Vaughn sidelined with hip pointer; right-field picture murky

March 28th, 2022

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Andrew Vaughn was diagnosed with a hip pointer (bruised pelvis on his right side) Monday after making a diving catch in right-center field on Sunday.

Vaughn will progress as his symptoms resolve and is projected to return to game action in the next one to two weeks, according to the White Sox. That timetable could change as Vaughn works his way back, but in layman’s terms, the American League Central favorites have dodged a major setback for the time being after Vaughn was taken off by cart on Sunday.

“Real good. Feared the worst,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said on Monday. “The first report was there was nothing fractured and then the CT and this morning MRI, said hip pointer, sore. Very good news. It was scary.”

Outfielder/first baseman Gavin Sheets lives with Vaughn during Spring Training and mentioned with a smile that he was Vaughn’s ride on Monday. Sheets hadn’t played in right field during Cactus League action until Monday’s contest against the Padres at Camelback Ranch.

As the third pick overall by in the 2019 Draft, Vaughn came into the White Sox organization as a first baseman. He moved to left field at the end of last Spring Training, when Eloy Jiménez suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon. This year, Vaughn has been one of the prime candidates for playing time in right field.

Even before Vaughn’s injury, White Sox fans were pushing for an outfield addition via free agency or trade. It certainly wasn’t any negative reflection on Vaughn, who has been hitting the ball with authority all Spring Training, but more a push for a natural outfielder who wasn’t converted from another position.

“Those are probably the fans who are not White Sox fans,” said La Russa, referring to “Options B, C and D” now for right field. “White Sox fans know there are guys in this camp who can handle it.”

Some critics will point to Vaughn’s lack of experience in right field as a factor in his injury. Vaughn has played 107 games in the outfield, including 18 in right, and has put in countless hours of early work along with Sheets and outfield coach Daryl Boston.

The play Sunday was not routine. Vaughn ranged to right center to make the diving grab. Sheets believes the injury had nothing to do with Vaughn’s move from first base.

“It was one of those things where he dove and came down funny on his hip. It could happen at first. It could happen at second. It could happen anywhere,” Sheets said. “People want to make things bigger than they are, but it’s just a funky play and he landed funny on it. You see it happen all the time, unfortunately.

“We are trying to win a World Series. This isn’t a project. It’s trying to win ballgames and so this isn’t an experiment or anything. This is trying to get our team to a World Series and win games. That’s how we are approaching it, and I think that’s how the team is approaching it.”

Micker Adolfo, who is out of Minor League options, started in right field during a “B” game Monday against the Dodgers, with Adam Engel in left. These two players join Sheets and Leury García as internal options for right field until Vaughn returns.

“What the doctor said was, ‘Let’s see when the pain leaves,’” La Russa said of Vaughn’s outlook. “… I think we just have to be patient. It will be April soon, and we want him to get it well.”