Micker Adolfo has an injured elbow.
And while the White Sox don't have much in the way of certainties, they do have possibilities.
It sounds as if there are a bunch of different ways this could play out, the options for Adolfo's 2018 season hidden behind a series of doors like in some sort of twisted baseball-specific version of "Let's Make a Deal." Of course, this isn't the game Rick Hahn wanted to play with Monty Hall — or Wayne Brady, for all the daytime-television-watching kids out there — with one of his prized prospects injured, a real-life example of the warning he's given several times this offseason, that baseball has a cruel way of reminding teams that not all prospects pan out.
Adolfo got his second opinion after last week's injury announcement, and that UCL sprain and flexor tendon strain has been determined to be, in Hahn's words, "a tear in the flexor tendon as well as an issue with his UCL." That doesn't sound good, though the White Sox are hoping that the 21-year-old prospect can avoid surgery and rehab his elbow while playing designated hitter and staying out of the outfield.
"It's definitely hopeful, it's a blessing," Adolfo told reporters on Sunday in Arizona. "The team knows what's best. Now we've got a plan, and hopefully that plan works out. I know it will.
"Obviously it sucks that I'm not going to be able to play defense, continuing to work out in right field. But this is a major opportunity for me to get better at the plate. That's what they pay you for at the big league level.
"I feel good. Not 100 percent, but it doesn't affect me hitting. So that's the important thing right now."
Adolfo's defense is part of what makes him such a promising part of the White Sox rebuild. Baseball America ranks his arm as the best among the outfielders in the White Sox farm system.
Last season, Adolfo had a breakout campaign at the plate, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis. Keeping him swinging while waiting for that elbow to figure out what it's going to do will be important in his development as a hitter. Hahn mentioned that even with the possibility of surgery coming later this year, Adolfo could still get "a couple hundred" at-bats in in 2018 and not miss too much time in 2019.
But there are other outcomes that could pop up behind Door No. 2 and Door No. 3. Surgery could still be necessary if Adolfo's elbow doesn't heal the way the White Sox want it to while he's relegated to DH-ing. There are multiple surgical options, too, including Tommy John, which come with their own recovery times that could impact how much Adolfo gets to play in 2019.
While this is a bummer of a reminder that not all of the White Sox highly touted prospects will rocket their way to the big leagues and instant stardom, this is hardly the end for Adolfo, who despite not sharing the high rankings of fellow outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert has a ton of promise as a potential starter on the hoped-for consistently contending White Sox teams of the future. The three were in the same batting practice group during the outset of camp in Arizona and drew crowds while they put on a show in the cage. The trio even talked about one day playing alongside one another in the White Sox outfield of the future.
"I don't get mad because I look at it as a minor setback for a major comeback," Adolfo said. "I'm still young. Obviously it sucks getting injured, but I can't control that. I can only control what I do on the field and prepare myself."