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White Sox Roster Shuffle to Continue

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As the 2022 MLB season rolls toward the end of April, many teams are still looking forward to having a somewhat regular roster. There have been many injuries around baseball, no team has escaped the injury bug in the early going. It may be the lockout, the shortened spring training, or maybe even the cold weather. Whatever the reason, it sure seems as if we have seen more injuries than normal this season. Further complicating the roster issues is the fact that teams will cut down from 28 players to 26 on Monday. Many general managers will have their work cut out for them.

The Chicago White Sox are no stranger to injuries, having faced more than their fair share in 2021. They have also been hit with several key injuries this season, as the training staff has worked overtime trying to keep players on the field. The White Sox began the season with three key players on the injured list. Starter Lancy Lynn, reliever Joe Kelly, and third baseman Yoan Moncada each failed to answer the bell for Opening Day. While Lynn is not expected back until late May, the other two are heading out for rehab assignments this week. With any luck, Moncada and Kelly will be available to manager Tony La Russa sooner than later. So, how will that affect the Sox roster?

The Initial Reduction

Like all MLB teams, the White Sox will need to cut two players from the roster to get down to the new limit of 26. As teams will be allowed to carry 14 pitchers, we can expect that the Sox will do just that. If they do go that route, the most likely candidates are righty reliever Kyle Crick or lefty Anderson Severino. They would also need to cut one position player to get to 26. This might be a tough call between Jake Burger and Danny Mendick. Burger has shown promise as a slugger while Mendick is a much better defender who can play multiple positions.

Our guess is that Sox fans will see Mendick and Crick sent to Charlotte on Monday. The Sox have been struggling to score runs, and Burger is a much bigger offensive presence. Likewise, Severino is a lefty, and the White Sox like to have as many lefties in the pen as possible. He has struggled in his brief time on the South Side, but the fact that he is a southpaw just might give him an edge.

Roster Shuffle – Infield

Yoan Moncada has been a solid third baseman for the South Siders over the last three seasons. Admittedly, he has struggled at times, and many fans are less than enthusiastic about his long-term prospects. However, he is the Sox third baseman when he is healthy and available, much to the chagrin of his detractors. Moncada is expected to begin his rehab assignment in Charlotte on Friday. If all goes well, fans can expect to see him back on the South Side at some time within the next two weeks.

When Moncada returns, the roster shuffle continues for La Russa and general manager Rick Hahn. In his absence, the Sox have had somewhat of a rotation at third base. Jake Burger, Josh Harrison, and Danny Mendick have all taken their turns at the hot corner. Either Mendick or Burger will likely already be in Charlotte. Harrison hasn’t exactly made people forget about Joe Crede. So, it would appear Burger would be sent to Charlotte when Moncada returns.

Harrison isn’t going anywhere as a veteran, though. He will likely slide back over to second base, and play the lion’s share of innings there. The wildcard in all of this is that the Sox do have super-utility man Leury Garcia, who can play all three infield positions. He has also played outfield, and that could affect how La Russa plays it. Yet, if the Sox chose to use Garcia as a backup outfielder, and keep Burger for third base, they would have to send down Adam Engel. That seems highly unlikely, so Burger appears headed for Charlotte once Moncada returns.

Roster Shuffle – Bullpen

Since Lance Lynn is not set to return until the end of May, the focus here is on Kelly. The veteran right-hander signed with White Sox before the season, and almost immediately went on the IL. He was expected to be a major piece of the Sox bullpen in 2022; he still should be a key, albeit later than expected. Kelly also will be in Charlotte Friday to begin his own rehab stint. His return to Chicago will be determined as he progresses, but he should be back fairly soon.

The roster move for Kelly’s return could be interesting, as the bullpen is in constant flux. The two prime candidates for demotion would seem to be lefties Severino or Bennett Sousa. Yes, they are both lefties, a trait that La Russa admires. However, the Sox would still have three lefties in the pen, with Aaron Bummer, Tanner Banks, and the survivor of Severino and Sousa. Of course, they could always designate righty Vince Velasquez for assignment, but that is wishful thinking. Look for Severino to get the ticket to Charlotte.

More to Follow

These are the moves that we anticipate will be made in the next couple of weeks. Yet, if there is one constant on the South Side, that constant is change. Lynn will be coming back at some point, and perhaps someone in the minors will do something crazy. More likely than that is the possibility of injuries. In any event, one can be sure that the Sox roster will be in a state of flux perhaps for the remainder of the season. Sox fans will be watching closely while hoping that whoever is on the roster can get this team going. Stay tuned, Sox fans, or as Hawk used to say “Sit back, relax and strap it down.” This season is going to be quite a ride.

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Mike Fisk is a lifelong baseball fan. For him, there is nothing like being at a baseball game, with the sights, the sounds, the smells. Writing about baseball is a bonus!