Injury Updates for Jose Abreu and Michael Kopech

After suffering a pretty scary hit on the knee by a pitch, nobody would blame Jose Abreu if he needed some time off to heal. With Monday’s game rained out, Abreu got a day off, whether he liked it or not, but it seems he was ready to play.

Before the weekend, Tony La Russa mentioned giving Abreu more rest days in a postgame conference. Mainly intending to save his slugger’s legs for the final push come September and into October. There is also the benefit of taking a mental break as Abreu is having the worst month of June in his career. The month-long slump has tanked his slash line down to .241/.321/.433.

While we’ve seen Abreu convince training staff and managers to let him play, perhaps it could be worthwhile for him to listen to their advice. If the recommendation is a trip to the 10-day IL, Abreu could be back for the Baltimore Orioles series July 9-11. Or, he could take that weekend off and enjoy the All-Star Break before the Houston Astros come into town. Missing half of July usually is not a good thing for Abreu or the White Sox, but at age 34, it’s time for both parties to think about load management.

Resting Abreu for a couple of weeks could help energize the slugging first baseman for a postseason run. Another benefit is a trial run to see what Gavin Sheets or Jake Burger can do in his stead. Sheets is currently hitting .292/.352/.472 in AAA and is faring even better against right-handers .324/.359/.541 with six home runs. Foot speed is still an issue for Sheets, but he has been getting playing time in right field for manager Wes Helms.

Burger leads the Knights in OPS at .901 that breaks down to .301/.343/.558. The former first-round pick is also one of the Knights hitters performing better on the road than at home (Road: .321/.356/.560; Home: .278/.329/.557). However, there is a gigantic split difference between facing left-handers and right-handers for Burger. Against southpaws, Burger is crushing them, hitting .365/.411/.856 with six home runs in 56 at-bats. Put a right-hander on the mound, and Burger comes back to Earth .270/.311/.423 with 37 strikeouts in 111 at-bats.

If a call-up is indeed in the plans between the two AAA sluggers, it should be Sheets getting the nod. The White Sox need more help facing righties, and a two-week trial could help understand what they truly have in Sheets. Perhaps it could help Rick Hahn more time before finalizing a trade or another ball club’s sparks interest in Sheets if he performs well.

All of this depends on how the White Sox handles Abreu. If he convinces them that he’s fine and can play, then it’s back to the status quo. But if there is genuine concern about Abreu’s knee, perhaps it’s time for the Hall-of-Famer manager to convince him that taking two weeks off is not the end of the world. Sure, the White Sox will miss Abreu, but they’ve been missing his bat all month.

Michael Kopech close to returning

After throwing his second sim game in a week, it appears that Michael Kopech is close to returning, which is excellent news for the White Sox bullpen. Since being placed on the IL on May 31, the White Sox bullpen has a June ERA of 4.60 as the bridge to closer Liam Hendriks is shaky. Kopech could once again help solidify that hand-off while continuing to act as the emergency starting pitcher when doubleheaders arise.

Thanks to the waves of rain in Chicagoland the past week, it just so happens there are more doubleheaders on the White Sox schedule. With Monday, June 28 game postponed, it’ll be made up as a doubleheader on Monday, July 19. Kopech could make another start in the season to tease White Sox fans what is to come in 2022 and beyond.

Adding Kopech to the active roster means someone from the bullpen has to be sent to Charlotte. Ryan Burr replaced Kopech and is getting good results carrying a scoreless 10.1 innings streak in 2021. The strikeout rate could be better (23.5%), but Burr is generating ground balls 59.1% of the time.

If someone has to go back to Charlotte, it shouldn’t be Burr. Matt Foster is often the forgotten man in the bullpen, and for a good reason. In June, Foster has allowed ten hits and five walks in just 7.1 innings. That won’t cut it. There is also fellow 2020 bullpen savior Codi Heuer, who has as many strikeouts as earned runs (six) in 7.0 innings this month. Both Foster and Heuer have three options left and should receive the airplane ticket back to Charlotte instead of Burr.

Martyl Reinsdorf passes away

Marty Reinsdorf, the wife of White Sox Chairman, Jerry, passed away yesterday at 85. An accomplished jeweler, Martyl’s lasting legacy for the White Sox is the 2005 World Series ring that she designed. In addition to her jeweler, Martyl also produced coloring books for charitable organizations that helped kids worldwide.

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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lifelongjd

I agree with the conservative approach with Abreu. He hasn’t looked right for most of the season, and even more so the last month. Shutting him down for a couple weeks wouldn’t be the worst especially if they can utilize th All Star Break for some extra down time.
Anyone have any idea how good Sheets is in RF? Seems like an easy decision if he could play somewhat competent defense and am surprised he hasn’t gotten a shot with Eaton being injured. I think the Sox are taking it slow with Burger. Don’t want to overextend him or ask too much considering all he’s gone through. But man, bringing both these guys up sounds exciting.

NorthSideSouthSider

If Abreu goes on the IL, I’d like for them to call up Burger and Sheets and give them a run through the all star break. The Sox are carrying 14 pitchers right now, so they can send down Burdi and then pick the spots for those 2 to get a look over the next 2 weeks or so.

texag10

An OF of Vaughn/Goodwin/Sheets sounds like an absolute nightmare, defensively. Even replacing Goodwin with Hamilton sounds troublesome.

WHITESOX_RIGHT_SOX

It is scary to think about, but what can you do when the whole OF plus best backup option(s) go down? I too would like to see what Sheets can do. We have a litany of out of position players as it is on the big league club, what’s one more? May boost his trade value as well (or diminish it). I say take the gamble!

If Abreu goes on IL, slide Luis Gonzalez to LF and let Sheets patrol RF where he has gotten some reps in AAA. Maybe he could be our longer term solution for RF

jhomeslice

Luis Gonzalez cannot hit. He could not hit at AAA. The Sox biggest problem right now is scoring runs, 3 or less in 7 of the last 9 games. Regardless of whether Abreu goes on the DL, they could call up Sheets – who might actually get a hit – and send Gonzalez down. The last thing they need right now is a defense only outfielder with no bat whatsoever.

mikeyb

There was a point this year where I thought we might be able to have arguably the greatest defensive outfield in White Sox history late in games with Hamilton/Robert/Engel. Now tonight we might be running out the worst defensive OF the Sox have ever had. How the hell is this team in 1st place?

Last edited 1 year ago by mikeyb
texag10

Cut off one head, two more shall take its place.

joewho112

Yep, I would definitely prefer 140 games of Abreu at close to 100% than 160 games at 75% or whatever.

I am of the Gregg Popovich mindset. Until they start awarding trophies for regular season wins, I’d rather be generous with days off in general so they can be healthy in the playoffs.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I also saw that when Billy Hamilton comes back he’s done with switch-hitting. He’ll be batting right-handed full-time. I don’t know how many at bats he’ll get against righties, but I thought it was interesting.

Infield Grass

I actually found it reassuring they said this is going to happen. I remember looking at Hamilton’s splits before he got hurt and it was hugely in favor of him hitting right-handed where he was actually very playable against left-handed pitching. He also did show an ability to drive the ball into the gap right-handed that he doesn’t have at all left-handed. So just focus on the right-handed swing. I would start him against left-handers and then you have a pinch runner/defensive replacement in the other games.

metasox

I imagine some of the reason to bat lefty was to make it easier to beat out infield ground balls. But if really wants to try to make harder contact, that won’t be so much of his game

HallofFrank

I don’t know how he’ll hit RH vs. RHP, but the bar is pretty low in this lineup. Even if he’s better vs. LHP, I’d be tempted to play him more vs. RHP because the rest of the offense is so bad vs. RHP. So (theoretically) even if Hamilton is much better vs. LHP, I’d guess the offensive gap between Hamilton and other options vs. RHP is smaller than the gap between Hamilton and other options vs. LHP. And, if it’s going to be a low-scoring affair, you might as well take Hamilton’s defense and hope he can beat out a close play.

HallofFrank

Burger’s splits are extreme, but only because he is *crushing* LHP. The .270/.311/.423 line suggests he’s decent enough against RHP. In fact, a .734 OPS against RHP is bested only by TA and Moncada on the big league club—and only Anderson beats Burger’s .423 SLG. I’m not saying that line would transfer as is to Chicago, but if his AAA success at all transfers to Chicago then I’d expect him to outperform most of the team against RHP.

If Abreu needs a short break, I’d gamble on Burger’s bat over Sheets’s and cycle in one of them with Collins at 1B/DH.

texag10

If Abreu goes on the IL, I think Sheets has to be the guy called up since he can theoretically handle RHPs better. There is a part of me that wants Burger and Fry to both be called up though so we can have the combo meal in Chicago.

joewho112

They just need to trade for Zach Pop from the Marlins

Malkatraz

sox already have Colas.

asinwreck

Given the stress of all these injuries, I’d prefer they get Seth Beer from the Diamondbacks.

jhomeslice

Like the combo meal, LOL. Totally agree. I know Mercedes had a good game Sunday. I suppose is not out of realm of possibility that he comes out of his epic slump. I would not bet that he is going to do much. Unless he keeps hitting the next few games, bring up Burger. Aside from Sunday Mercedes has been pretty much the worst DH imaginable since the start of May. It would be nearly impossible for Burger not to be an improvement over what Yermin has done the past 6 weeks. Ditto for Sheets if they want someone who might be able to play a little outfield, and who is a lefty. Sheets has a .900 OPS vs righties, might be a great platoon partner for Vaughn and be more suited to left field than right.

And nobody can convince me that Fry’s control issues make him a worse gamble right now than Foster. He’s getting guys out at AAA with some success, Foster is not. If they don’t like Fry, Nic Turley is also doing well enough to deserve a try over Foster. Send Foster and Luis Gonzalez down, regardless of what they do with Abreu.

GrinnellSteve

My condolences to the Reinsdorf family. Losing a wife/mother/grandmother is never easy, regardless of age.

Soxfan2

The Blue Jays made a nice trade that actually would have fit us perfectly.

They acquired RP Adam Cimber and LF Corey Dickerson for Joe Panik and a minor league pitcher.

Dickerson is hurt, so they basically got a pretty good RP in Cimber to take on Dickerson’s contract for the rest of the year.

Cimber would be a pretty nice add to our bullpen and he’s not a free agent till 2025. Dickerson will be out for at least another month but is a guy that can play LF and hit righties. He has a career 122 wRC+ against righties but has a 103 wRC+ over his last 100 games against righties. He still would not be a bad bench bat or a guy to get OF reps when he gets back.

Malkatraz

I don’t really get why the Marlins wanted Panik… that “minor league pitcher” must be something.

texag10

Fangraphs doesn’t even have an FV on him so that seems to be a bad sign.

hitlesswonder

Yeah – the minor leaguer is an interesting arm with control issues, relief only. Not one of TOR top ten.

This would have been a great trade for the Sox, except that Dickerson is out for at least another month, and I think the Sox need an OF bat before then.

Qubort

It was purely a salary dump by the Marlins.

metasox

Have there been any rumblings about the Sox prioritizing outfielders? I get the feeling they may just count on guys coming back from the IL

Right Size Wrong Shape

Gavin Sheets fans rejoice

jhomeslice

I applaud them for bringing up Sheets and demoting Gonzalez. Hopefully they actually give Sheets some at bats this time. I hope Foster is in the minors pretty soon as well.

joewho112

More leg injuries

Right Size Wrong Shape

I wonder if this one’s real, or if it’s just to open up a roster spot?

Last edited 1 year ago by Right Size Wrong Shape

He came up limping slightly on a running catch. Stayed in the game.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Thanks. I didn’t see most of the weekend’s games.

That was a gift gave yourself…

jhomeslice

The number of leg injuries is getting ridiculous. Lamb is what, the 6th outfielder the Sox have on the DL? Lamb, Hamilton, and the big 4 (not that Eaton could be expected to stay healthy). Eloy excepted since his was a collision, but still. Plus Madrigal, Kopech. You can’t help but wonder what might be going on, since a lot of guys up and down the league seem to be injured. Ketel Marte on the DL now also with a leg thing, whether he is on Sox radar or not. I cannot recall anything close to this number of injuries in any prior season.

joewho112

That’s why you don’t skip leg day

mikeyb

Maybe they had been using Spider Tack to hold their hamstrings together.

jhomeslice

Eloy with an instagram post “The #74 is almost back to the game!!”

Wonder if that means he is nearing a rehab assignment? My highest hope was that he would be back first week or two of August, maybe he will be able to beat that. I sure hope they are not rushing him above all else.

roke1960

I see Moncada is not in the lineup today. He sure looked lethargic Sunday. I wonder if he might be going on the IL soon.

As Cirensica

GrinnellSteve

This is a more authoritative answer than mine.

GrinnellSteve

I wonder if it’s long-haul covid. A year later she still has lethargic days where simple tasks like walking to work wear her down.

GrinnellSteve

I must be on drugs today. This comment is about a friend of mine and wonder if Yoan has the same.

WHITESOX_RIGHT_SOX

Moncada absent from tonight’s lineup after the off day is not a good sign. Hope he’s okay

Malkatraz

So if Abreu didn’t force his way back into the lineup with his gimpy leg, the Sox would only be starting one projected opening day position player… yikes.

Foulkelore

Two outside of Abreu: Grandal and Anderson. That’s still a “yikes” though.

Malkatraz

I saw collins was catching… forgot about Grandal, the new DH.

jhomeslice

Luis Robert cleared to resume baseball activities today as well. That’s really good news. It said he should be like 4 weeks away from rehab assignment. Seems like it is not crazy to think both Robert and Eloy could both be back well before September.

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice
Foulkelore

Wow, you’re all about the good news today. Given about 4 weeks of “baseball activity” for each and a 3 week rehab assignment (figure between 2-4 weeks), Eloy might be back mid-to-late July, and Robert mid-to-late August, if all goes well. I would definitely take that.

GrinnellSteve

I had written off any talk of Robert coming back as happy talk. I thought he was done for the year. The possibility that he could be back for more than just a cup of coffee in September has me giddy.

I have held out hope we might see Eloy around the trade deadline.

dwjm3

Another reason to get a right fielder at the deadline….If we have both Robert and Eloy back we are a legit contender and can go all in.

Malkatraz

after Adam Engel’s 34 setbacks, can we really count on any injured player to come back and contribute?

dwjm3

I don’t see a lot of reason to doubt Eloy as the doctors repaired the issue. I do think Robert will be a little more of a question mark but Buxton returned from the same injury this year.

metasox

But those coming back probably makes an outfield acquisition less likely

dwjm3

It really shouldn’t but of course if Jerry can save a buck he will