MINNEAPOLIS -- Spring Training was considered a successful six-week stretch as a prelude to Year 2 of the White Sox rebuild, aside from one major deterrent: injuries.Right-handed pitcher Alec Hansen, the White Sox No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, experienced forearm soreness limiting him to 1 2/3 innings pitched in
MINNEAPOLIS -- Spring Training was considered a successful six-week stretch as a prelude to Year 2 of the White Sox rebuild, aside from one major deterrent: injuries.
Right-handed pitcher Alec Hansen, the White Sox No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, experienced forearm soreness limiting him to 1 2/3 innings pitched in just one Cactus League game. He continues to work his way back in extended spring training.
Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the team's No. 1 prospect, missed a couple of weeks due to left knee tendinitis and had the start of his regular season with Double-A Birmingham pushed back due to a mild left pectoral muscle strain sustained while working out at Camelback Ranch. Outfielder Luis Robert, the team's No. 3 prospect, was knocked out for 10 weeks with a moderate sprain of his left thumb ligament sustained while playing in Arizona. Outfielder Micker Adolfo, the No. 10 prospect, has been limited to designated hitter duties for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem due to a sprained UCL and strained flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Then there was No. 8 prospect Jake Burger, who was lost for the season due to a left Achilles rupture.
These sorts of injuries can slow promotions to the next level in some situations, but in the case of the White Sox, it also cost key future pieces valuable developmental time.
"Listen there's nothing more ideal then having these guys on the field playing," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "But obviously that's not always going to be the case. Fortunately, with some of these guys, it's just a minor setback, meaning they will be joining their teams here fairly soon."
"The development time missed stinks, no doubt about it," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, referring more to Burger's injury. "It's lousy and you feel for the kid. You have to adjust your expectations in terms of timeline going forward. There's no positive from that standpoint, but from a physical standpoint, we don't view it as a long-term impact."
In 2010, outfielder Jared Mitchell was ranked as one of the top prospects in the White Sox system. The first-round Draft pick in 2009 was coming off of a solid partial first season in the White Sox system when he sustained a left ankle tendon tear playing left field during a Cactus League game and missed the entire 2010 campaign.
Mitchell never was completely the same after that injury, although as Hahn pointed out, Mitchell was a speed guy coming back from a serious ankle problem. In comparison to Burger, Hahn has more concern about the psychological injury impact for a 22-year-old from the 2017 Draft.
"It's hard to sit by and watch other guys that you want to be out there playing with advance in their career while you are limited, to no fault of his own," said Hahn of Burger. "With that said, when I walked in the training room and he was still lying on the training table getting treatment by our doctors, he saw me and turned and said, 'I'm going to kill this rehab and get my diet in order, my nutrition in order. I promise you.'
"He's got the right attitude. He has the right makeup to make the most out of this setback, but you do feel for the kid. He wants nothing more than to be out there with his teammates and continue to advance up our ladder."
Getz added there's still plenty of professional development to be gained this season by Burger through some of the things he will be exposed to.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.