MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago White Sox

South Side Spring Training 5: Everybody Hurts

1. Tyler Saladino and Nicky Delmonico were added to the growing list of White Sox befallen by injury this spring after a scary collision during Sunday’s game against the Diamondbacks.

Both players were removed from the game. Saladino was diagnosed with a mild concussion and will enter MLB’s concussion protocol, meaning he won’t play again for at least seven days. Delmonico suffered a left shoulder subluxation. Rick Renteria said after the game that both players are day-to-day.

While it appears Saladino and Delmonico (hopefully) escaped serious injury, the list of injured White Sox has grown to a concerning level during camp. Jake Burger’s torn Achilles’ has already cost him his first full season as a professional, Luis Robert’s thumb injury is expected to cost him 10 weeks, Micker Adolfo’s elbow injury is going to limit him to DH, and Eloy Jimenez, Alec Hansen, Jeanmar Gomez, Gregory Infante, and the recently released Willy Garcia have all dealt with minor injuries over the last few weeks.

2. While Saladino’s injury is unrelated to the back injury that plagued him throughout 2017, it’s nonetheless unfortunate as the utility player has looked healthy and effective thus far this spring. A healthy Saladino would be a big boost for the White Sox depth, especially when you consider the uncertainty of Yolmer Sanchez as an everyday third baseman. And at 28 and coming off a lost season, his opportunities to prove himself as someone worth rostering as the White Sox next contention cycle opens are dwindling. Concussions are both scary and impossible to predict, but hopefully he can return sooner than later and this winds up a minor blip in his attempted return to productivity.

For Delmonico, any sort of long-term injury would represent a setback to a player who you wouldn’t even fathom to be in this position one year ago. But it also serves as an indicator at the precarious depth in the White Sox outfield. An injury to Delmonico would presumably elevate Ryan Cordell — already returning from his own injury last season — on the depth chart and also mean more playing time for Leury Garcia. Beyond them there’s … Daniel Palka?

Delmonico’s injury, as noted, appears minor, so hopefully he’s back out there relatively soon. And as far as the outfield depth goes, well…

3. Eloy Jimenez returned from the sore knee that sidelined him for two weeks and in four plate appearances in the last two games, has hit two home runs, a triple, and walked.

I’ve written a few times about how, at the very least, spring training is more fun when the exciting young players do well, but it’s not unfathomable that Jimenez torches Triple-A upon the season opening and finds himself in Chicago sooner than expected. At the very least, it’s nice to see him healthy and performing at a level that makes him one of the top prospects in baseball.

4. Speaking of young players performing well, Lucas Giolito looked downright dominant during his Saturday start against the Cubs, striking out eight over four innings and flashing the nasty curveball that scouts have long drooled over.

On the latest episode of The Catbird Speaks, Nick and I discussed the appeal of post-hype prospects. Giolito qualifies in that you don’t read his name on top prospect lists anymore, and it’s easy to forget how much potential he has while dreaming on the hype of Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, and Dylan Cease. But showing consistent velocity (he reportedly sat 93-95 throughout Saturday’s start) to go along with that curveball will go a long way in him developing into the front-line starter the White Sox hope he can be.

5. Carson Fulmer had another inconsistent start on Friday against the Padres, and while he entered the spring as the presumptive No. 5 starter in the opening day rotation, his struggles coupled with the presence of Hector Santiago make it worth wondering if he’d be better served starting the season in Triple-A.

Fulmer showed flashes of what the White Sox hope he’ll become during a few September starts last season, but the former Top 10 pick has yet to show any semblance of consistency as a starting pitcher, and his performances both in Charlotte last season and this spring leave a lot to be desired. The White Sox will one day need to make a decision on whether or not Fulmer can start in the majors, but there’s no rush. Having other internal options means the White Sox can continue his development in Charlotte, and it’s looking like that might be the best option right now.

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