It's lonely at the top of the White Sox batting order.
Or at least it has been ever since leadoff man Adam Eaton went to the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on May 3.
But Eaton's return to the team might be right around the corner, according to Sox coach Mark Parent, and that could be a huge boost for the club.
"He’s going to go out to Oakland with us for a couple days, and then he’s going to head off to (Triple-A) Charlotte for a couple (of rehab games) and then probably join us the last day in Houston," Parent, who was filling in for manager Robin Ventura on pregame media duties, said before Sunday's series finale against the Diamondbacks. "Really excited to see him back. He adds a lot to our lineup, defensively and offensively and running the bases. Just overall energy in the game. He’s obviously had a really good year so we want to continue his progress."
The last day in Houston is Sunday, May 18, the third of three games against the Astros. It means another week without Eaton leading things off, and despite a solid stretch that has seen the Sox win five of their last seven games, they could use Eaton back. While runs haven't necessarily been too hard to come by, the guys plugged into the No. 1 spot haven't quite had the same impact Eaton has, according to Parent.
"That’s one of the things, when he went down, is (Alejandro) De Aza never really was comfortable doing it before. And then we tried (Gordon) Beckham there. Even though you’re only leading off one time it makes certain people uncomfortable," Parent said. "Adam, he just loves that spot, and we like him in that spot."
The morning after, Sale still feels good
A day after throwing a simulated game at U.S. Cellular Field, injured pitcher Chris Sale still feels good, according to White Sox coach Mark Parent.
"He's doing good. He's happy," Parent said. "He feels brand new, he feels really good. We're excited to see him back, as well. ... He's a huge commodity for us, for our future, and we've got to make sure he's healthy."
The Sox hope to get Sale back soon, but the pitcher and the team have stressed it's about him getting healthy so things like this don't happen again.
His next scheduled throw day is Thursday. The team has yet to decide whether it will be a bullpen session or a rehab appearance.
Sox get big league scouting help from Double-A
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Chase Anderson makes his major league debut Sunday against the White Sox, and while there's quite a bit of unknown, the Sox can lean on their Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, for some scouting assistance.
Anderson made a start against Birmingham earlier this season for Arizona's Double-A affiliate in Mobile. Anderson took the loss in that game, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out a season-high eight hitters in that game.
"Our Double-A team saw him this year, so we have a little bit of tape and a little bit of a scouting report on him," Sox coach Mark Parent said before Sunday's game. "He comes right after guys — fastballs and changeups. See what happens."
Anderson's Double-A numbers were very good. He posted a 0.69 ERA in 39 innings over six starts.