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It turns out Jake Burger was lifted from Wednesday’s Charlotte Knights game for the good reason, albeit due to bad news above.
The White Sox unveiled the Opening Day roster, and Burger is on it thanks to an oblique strain that’s shelving Yoán Moncada to start the season. Rick Hahn gave an estimated absence of three weeks, with hopes that it’s on the conservative side.
Moncada is one of six members of the White Sox on the injured list, and Ryan Burr is the other surprise (right shoulder strain). The other injuries had been previously announced:
- Joe Kelly (right biceps nerve injury)
- Lance Lynn (right knee surgery)
- Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery)
- Yermín Mercedes (left hamate bone surgery)
Perhaps you can mentally account for Moncada by noting that Andrew Vaughn, who was expected to miss a couple weeks due to his hip pointer, won’t require an IL stint to start the season. It’s not quite an even-up swap because Moncada’s a switch-hitter, but if you picked Burger as your breakout player, this certainly puts those wheels in motion.
The White Sox are still able to field a strong 28-man roster around those injuries, half of whom are pitchers. Going position-by-position:
Rotation: Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Dallas Keuchel, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo López.
Relievers: Liam Hendriks, Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman, Kyle Crick, Matt Foster, José Ruiz, Vince Velasquez, Tanner Banks, Bennett Sousa
Catchers: Yasmani Grandal, Reese McGuire
Infielders: José Abreu, Tim Anderson, Jake Burger, Josh Harrison, Leury García, Danny Mendick, Gavin Sheets
Outfielders: Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, AJ Pollock, Andrew Vaughn, Adam Engel
Beyond Burger, the biggest surprise is Banks, a 30-year-old lefty who was selected in the 18th round of the 2014 draft. He’s spent his career making lives easier for his minor-league managers with 100-plus innings from a rotation spot, but he shifted to bullpen work last season, and showed up this spring throwing 94. With Crochet leaving a void among lefty relievers who can cover multiple innings, Banks has the opportunity of a lifetime.
Banks and Crick are new to the 40-man roster, and the White Sox accommodated them by outrighting Seby Zavala to Charlotte and designating Micker Adolfo for assignment. Unlike Zavala, Adolfo doesn’t seem likely to survive the waiver process, and we’ll update that front when news arrives.