Brebbia (right calf strain) likely sidelined for a few weeks

February 23rd, 2024

MESA, Ariz. -- was turning back toward the mound after running in the direction of first base during the middle of his live BP session Wednesday when he felt a pop in his right calf.

“I finished the BP, didn’t affect my stuff, which is great,” said Brebbia outside the White Sox clubhouse on Friday at Camelback Ranch. “I guess moving side to side is fine, but front to back isn’t.

“It was one of those things that when it happened I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to skip running today. I’m going to give it a breather tonight, and maybe ease into the running tomorrow.’ And they were feeling it, and they were like, ‘No. Don’t do that. We’re not going to run for a little bit.’”

Brebbia was put in a boot and is using a mobility scooter to get around after being diagnosed with a right calf strain. General manager Chris Getz and manager Pedro Grifol said Thursday the veteran right-hander, who joined the White Sox via a one-year, $5.5 million deal with a $6 million option for ‘25, remains on target for Opening Day.

“Big picture is take it day by day and see how it feels each day, and then address each day as it comes up,” Brebbia said. “To be honest, I don’t know exactly what a timeframe would look like, because I can pitch. But if there’s a ground ball to first and I run to first, that’s more of a challenge.

“I’ll have to get with the trainers and staff. I’ll pitch in Spring Training games, but if they start laying bunts down, the inning’s going to get out of hand. I want to say they said like a few weeks before it’s back to complete, full speed. That’s like a change of direction and sprinting and stuff like that, which is minimal action on a baseball field for a pitcher.”

With Brebbia temporarily sidelined, the door opens up for a plethora of candidates in a fairly wide open bullpen. Brebbia doesn’t seem overly concerned after going through a light-toss day Thursday, aside from figuring out how to control the scooter.

“I’ve got my hand on the brake all the time,” a smiling Brebbia said. “It’s got some speed wheels on it, so I keep my hands on the brake and just kind of cruise. I feel like an old man.”

Strong in the lead

Andrew Benintendi is being looked at as a possible leadoff candidate for the White Sox, with the veteran coming into camp feeling good physically for his second season in Chicago.

“Added a little bit of weight,” Benintendi said. “I think this was one of my best offseasons, as far as working out and getting stronger. We’ll see how it translates. Hopefully, it does. Time will tell.”

“Physically, he looks really good,” Getz said. “We had a conversation in September about how do we improve upon the 2023 season and one of the focuses for him was to physically improve his body to be more athletic defensively. It’s definitely from my standpoint an encouraging sign. He seems locked in and motivated. He’s excited about the future here with the White Sox.”

Benintendi battled through nagging injuries last season but still managed to equal a career-high with 151 games played.

“Those little nagging injuries, they seem small at the time, but they linger for a while. You’ve just got to play through it,” Benintendi said. “Obviously, the results probably won’t be the same.

“But being out there and grinding through things, showing up and being in the lineup goes a long way, mentally, for a player and the guys around you. That was my focus. But I definitely feel better this year and looking forward to getting out there.”

Third to first

• Tim Elko hit the White Sox first home run of 2024 Spring Training with a blast to right off Jordan Wicks in the second inning of the South Siders' 8-1 loss to the Cubs at Sloan Park on Friday. Elko topped White Sox Minor Leaguers with 28 home runs and 106 RBIs over his three stops in 2023.

• Oscar Colás showed good hustle in the sixth, beating out a grounder to shortstop for a one-out infield single.

• Dominic Fletcher is being looked at as a possibility in right field, but has the ability to play across the outfield. He started in center on Friday.