Notes: Vaughn gets look in left; tix update

Cease makes adjustments, K's 6 vs. Reds; front office discusses Opening Day roster

March 26th, 2021

The White Sox replacement in left field for an injured Eloy Jiménez could be Andrew Vaughn, the team’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, who was targeted as its Opening Day designated hitter.

Vaughn clearly won’t be the only candidate, with Leury García, Billy Hamilton, Nick Williams and Adam Engel, when he returns in April from a right hamstring strain, still all in camp. But the 22-year-old Vaughn will start in left Friday against Milwaukee, per manager Tony La Russa. Vaughn has never played left field collegiately or in the Minor Leagues, but he worked there at the alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill., last year and during Spring Training early work this season.

“We’ve had some conversations about the potential of Andrew Vaughn playing some left field as well,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s a possibility. It’s not one I would necessarily etch in stone, but with talking about the internal options, his name potentially belongs on that list as well.”

“During the course of Spring Training, I've mentioned several times, I'm really impressed with our player development, the people that are there. For example, coordinator Doug Sisson is very impressive. And we have talked about Andrew as an outfielder,” La Russa said. “Based on what they say, and his athleticism, you'll see him out there as much as possible in the last [four] games.”

Jiménez suffered a rupture of his left pectoral tendon during a leaping attempt on a Sean Murphy home run in Wednesday’s Cactus League game with Oakland, sidelining him for five to six months. The White Sox will have more information in terms of a specific timeline once Jiménez’s rehabilitation begins at some point in the next eight to 12 weeks.

There are plenty of options for the White Sox to DH if Vaughn plays left, including Zack Collins. The White Sox will continue talks for a possible replacement from outside the organization, but they certainly won’t force a fit beyond what they already have in place.

“Obviously the Opening Day roster is important, but as you all know by usually the first four days or so, or soon thereafter, you are forced to make another adjustment to that Opening Day roster,” Hahn said. “So a similar theme here is if we need to make adjustments over the course of the first few weeks or the first few months based on how things go, we’ll be certain to explore every opportunity to do so.

“Again we are going to start off with the best roster, the best 26, the best we can. If adjustments need to be made from an internal or external standpoint, we’ll be ready to do that.”

White Sox can sell more tickets for first homestand
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has allowed outdoor venues with capacity greater than 200 to increase their attendance to 25 percent capacity. That move allows the White Sox to sell more tickets for their first homestand, with three games scheduled against the Royals and four against Cleveland beginning April 8, but they won’t reach 25 percent due to enforcing safety measures.

“We are starting to bump into the safety concerns in making sure everybody remains six feet apart,” said Scott Reifert, the White Sox senior vice president of communications. “So using that as a guideline, it only allows us to add additional tickets to get to about 22 percent capacity.

“Our hope would be that we keep adding to that percentage over the course of the season,” Reifert said.

Cease adjusts in-game
Dylan Cease walked four from the second through the fourth inning in Thursday’s 9-4 White Sox victory over the Reds. But Cease made an adjustment to strike out four of the final five hitters he faced -- including Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel -- finishing with six strikeouts and allowing one run in five innings.

“My first four innings wasn't the sharpest,” said Cease, who threw 94 pitches. “But that fifth inning, I kind of slowed everything down and gave my body a better chance to get down the mound, and I felt like that was the difference.

“I can't go that long without making an adjustment. I have to make the adjustment a little bit quicker. That's one of those games today where I grinded and I competed, and I fortunately ended on a high note.”

Third to first
• Hahn ruled out Yoelqui Céspedes, the No. 1 international prospect from this past signing period and the No. 6 White Sox prospect, as a replacement for Jiménez.

“What we’ve seen of him so far on the Minor League side or in the B games or intrasquad games has been impressive,” Hahn said. “He’s obviously a talented player.

“There’s a reason he was targeted. There’s a reason he has such renown for his ability, but there’s some rust there. We need to get him playing on a regular basis.”

• The White Sox front office and coaching staff met Thursday morning to discuss Opening Day roster permutations. The White Sox open the regular season on April 1 vs. the Angels in Anaheim.

• Left-hander Nik Turley made his White Sox debut, allowing one run with two walks in the eighth.

He said it
“It’s a strong enough, professional enough, mature enough group, veteran enough group, that I don't think one guy is capable of necessarily derailing that. That said, anyone who walks through that door, we need to make sure is committed to achieving the goals that that group has for itself.” -- Hahn on if makeup matters when adding someone from outside the organization