Welcome to Sept. 1.
Rosters expanded across Major League Baseball on Wednesday, if only by a couple spots. But the Chicago White Sox took full advantage of the extra room on the active roster, using the opportunity to make an avalanche of moves prior to Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Most notably, star shortstop Tim Anderson was placed on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain, something manager Tony La Russa reported team doctors didn't believe was necessary a day earlier, when Anderson sat out of his second straight game with leg soreness.
La Russa indicated Tuesday that Anderson would likely sit during both games of the brief series with the Pirates after missing Sunday's series finale against the Chicago Cubs, a couple off days this week hopefully allowing him to return this weekend in Kansas City. That won't happen now, Anderson's placement retroactive to Sunday but requiring him to be on the shelf until, at the earliest, next Wednesday, when the White Sox will be in the middle of a road series against the Oakland Athletics.
Anderson sat during a four-game stretch on the team's most recent road trip with the same soreness, La Russa promoting the days of rest as a way to ensure one of the team's leaders and most important hitters is as healthy as possible come the postseason. That strategy now obviously includes a stay on the injured list, Anderson's trip there putting two of the team's most important pieces on the IL, with starting pitcher Lance Lynn sent there Tuesday with knee inflammation.
But Anderson's injury was far from the only news Wednesday morning. The White Sox designated Jake Lamb for assignment, clearing room on their bench for an influx of position players.
Lamb was part of the crew of reserves thrust into expanded roles while Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert and Adam Engel were recovering from their respective injuries, and that group delivered big hits and critical playing time to help keep the White Sox' World Series hopes afloat during the first few months of the season. Lamb, a corner infielder by trade, stepped into a corner outfield role to help make up for the absences of the everyday guys. But with the big boppers' injury recoveries over, there's minimal playing time to be had.
Billy Hamilton is back from a rehab assignment, recovered from the oblique strain that was responsible for his third trip to the injured list this season. The speedy outfielder was also pressed into more of a workload than was envisioned when he was signed during the spring, but with Jiménez and Robert back, Hamilton can be deployed in a more expected fashion, as a game-changing speed threat that could come up huge in the playoffs.
The White Sox brought three additional players up from Triple-A Charlotte, Gavin Sheets and Matt Foster making their returns to the major league team and Romy González getting a shot there.
Sheets is a power-hitting threat who, after adding the outfield to his defensive toolbox, impressed in his last stint in the big leagues. Since returning to Charlotte as part of a roster crunch, he slashed .303/.385/.591.
Foster has been shuttled between the major league and minor league bullpens all season long and provides an extra arm for La Russa to call on in September.
González, though, is likely to get plenty of attention from fans as a hot-hitting newcomer. The 24-year-old infielder was an 18th-round draft pick in 2018, and he exploded for a big season in the minors this year. He hit 20 homers in 78 games at Double-A Birmingham, and after a call up to Charlotte, he raked to the tune of a 1.132 OPS and a trio of home runs in nine games.
González can play second base, shortstop and third base but mostly played shortstop this season. With Anderson on the IL, it would make sense to see González find some playing time there.