CHICAGO -- Without a ton of depth, good health was imperative for the Chicago White Sox, and so far things have gone nothing like the team hoped.
Not only does John Danks continue to recover from last summer’s shoulder surgery, but Dayan Viciedo is now on the disabled list with an oblique strain, joining fellow Opening Day starter Gordon Beckham, who fractured the hamate bone in his left hand/wrist.
“I don’t remember an April where we’ve had five guys on the DL, but that’s just part of the gig and that’s where we’re at right now,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Fortunately, nothing seems that long term. We expect all of these guys to be back in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we’ll give some other guys opportunities.
“You’ve seen Conor Gillaspie make the most of his chance to get more regular at-bats, and here’s a chance now for guys like [Jordan] Danks, [Blake] Tekotte and Dewayne Wise to step up and play a larger role.”
While Viciedo was still trying to find his way in the early going, Beckham was off to a solid start before he was injured. Taking advantage of his spot toward the end of the White Sox’s order, Beckham was batting .316 after the first seven days, although he had yet to deliver an extra-base hit.
With Jeff Keppinger moving over to second base, Gillaspie has made the most of his opportunity at third base. He closed out the road trip on an 0-for-6 slide but was still batting .364 with a .485 slugging percentage at the start of play Saturday.
Gillaspie was acquired at the start of spring training as a nod to the club’s lack of depth. The White Sox’s system is not highly regarded by baseball publications, like Baseball America, that monitor the minor leagues.
Hahn was asked whether the injuries and a 7-9 start have tempted to tinker with the roster via trades.
“Given all the injuries, it’s been fairly easy to tinker and scratch that itch, so to speak,” Hahn said. “It certainly is a temptation to explore other options, but it’s way too soon to avert from the plan except when forced to due to injury.
“We’d rather get up to at least 6-8-week sample before you start drawing any sort of long-term conclusions, whether it be the guys who have gotten off to fantastic starts or the guys who have struggled early.”
Health issues haven’t been exclusive to the roster. Pitching coach Don Cooper missed the entire 10-game road trip with a digestive issue that required hospitalization in Washington D.C.
“It wasn’t a good road trip,” Ventura said of his club, which went 3-7 on its three-city swing. “Not only losing players, but you’re losing staff members. But again, it’s part of the game, and you just have to be able to have somebody come in and pick it up and keep going. That’s just part of baseball and being a long season and being able to make it work.”