Nick Madrigal might not be ready for the start of spring training. But don't fret, it's all with the idea of the White Sox having their second baseman at 100 percent for the start of the regular season.
Madrigal separated his shoulder in just his fifth major league game last season, hitting the injured list after an ill-fated slide into third base in Milwaukee. The news was not as bad as many feared it would be when he got up from that slide holding his arm, and he managed to have a mighty productive rookie year, hitting .340 in 29 games during the pandemic-shortened campaign.
But though Madrigal averted disaster, he still underwent a procedure to repair that shoulder this offseason, and he's currently working his way back to full strength.
Talking to Our Chuck Garfien on the White Sox Talk Podcast, Madrigal said it might be more realistic to project he'll be full go by the middle of the spring rather than the start of it.
"We’re kind of shooting for to be more safe rather than to rush it at this point, especially when we’ve got a little bit of time. I think, as of right now, if all goes well, maybe the middle of spring training," he said. "I think there’s a chance, probably, for the start of spring training, but we want to be on the safer side to ultimately be ready for Opening Day. So we’re kind of playing it safe at this point, but definitely going to play in spring training."
That's in line with what the White Sox have said all offseason. General manager Rick Hahn said in October that Madrigal was expected to need five to six months to fully recover and that he could still be rehabbing when camp started in February.
The White Sox second baseman had a fine season in his first taste of the big leagues in 2020, but he admitted the injury stayed with him throughout the year, even after his return from the injured list. While Madrigal looked as advertised, making tons of contact and rarely striking out, he believes that he'd be even more impressive when fully healthy.
"I know I can do a lot more," he said. "I was kind of battling a little bit of nicks and injuries last season, I was playing through it. I’m not saying that was any excuse, but I’m excited to be healthy next year and to go out there and show everyone what I can do, especially my teammates.
"Overall, I wasn’t close to healthy. That’s why I’m excited for next year, getting it repaired and feeling a lot better on the field."