Apr 21, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd (34) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

This post is about injured baseball players


The White Sox are last in the American League in runs scored and on-base percentage. While it is too soon to conclude that the responsible parties so far are going to be long-term problems that need to be dealt with, it’s never too soon to pine for the days of full health. It’s also never not a good time to do it, since perfect health is never coming.

Beckham and Keppinger

Gordon Beckham was in the White Sox broadcast booth Sunday, still sporting a cast but revealing that he’s been practicing one-handed swings. In his boldest moments, Beckham has said that he’s shooting to return after just four weeks. Since he broke his hamate bone on April 9 and had surgery a week later, the four-week barrier would be crossed at May 14, which is ambitious for someone who admitted himself that rehab games were likely necessary.

The beginning of June remains the scheduled arrival date for Beckham, leaving another month of middle infield work for the White Sox to figure out. Emergency reserves are already in play because of Jeff Keppinger.

Keppinger missed the last three games of the Tampa series due to back spasms, inspiring Robin Ventura to directly replace him at second base and in the No. 2 slot in the lineup with Tyler Greene. The former Houston Astros’ castoff has a gaudy stat line through the five games he’s actually started in, but has struck out in six of  his last 13 trips to the plate. A prominent offensive role could expose him badly in the next week.

We only mention second base because Conor Gillaspie is a de-facto full-time player at third at this point, since the White Sox cannot be dismissive toward players who can string together a .359 OBP over 63 plate appearances, no matter their origins. That said, the left-handed Gillaspie could really use a platoon partner.

Gavin Floyd

The language surrounding Floyd right elbow flexor muscle strain isn’t very good if you read into it, so maybe it’s best to refrain reading into it.

Aawwwww, I can’t resist.

Dan Hayes from CSN Chicago:

“Because the pain he experienced in his right elbow wasn’t quite the same as last season,Gavin Floyd worried he was in bad shape.”

Floyd missed 16 days for his flexor strain in the same elbow last season.

“He’s expected to miss at least 15 days and possibly longer.”

That could easily mean four starts for Hector Santiago even without additional complications. Last year Hector missed bats like crazy but walked the whole opposing clubhouse at times. This year both his strikeout rate and walk rate are well-below average. He’s a work in progress and it’s hard to call what stage of his development he might be at upon stretching himself out again. Efficiency was a big issue for him during his previous stint in the rotation.

‘“It felt like it was stretching every time I threw the ball,’ Floyd said. ‘I kind of had a worry for sure. We took the right way of taking (me) out. If I kept throwing, who knows what would have happened. Last year it was more on breaking balls I’d feel it. This one was more on the fastball.”‘

This could work as a pretty solid excuse for Gavin’s shaky command on Saturday, but will hardly get the job done of convincing the Sox fan base at large to miss him. Even with a challenging slate of opponents, Hector Santiago could easily outperform Floyd’s 5.18 ERA over the slate of starts he’s given. Arguments about Gavin’s xFIP and bat-missing stuff have yellowed pages with dog-eared corners.

Deunte Heath has been called up to replace Santiago in the bullpen in the meantime. He doesn’t seem like he’ll be much help.

John Danks

Thursday will bring about Danks’ first rehab start with Double-A Birmingham, which if nothing else, will give the opportunity for the actual game results of his quest for velocity–or success without velocity–probed and scrutinized in a manner that his extended spring training work was insulated from.

That’s not something Danks seems concerned about, since he’s apparently going stir-crazy in Arizona.

Hayes again:

“’I’m excited to go pitch in an atmosphere,’ Danks said. ‘To graduate from Arizona and get to move on, that’s a good thing. There’s going to be a couple people there and it’s actually run as a game. That’s the big thing. In extended it’s like a high school scrimmage. It’ll be fun to get out there and pitch in an atmosphere.’”

See? The players do care about fans. In the sense that the absence of them makes them feel like they’re no longer professionals.

Velocity loss is something almost every starter who lasts long enough to land the big contract Danks has learns to deal with, but adjusting to such a significant drop all at once–there haven’t been any reports of Danks working past ‘high-80′s’ of recent–should bring plenty of growing pains. It goes without saying, but if Danks is simply just not reclaiming the same command in the wake of surgery, that’s plenty of trouble too.

No more Blake Tekotte

The days of carrying an extraneous left-handed light-hitting defensive-minded center fielder are over, as Tekotte was sent back down in advance of a corresponding move to be announced on Tuesday. Tekotte got all of three plate appearances during his time on the Sox while lined up against two other players with his exact same skill set, but those are just three more plate trips the Sox siphoned away from Jordan Danks for no apparent reason other than to Tekotte something to do while he earned game checks. The beats all think a pitcher is coming in Tekotte’s place, which would inflate the pitching staff to 13 members. Someone who could hit would be more useful.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

 

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Tags: Chicago White Sox Gavin Floyd Gordon Beckham