City of the Hurt Shoulders: Nick Madrigal, Edwin Encarnción leave game early

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 31: Chicago White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal (1) bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals on July 31, 2020 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

Milwaukee hasn’t been kind to one specific part of numerous White Sox bodies.

One game after Carlos Rodón left his start with a shoulder issue, Nick Madrigal and Edwin Encarnación both left tonight’s game with shoulder injuries of their own. The White Sox described Madrigal’s as as “injured left shoulder,” while Encarnación’s received the milder tag of “left shoulder soreness.”

Encarnación’s injury description fit the visuals, as he seemed to tweak something high on his left side while hitting a grounder to the left side in the fourth inning. He legged out an infield single and remained on the basepaths after a visit from the trainer, but when the DH spot next arrived, Zack Collins took his place.

Madrigal’s injury looked like a broken wrist. He made an ill-advised attempt to go from first to third on Luis Robert’s rocket single through the middle with nobody out in the third inning. Avisaíl Garcia made a strong throw from center field that beat Madrigal to the bag, and the tag did as well. Madrigal, sliding feet first, bounced his left wrist behind him in support, then immediately clutched it and headed back to the dugout with trainer escort.

Madrigal had broken the same wrist sliding into home during his junior year at Oregon State back at the end of February 2018, and that jumped to mind when seeing Madrigal grab his lower forearm area after such an innocuous play. Perhaps that was just to control the torque on the shoulder joint, but given that Rodón’s shoulder issue seemed to be traced to his neck — with the White Sox sounding optimistic about his chances earlier today — we may as well wait for the promised further evaluation on both injuries before jumping to conclusions.

The Sox do have MLB-grade options at second base, although it’s a little thin right now since Leury García is pressed into regular shortstop duty with Tim Anderson recovering from a groin injury. Danny Mendick replaced him at second on Tuesday, and he’s probably the man going forward, with Ryan Goins providing relief from the left side of the plate. When Anderson returns, there may not be a huge disparity on day-to-day quality at the position. The lack of upside now and the missing development time for later would be the bigger concerns.

(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

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If the White Sox get to the point where Goins will be receiving playing time, I’d wouldn’t hate the idea of signing Tim Beckham or Scooter Gennett. I think both have higher upside than Goins, though Goins wasn’t terrible in his playing time last year.


With all the injuries and covid, am a little surprised anyone is left who isn’t an indy ball regular


Do we know if Anderson is expected back at around the minimum 10 day mark


Can we promote Bummer to closer? Colome is fine, but why deal with this high wire act every night when you can have Bummer just mow down hitters?


Some guys thrive more in a set-up role than as closers. Matt Thornton was a prime example. Bummer might be that way, too.

lil jimmy

Bummer being a LHP, he can be brought in now for maximum effect. If he closes, he just faces whoever is up.


I’m happy to leave things as they are for the time being, but I’ve been thinking about what we do for next year. There are plenty of high-upside arms to fill out the bullpen, but the 2021 closer’s role is an open question.

Do we:
1. Re-sign Colome, a closer on the wrong side of 30 who gets the job done but always seems to make things interesting? He’d probably require a multi-year contract, but probably not for a back-breaking amount.
2. Sign a top-of-the-market closer for a team with few other obvious holes? The payroll will already be approaching this year’s high water mark. Will Jerry be willing to spend a bit extra to put the Sox over the top, even after a low-revenue 2020 season? (Note: I have no idea who is even available)
3. Trade for a proven closer? There are still enough prospects left in the system to go out and get a good pitcher, but that would leave the cupboard pretty bare. Still, if there was ever a time to mortgage the future and go all in, 2021 is probably the year
4. Promote Aaron Bummer to the closer’s role? He’s got the pitch mix and the peripherals to handle the job, but some guys are just better in a set-up role. And if Aaron takes the 9th, does that mean Jace Fry is now our key LH set-up man? 2018 Fry looked poised for such a role, but his recent results have been less than inspiring.


For however long this season runs, the Sox have opportunities to give Heuer, Johnson, and Hamilton innings against MLB hitters. We may know more by October if any of these guys merits a larger role for 2021.

This season so far has not been a great one for “proven closers” with injuries (Giles, Osuna) and ineffectiveness (a whole bunch of guys, most acutely Kimbrel) causing teams to improvise. Given how poorly Herrera pitched and the discontent around Cishek, do we really want to see this front office spend capital on an expensive reliever?