KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Flies don’t drop this fast.
Closer Matt Lindstrom became the latest — and now sixth — member of the White Sox to hit the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Lindstrom is back in Chicago to undergo more tests, including an MRI, to determine the severity of the injury to his sublexing peroneal (outside) tendon in his left ankle.
Lindstrom exited Monday’s win over the Kansas City Royals with no outs in the ninth inning after he suffered an injury while trying to field a sac bunt attempt.
Now a team that has already reshuffled its roster plenty will have to reorganize it yet again with the focus being the bullpen.
“Injury of the day,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We don’t know the full extent of it, but we do know it was enough to go on the DL. He wasn’t walking very good.
“His reaction, even walking out there, and his explanation — it’s not an Achilles — but usually when someone says it feels like somebody kicked them in the back of the leg, it’s usually an Achilles. But it’s something in his ankle, and we’re going to have to figure out what it is.
“We know he’s not going to be with us for at least a couple of weeks.”
The injury problem has become a common one in the White Sox clubhouse where the “Days without an accident” counter rarely gets past two or three days. On Monday, Chris Sale, who is on the verge of returning after more than a month away, said the White Sox might consider disinfecting the clubhouse because the team has caught the injury bug.
Saturday it was the departure of Jose Abreu from the lineup, just as leadoff man Adam Eaton returned to the club from his DL stint. Before Eaton it was Conor Gillaspie and Sale and Felipe Paulino and Avisail Garcia and Nate Jones and Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger.
Lindstrom’s injury means a bullpen that has blended nicely after two early weeks of struggle will have to determine a new pecking order. Javy Guerra joined the group on Tuesday up from Triple-A Charlotte and even though he has 71 professional saves, including 29 in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s not to that point right now.
“As of now I just know I’m one of the guys in the ‘pen,” Guerra said. “Get to go out there and compete and earn whatever you get.”
Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper said they won’t announce a new closer but feel like they have plenty of good options. Ronald Belisario hasn’t allowed a run over his past 17 1/3 innings, Jacob Petricka has a 1.85 ERA and Zach Putnam’s is down to 1.45.
“The bullpen has been doing well lately, and we have a couple of different guys who can do it,” Ventura said.
Still, it won’t be easy.
While it’s difficult for players not to notice injuries stacking up— the White Sox have already lost 175 days to the DL this season — they can’t afford to be consumed by it. Even if its their two-time All-Star starting pitcher, their league-leading cleanup man, their leadoff guy, basically five-ninths of their Opening Day lineup, and lastly their top two relievers, they have to adjust.
Beckham likes how the White Sox have handled the adversity as they’ve stayed within striking distance of the .500 mark despite their maladies. At the start of Tuesday, the White Sox find themselves within two games of a wild-card spot even though it’s far too early to start looking at that sort of thing.
“You don’t want to look at it as it’s just another injury,” said Beckham, who missed several weeks in April with an oblique strain. “Obviously they’re bad for the player that’s going through it and bad for the team. But we need people to just come in and step up and just come do the job. Come in, work hard and do the best you can and it has been working out pretty well thus far.
“Some teams will crumble under that and others will find a way to win. We haven’t been great by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve been solid. Solid is keeping us in this right now.”