White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom re-joined his teammates in Chicago on Monday and said his recovery from an ankle injury is about a week ahead of schedule.
While Lindstrom is, at best, still more than a month away from beginning a minor league rehab stint, his progress comes as welcome news for a team that's had its ninth inning struggles since his May 19 injury.
"I’m pretty optimistic about it," Lindstrom said. "I’ve already played catch without the boot on three or four times. It feels pretty good. I’m excited to get going and I tried to do whatever I could the last month once I got that cast off to speed up the healing process a little bit with those different types of treatments and stuff."
Lindstrom suffered a sublexing peroneal tendon in his left ankle fielding a bunt in Kansas City May 19 and was placed on the disabled list a day later. In 19 games before his injury, Lindstrom had a 3.32 ERA with six saves.
Manager Robin Ventura removed Ronald Belisario from closing duties over the weekend after the right-hander's ERA ballooned to 8.76 in 14 games since Lindstrom's injury. Lindstrom's observed those struggles from afar, but sees an upside to young guys like Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Daniel Webb and Eric Surkamp getting more high-leverage innings lately.
"Any time you have to go through something like that in the middle of a season it’s tough, guys being asked to do things that they have never really done before," Lindstrom, who has 51 saves and a 3.55 ERA in his career, said. "You can look at the bright side also down the road, guys in this bullpen, they will have a ton of experience through these later inning roles as we go forward. It’s not going to be a surprise to them.
"You have to learn some time. It’s good for them."