MESA, Ariz. — Andrew Vaughn feared the worst when he got hurt making a diving catch for the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Same for his team, which is looking for the slugger to play a key role this year.
They’re all feeling much better now.
Vaughn was diagnosed with a hip pointer, and he could return to game action in one to two weeks. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft ditched his crutches Tuesday and took some swings Wednesday.
“As soon as I dove, I landed on my hip,” Vaughn said. “Thought I was fine. Got up, wiggled around a little bit. Took that first step and it kind of gave out. My mind went to the worst thought. I’m up walking and I feel pretty good now.”
While Vaughn is feeling much better, the White Sox are preaching caution. Asked about Vaughn taking some swings, manager Tony La Russa cracked: “Looked like me, that’s not good.”
“The reports were that we dodged a severe bullet,” La Russa said. “But I think he’s going to have some soreness and just got to go reasonably slow with him.”
Vaughn, who turns 24 on Sunday, was a first baseman when he played college ball at the University of California. But he started working in left field after Eloy Jimenez got hurt during spring training last year.
The White Sox are looking for a regular right fielder this season, so Vaughn was playing that position when he landed on his right hip while making a play on Hanser Alberto‘s line drive during a 9-0 exhibition win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had to be carted off the field.
“It’s kind of like the worst charley horse you ever had,” Vaughn said. “It just sticks around and it’s kind of lingering. But it’s going away. Have a lineman hit you with his helmet, that’s what I’ve been told it feels like.”
Vaughn has been working with White Sox coach Daryl Boston on his outfield defense, and he has noticed an improvement.
“It’s become more natural, it really has,” he said. “Not doing it for forever until last year really, just being comfortable with D-Bo working out there. Actual game reps help the most.”
Vaughn was among the top college hitters in the 2019 draft. He batted .376 with 50 homers and 163 RBIs in 160 games over three seasons with the Golden Bears.
He made his White Sox debut a year ago, showing signs that he might be able to add another impact bat to the team’s deep lineup. He hit .318 with nine homers and 25 RBIs during one 44-game stretch, but he struggled at the end of the season.
He had been looking good this spring, batting .467 (7 for 15) with a solo homer.
“I made some minor adjustments at the plate,” Vaughn said. “Kind of locked myself down to the ground a little better and been feeling really good.”
With the White Sox planning on going slowly, Vaughn likely won’t be ready in time for Opening Day on April 8 at Detroit. La Russa could go with Adam Engel or Leury Garcia in right depending on the matchups, and Adam Haseley was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Haseley was selected by Philadelphia with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft. He has appeared in 72 games in center field, 35 in left and 19 in right.
“He’s a left-hand talent. Anxious to get him in here and see what he looks like,” La Russa said.
Vaughn, for his part, is balancing wanting to play with making sure he’s ready when he returns.
“Sooner rather than later, that’s my goal,” he said. “It’s all on feel and just gotta go day by day and see how it goes.”