White Sox enter 2012 with a notable advantage

White Sox enter 2012 with a notable advantage
Jake just needs to do this safely another 3600 times // Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Want to see something pretty?

Look at this.

That would be a team-by-team breakdown of injury updates for Major League Baseball heading into Opening Day.  For the majority of well-adjusted human beings, a catalogue of the suffering endured by well-paid professionals is not intrinsically enjoyable, so I direct your attention to the White Sox entry on this list.

It is blank.  It is the only team that has no one listed on the report.  Now, Milwaukee is likely to have weathered Spring injuries to Corey Hart and Shawn Marcum in time to have them on hand for Opening Day, and I'm not sure the Angels actually care about anyone on their list, but there's something meaningful about White Sox having achieved this fluky distinction.

They have nothing currently to worry about.

Perhaps this is the real reason they traded Christian Marrero.

Jesse Crain's strained oblique was the one scare of the Spring.  He sat out two weeks, experienced no flare-ups upon his return, and was able to make a handful of outings before the start of the season.

When compiling the list of "what needs to break right" in order for the White Sox to be competitive this season, "avoiding any major injuries" belongs at the top, and probably deserves to be repeated a few times for good measure.  So far the Sox have gotten through 0 out of 162 regular-season games injury-free, but that's farther than any other team has gotten.

Of course, that the White Sox--with many thanks to their training staff--routinely finish near the top of the league in the least days spent on the DL is common knowledge at this point.  Suffice it to say that will need to continue in a big, big way.

There's not some 1-to-1 ratio of avoiding injury to success--the Yankees had no problem leading all of baseball by a mile in DL time and cruising to 2011 division title--but every season is dotted by promising teams wrecked by health issues (2011 Twins led baseball in separate DL trips), or runs that wouldn't have been possible with some great luck (2011 Rays had the least DL time in baseball, and the second least number of trips).

Per Will Carroll and Dan Wade's injury forecast for the White Sox, their primary health risks are in the outfield--where De Aza has lost the first few years of his career to injury and Viciedo lacks athleticism--and, oh well, essentially the entire starting rotation.  Danks strained an oblique last year, Humber and Sale are seeing large jumps in workload, and Jake Peavy's shoulder is made of Styrofoam that was put in the microwave.

The presence of Fukudome, and even Lillibridge means there is some kind of safety net in the case of an outfield injury, but the rotation lacks that luxury.  Even the most optimistic projections for Zach Stewart and Dylan Axelrod would still acknowledge losing a member of the White Sox talented starting five is a step back the team's playoff bid can't afford.  Pitchers with the potential to be impact starters typically don't battle it out to be long relievers in the Spring

Perhaps wipe this statement from the internet record if Dunn and Konerko combine for 90 home runs or something nuts like that, but it's going to be a tightrope all year as the Sox hope to get multiple big rebound seasons and skate past ominous depth issues.  Given how quickly things could fall apart without it, it's never too soon to be thankful for a clean bill of health.

 

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