednesday. Moncada (right oblique strain) was 4-for-11 with a home run in three games through Tuesday. Neither player has appeared with the Sox this season.
Right-hander Johnny Cueto made what was likely his last start for Charlotte and could also join the team next week.
Third baseman Jake Burger, who has played a lot of third base in Moncada’s absence, came to the park feeling sore after crashing into the side wall tracking a foul ball that was well out of his reach Tuesday night. Burger stayed in the game and was not in Wednesday’s lineup.
*Eloy Jimenez (hamstring) played catch and fielded soft fungoes from coach Daryl Boston. Jimenez is expected to be out another five to seven weeks.
Managers constantly juggle bullpen usage not only according to matchups and game situations but how their relievers feel on a given day. Working more than two days in a row is usually off limits.
At times pitchers are available only a pinch even if they were off the previous day, which explains why La Russa handed righty Matt Foster the eighth inning of a 3-1 game against the Cubs Tuesday. It was the highest leveraged appearance for Foster, who has allowed one earned run in seven appearances over 11 innings.
Kendall Graveman was not available, La Russa said.
“It’s common sense,” La Russa said. “It’s early. We have been pushing him, and it’s a long season. And we’ve got a deep bullpen.”
Closer Liam Hendriks said pitchers are always sore to some degree or another.
“We usually have this conversation in the bullpen, especially with the young guys,” Hendriks said, “when is the last time you’ve pitched without pain? Last year, I was talking to Craig [Kimbrel] last year and his was 2014, mine was right around 2014 as well. Can’t remember the last time we’ve thrown without something going on.”