The White Sox objectively played their best game of the spring on Thursday, beating the Brewers 9-5. Among the highlights:
- Carlos Rodon delivered four innings that were as easy as they were scoreless.
- Three of the five White Sox pitchers were unscored upon, and Nate Jones’ damage was brief (a Tyler Saladino solo shot).
- Tim Anderson raised his average to .500 with a 2-for-3 day.
- Yoan Moncada doubled, walked, avoided striking out and made a nice play backing up on hop at third.
- Danny Mendick made a diving stab behind second base, then grabbed a share of the home-run lead with a game-breaking three-run shot, giving him the kind of start he needed to stand out in a crowded utility field.
- Daniel Palka struck out in his only trip, but he’s back in action after a hamstring pull.
But it wasn’t completely without incident. Ian Hamilton, making his first appearance of a spring delayed by a car accident, gave up four runs on four hits in his first inning of Cactus League work. The unraveling started with a deep drive to left by Manny Pina that ended up with Pina touching home and Nicky Delmonico in concussion protocol.
From the video, it doesn’t look like he’s tracking the fly ball with that much speed, but Craig Counsell said Delmonico generated enough force for mutual destruction:
“From what we heard, he hit the gate so hard that it popped the gate,’’ Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters after the game. “Broke it. And then there was an exposed pole that he hit his head on pretty good. Pretty scary. The guys in the bullpen said he hit his head pretty hard.”
Delmonico was taken off the field via cart, and the Sox haven’t yet provided further update on his status.
(Update (10:43 a.m.): The White Sox are calling it a mild concussion, and says Delmonico remains in MLB’s concussion protocol)
The injury catches him during a fine start to his spring, as he’s 6-for-15 with two doubles, two walks and two strikeouts. It deals a blow to his chances of making the 25-man roster, but I’m not sure to what extent, because Delmonico has a unique magnetism to him.
If you base it on normal factors, Delmonico should have entered the spring on the outside looking in. He hit just .215/.296/.373 in 88 games last year, and the White Sox’ biggest position player acquisitions cover what he offers — Yonder Alonso a left-handed bat who can help out Jose Abreu at first base, and Jon Jay a left-handed bat in an outfield corner. Both are superior defenders. Delmonico might be able to recapture some of the pop that made him a sensation, but he’d probably have to show it in Charlotte. Daniel Palka, Leury Garcia and an out-of-options Jose Rondon all offer more, which would seemingly give them the priority lane for the remaining spots, and this is before Eloy Jimenez does his Kool-Aid Man impression.
Yet Delmonico has been prominently featured in White Sox marketing all winter, be it SoxFest, the White Sox cruise, or this feature with Chuck Garfien, which I wouldn’t call “epic”:
(As somebody whose ceiling as a drummer was limited only by a weak left hand and worse left foot, I’m fascinated by those who swing baseball bats lefty and golf clubs righty.)
If you judge his future only on presentation, Delmonico resembles a South Side fixture. If you only look at the roster, Delmonico has been Charlotte-bound the whole time. As long as nobody raises the latter possibility, I’m guessing Delmonico’s strategy is to maintain his gregarious brand of status quo until somebody delivers bad news.
It’s not a bad approach, especially given the nature of a rebuilding team. With Jimenez suffering from acute lack of service time, Palka previously sidelined by the hamstring issue and Brandon Guyer slowed by an elbow issue, a White Sox fringe player should consider himself in until he’s out. Hopefully Delmonico remains more in than out after his run-in with the fence.
Is Palka going to be the odd man out when Eloy comes? There is some decisions to be made with all these near replacement level players the Sox have. If they start the year with Jay, Engel, Palka, L. Garcia and Rondon, one will have to go. Palka and Engel are the only ones with options in that group and I don’t see them going with a Jay/Garcia tandem to cover center.
I mean Delmonico kinda did one busting through the wall there too
I’m another one. When I started playing golf, I had to use my dad’s clubs and he was a righty. The good thing was it didn’t mess with my baseball swing then. But I putt left-handed. It takes people a few holes to figure out I’m really screwed up!
My dad forced us to play righty when we were kids because it was harder to find lefty clubs. My brother and I are the same way – throw and write right handed, but batting we preferred lefty (although my brother could switch hit fairly well) and would have golfed lefty if not forced otherwise. After several years of righty golf it felt weird to even try lefty so it stuck.
I’m lefty in everything but golf. I, too, tried golfing lefty after a few years, but it didn’t work.
Both my husband and stepson are righties in everything except hockey.
That is pretty common.
At the age of 16, my Dad took me to play nine holes. He gave me right handed clubs, explaining that as a lefty swinging right handed would be an advantage. It went so poorly, I never went golfing the next 14 years. Thanks Dad.
If it’s such a good idea, why aren’t the righties turning around?
I call bullshit.
The argument is that your lead hand is the strong one, so for a right handed golfer, that would be the left hand. I’m not sure that makes sense.
Phil Mickelson, “Lefty”, is actually right handed in everything else. He golfs left-handed because he learned while “mirroring” his dad. His dad was righty, so he learned lefty.
We’ve hijacked the Nicky Delmonico discussion. He can’t win!
That’s why I switch hit growing up, but I always had more power right handed (I am right handed). So I don’t buy it.
Yeah, I don’t buy it either.
Not a full Rodney, but still….
Or Bump Bailey
I was thinking more of Tanaka from Major League 2.
Delmonico sucks. Hope he’s ok!
Added an update:
There’s potentially nothing mild about any concussion, but given how bad the collision looked, I think this rates as good news. I hope he’s back soon.
The thing with concussions is that the impact/severity of the hit is only half the equation. You also have to take into consideration an individuals sensitivity/susceptibility to concussions.
Why do guys like Brandon Belt and Joe Mauer have so much trouble after seemingly minor traumas? At the same time, there are MMA fighters who are taking multiple shots to the head every fight and not experiencing the same (short-term at least) effects. They are at different ends of the genetic spectrum. If a guy was particularly susceptible to concussions in football or hockey, they’d be weeded out well before they reach the NFL or NHL. Not so in baseball. Head trauma rarely occurs so a player might not know until they reach the MLB that they are sensitive to concussions.
Hopefully that isn’t the case for Nicky and he makes a speedy recovery.
Hopefully, Rodon started a trend yesterday. Good outing for Banuelos today.
Explains why he hit the exposed pole.
Count me as another righty driver/lefty putter. When I played hockey (for a very short time) as a kid I didn’t want my stick blade curved because I liked switching hands. When I play ping pong I will sometimes switch hands rather than hit a backhand because I feel I have better control that way. I switch hit in baseball until tennis elbow did me in. Righty exclusively in tennis though I haven’t played in years. Guess being a little abnormal is what makes us Sox fans.
If we were normal (and sane), we wouldn’t be Sox fans!!
Who kidnapped the White Sox and put a real major league team in their place?!?
I turned on my TV to the YES Network because I am apparently lacking in enough punishment in my sporting life that hearing Yankee telecasts seemed like a good idea. Anyway, they’re playing the Tigers in Florida, and to my surprise Old Friend Gordon Beckham came up to the plate for Detroit.
Weird to see him wearing the Olde English D on his helmet.
Less weird was Gordon striking out on three pitches.
The Sox should sign Kimbrel, 1 year $30 million. If the Sox suck, they get their money back in prospects from the midseason trade. If they’re good, everyone is happy. The Chapman trade to the Cubs brought back Gleyber Torres. Kimbrel would almost certainly net a similar prospect.
You know the White Sox would trade him along with a prospect so they could get their money back. And then that prospect would turn out to be really good.