White Sox Notes: Robert, Grandal, Bummer, Bullpen

White Sox Notes: Robert, Grandal, Bummer, Bullpen

The White Sox placed center fielder Louis Robert on the 10-day injured list due to blurred vision before tonight’s contest with the Guardians. The placement has been backdated to July 19, meaning he won’t be eligible to return until a week from now. He has been struggling with lightheadedness for the past week and the team will give him some more time to work through the issue.

That doesn’t appear to be a major concern, as general manager Rick Hahn told reporters (including Vinnie Duber of CHGO Sports) the team hoped he could return after a week. Even if he’s back once he’s eligible, Chicago will have to go a couple of key series without arguably their top position player. Robert is hitting .301/.334/.461 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 323 plate appearances.

In a similar move, the Sox reinstated the shortstop Yasmani Grandal from IL. Spasms in the lower back cost the wrestler-hitting catcher about five weeks. Now that he’s healthy again, Grandal will try to get back on track after struggling through perhaps his worst couple of months as a big leaguer. He has just a .185/.294/.237 line through 201 plate appearances, a shocking slump for a player who hit .240/.420/.520 last season.

In other injury news, reliever Aaron Bummer told reporters this afternoon that he remains about three weeks away from returning to the mound (via James Fegan of Athletic). Bummer, who has been out since the second week of June with a lat strain, hopes to return to the big league club sometime in early September. That makes it a virtual lock he’ll be transferred to the 60-day injured list when Chicago needs a 40-man roster spot, and his still distant return timeline will play a role in the team’s approach to the deadline.

Hahn told reporters that in light of Bummer’s injury, relief pitching is “probably the most obvious need” for his club (via Jesse Rogers of ESPN). The Sox have invested heavily in the bullpen in recent seasons, signing Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly to multi-year free agent deals (in addition to a longer contract extension for Bummer). They have still been in the middle of the pack this year, checking in at 17th in ERA (3.90) and 13th in strikeout/walk differential (14.9 percentage points). That’s partly due to injury, as Bummer, Hendriks and Kelly have all spent time on the injured list.

Chicago has gotten strong work from both Hendriks and Graveman, as well as previous starters Reynaldo Lopez. Along with Kelly, that’s a formidable group of right-handers, but the Sox are down on Tanner Banks as their top southpaw with Bummer on the shelf. Banks has a respectable 3.05 ERA through 38 1/3 innings, but he’s only generating swinging strikes at an 8.4% clip and has a sub-20.9% strikeout rate.

A southpaw feels like a logical goal for Hahn and his staff over the next week and a half. The division rival Tigers could market Andrew Chaffin, who will likely decline the player option and hit free agency at the end of the season. Detroit also has hard-throwing Gregory Soto, but he’s controllable through 2025, so the Tigers likely aren’t keen on dealing him to a division rival. Other left-handed relief trade candidates include Joe Mantiply (D-Backs), Steven Okert and Richard Bleier (Marlins) and Matt Moore (Rangers). The angels Aaron Loup could also attract some interest, although he is playing on a $7.5MM salary both this season and next, as well as having a $2MM buyout option on a 2024 club option. That could make him a tough spot for a Chicago team running a franchise-record payroll, even if the Halos were willing to move him.

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