CHICAGO – Thursday’s pre-match press session for White Sox general manager Rick Hahn focused on a topic that will become all too familiar during the 2021 season: a significant injury to a key player in this leading American League team Central, with second baseman Nick Madrigal becoming the unfortunate subject in this case.
“‘Rick Hahn will be addressing the media after injury’ is fast becoming one of the most depressing words in baseball,” Hahn said in his opening remarks.
Madrigal was placed on the injured list for 60 days with a proximal right hamstring injury. The talented second baseman, who scored 305 with 21 RBI and 30 runs while leading the team with 60 hits, sustained the injury to close the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 defeat. Madrigal tried to beat a slow roller to third place before being helped out of the field without putting any pressure on his right leg.
According to Hahn, Madrigal will be inactive for a minimum of six weeks. End-of-season surgery, rest and rehabilitation are possible avenues for recovery for the 24-year-old, with the decision to come next week.
“Again, it’s not clear it’s surgical,” Hahn said of Madrigal. “Not to get too technical, but there are three tendons that attach to the hamstring at the top. If they are all torn then it is obviously surgical. Nick has one of the three completely ripped and a partial on the other.
“So they are discussing which is the best way to go. For “best way to go”, it’s what’s in Nick Madrigal’s interest that he fully recovers and goes back to being the same player he was about to become. This is not the quickest way to get him back. “
Left fielder Eloy Jiménez has been out since the end of Spring Training following surgery to repair a ruptured left pectoral tendon. Central defender Luis Robert has been absent since May 2 with a right hip flexor injury sustained while trying to beat a play at first.
Losing two key players would be difficult for even the best of teams to handle, but the White Sox overcame the odds with a four-division lead over Cleveland entering Thursday. While Madrigal will be missing on and off the pitch, the White Sox have no choice but to overcome this latter difficulty.
“I have no doubt that anyone who steps into that role will step up and contribute in ways we weren’t or expected at the beginning of the year and we won’t leave a beat,” closest Liam Hendriks told MLB.com. by the White Sox. “At the end of the day, this is where the teams show their character.
“This is where the teams show their resilience. Let’s dig deep and find out how to win. If you can’t win now with a lot of injuries going on, how are you going to win in October? If you’ve faced battles before this, you’ll be ready for anything when October arrives. “
Winger Brian Goodwin was added by Triple-A Charlotte to take over from Madrigal’s roster, giving the White Sox a veteran left-handed bat with the ability to play all three positions on the outfield. The addition of a center-back like Goodwin becomes important with Leury García and Danny Mendick looking to fill second baseman in the short term and focus primarily on the inside.
“We have to really keep up with how many kids are playing, who is in pain, who needs a day off,” said White Sox manager Tony La Russa. “You saw García and Mendick play for seconds: they offer a lot”.
Swaps certainly remain a possibility for Hahn and the White Sox, with the team doing their best to maximize their chance of winning a championship in 2021 without disrupting its core moving forward. But with the White Sox already successful without Jiménez and Robert, they are confident they will move forward without Madrigal.
“Absolutely. Never give up, never give up,” said La Russa. “Look at today’s training, it is a quality initial training. Quality starter launcher, quality bullpen.
“We will have the same in Detroit. I’m not happy with that. Really more concerned about someone who likes the game so much that they don’t play. Same with Eloy and Luis and, to a lesser extent, Michael [Kopech]. It’s more difficult for them than it is for us. “
They said it
“His contact rate is skyrocketing. But not only that, he is good at serving. There are few times when it is cheap, especially when it delves into counting. It’s just a gnat up there. He’s one of those guys where, if I’m warming up and he’s batting, I know I have at least some pitches ”. – Hendriks, on Madrigal