Injuries bring depth issues to forefront

Injuries bring depth issues to forefront
Oof // MIKE STONE, REUTERS

Back on my since-disavowed list of reasons why the White Sox were in trouble going into the 2012 season, 'lack of depth' was cited in a half-dozen different ways.  The Sox had decent pieces, but couldn't sustain a hit that gave a lot of exposure to the back half of their 25-man roster, or anything beyond.  They surely couldn't cope with something bigger like, say, losing John Danks for the entire the season.

Which they may have.

In describing the recent alteration to John Danks' rehab program, the Tribune's Mark Gonzales used the term "last-ditch effort", as the Sox prepare to aggressively push the left-hander to throw off of a mound.

Danks himself said there is limited risk because doctors have told him he can't make the injury worse.  But the initial reports are shaded with woe, since he didn't feel good after the session, and Don Cooper left the door open for very bad results.

“We were thinking maybe late August, maybe early September," Cooper said. "And then, if it’s not early September, maybe it’s the start of 2013. Nobody really knows."

With the way Danks' recovery as gone, as well as Jesse Crain's, or Brent Morel's, the safe bet for injury recovery has been the worst-case scenario the Sox have been willing to admit, and then a bit farther.  The current set of bumps and bruises, strains and sprains offer the opportunity for a lot of unexpected missed time.

  • A.J. Pierzynski's strained oblique is now keeping him out till at least Sunday, after it was stressed that he was only being kept out of the Twins series as a precaution.  The qualifier that Pierzynski's strain "only bothers him when he swings" keeps getting trotted around, but isn't especially meaningful since his bat is surprisingly his primary advantage over Flowers.
  • Alejandro De Aza estimated that he would at most miss one game after a terrifying collision with Alexei Ramirez that knocked him out of Friday night's game.  Sure enough, he's out of Saturday's lineup with a sore wrist.
  • Alexei Ramirez stayed in the lineup after the collision Friday, and even homered afterward, but was sore enough on Saturday to also get a rest.

'Just a day more' is being preached in all cases:

AJ should return tomorrow, Alexei likely back but De Aza likely out

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 28, 2012

Projecting the recovery dates of these type of injuries is always guess work, and while none of those injuries--besides Danks'--sound awful individually, the confluence of all of them together produces this lineup.

  1. Eduardo Escobar - SS
  2. Kevin Youkilis - 3B
  3. Adam Dunn - DH
  4. Paul Konerko - 1B
  5. Alex Rios - RF
  6. Dayan Viciedo - LF
  7. Tyler Flowers - C
  8. Gordon Beckham - 2B
  9. Jordan Danks - CF
  • Philip Humber SP

That's a meaty middle of the order, a lot of outs sandwiched around it, and a starter the Sox would boot of the rotation if they could.   At least Beckham escapes the #9 spot that has so crushed his spirit and/or batting line, but this isn't a great team in the mean time.

It's a problem that the White Sox can't afford to have to address for any length of time longer than what's actually been forecasted.  The Greinke bidding didn't speak well to their resources to deal for help that can have a big impact, and any attempt to aid the starting rotation could be hindered if they can't deal from their bench.

EDIT: Tack on Chris Sale averaging 90 mph on his fastball Friday as he voyages into unprecedented territory for his workload, and the White Sox brushing it off as an issue while simultaneously making every effort to rest him as another shaky situation.

 

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