"I felt a lot of discomfort," said Soto on Thursday after he was put on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 12) with right elbow inflammation. "My forearm, yeah, it's kind of tight and really uncomfortable. It comes to a time where it's kind of weird, it's not the same and I have to listen to my body at some point."
Soto has three home runs in 15 at-bats this season, and became the seventh player ever to hit multiple homers in a game for both the Cubs and White Sox. The White Sox shouldn't lose a step, though, with Kevan Smith joining the catching rotation, having his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte.
Smith was taken off the 40-man prior to the start of Spring Training, but didn't let that move become a distraction. He took advantage of many opportunities given to him by manager Rick Renteria and hit .343 during Cactus League play. As part of the potent 2017 Charlotte lineup, Smith produced a .438 average with two doubles, nine RBIs and three walks over his first four games.
Although Smith certainly didn't want to start the season in the Minors, he plays a valuable role handling top pitching prospects such as Reynaldo Lopez, Zack Burdi, Carson Fulmer and Lucas Giolito.
"Obviously it's a tough pill to swallow to go back down there, but after I had a few days to digest it, I kind of understood what my role was," said Smith, who was 2-for-16 in his big league stint last season. "I really locked in on what they wanted me to do, and took it to heart. I was working with those guys every day down there, and talking about small things like reading hitters or pitch selection, or just even the flow of the game."
Omar Narvaez started for a second consecutive game in Thursday's series finale against the Indians, but Smith certainly will get a start in Soto's absence this weekend at Target Field against the Twins.
"Unfortunately, Soto's elbow is bothering him a little bit. It's going to give me an opportunity," Smith said. "That's basically all I asked for. That's what I asked for this spring. You work so hard your whole life for these small windows of opportunities. This is one of them, and I'm going to do everything in my power to take advantage of it and go with it."
"It kind of spooked me a little bit," said Soto of the injury. "It was a little different from your normal wear and tear. I had an MRI, everything was fairly OK. Had a couple floaters in there. Hopefully with medication and some treatment we can pass this."