The White Sox are set to activate Yoan Moncada and Joe Kelly off the injured list for Monday’s game against the Guardians, manager Tony La Russa told reporters (including LaMond Pope of The Chicago Tribune). Both players will be playing in their first games of the 2022 season, and in Kelly’s case, it also marks his debut in a White Sox uniform.
Moncada suffered a right oblique strain near the end of Spring Training, and it would like the third baseman is back in form, given how he has shredded Triple-A pitching during a rehab assignment. Moncada will be looking to build on a solid 2021 season that was perhaps slightly disappointing because it was “only” solid, given all of the superstar hype attached to Moncada during his time as baseball’s best prospect. 2019 saw Moncada reach a higher level of performance, though as he enters his age-27 season, it isn’t yet clear if Moncada will indeed become an All-Star.
Kelly signed a two-year, $17MM contract just after the lockout ended, as between Kelly and fellow free agent Kendall Graveman, the Sox reinforced their bullpen depth in advance of Craig Kimbrel being traded to the Dodgers. Due to a biceps strain suffered during the NLCS last season, Kelly’s offseason prep work was delayed, hence his late start to the 2022 campaign.
With Moncada and Kelly back, the White Sox will gain some relief from the swath of injuries that have hampered their club all season. However, it’s a case of two steps forward and another step back, as La Russa told reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of The Chicago Sun-Times) after today’s game that reliever Aaron Bummer will be placed on the injured list with a knee problem. Kelly will take Bummer’s spot on the 26-man roster.
A reliable bullpen arm over his five previous seasons in Chicago, Bummer has gotten off to a slow start, with a 4.91 ERA and 15.1% walk rate over his first 11 innings of work in 2022. The extra walks certainly haven’t helped Bummer’s efforts, but there is also at least a little bad luck involved, as the grounder specialist has a .370 BABIP. It isn’t known how serious Bummer’s knee issue is, or how long the left-hander could be out of action.
Rookies Tanner Banks and Bennett Sousa are now the only healthy left-handers in the Sox bullpen, and Anderson Severino (another first-year player) is the only other southpaw reliever on Chicago’s 40-man roster. While Banks has pitched well thus far, it stands to reason that the White Sox might look to add a more experienced left-handed arm if Bummer is expected to miss beyond the 10-day minimum.