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Hamilton returns from IL amid flurry of Sox roster moves

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Billy Hamilton is back in action for the Chicago White Sox.

The speedy outfielder was returned from his injured-list stay Tuesday, recovered from an oblique strain suffered in a June 5 game against the Detroit Tigers.

Hamilton's return was just one of a flurry of roster moves made ahead of the White Sox game against the division-rival Minnesota Twins. Additionally, Jake Lamb was placed on the injured list with a strained quad. Outfielder Gavin Sheets was called up from Triple-A Charlotte, where the White Sox sent Luis González.

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Hamilton figures to take over as the team's primary center fielder while the outfield continues to experience a massive amount of injuries. Much maligned for a lack of offensive prowess early in the season, Hamilton became somewhat of a fan favorite thanks to a late-May hot streak that saw hit a couple homers and utilize his speed to make some game-saving defensive plays.

The White Sox outfield is down Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert to significant injuries, with Adam Eaton and Adam Engel also currently on the injured list with strained hamstrings, putting the entire projected outfield on the shelf simultaneously.

While Hamilton has plenty of major league experience, the biggest boost to the White Sox struggling offense could come in the form of Sheets, depending on how much playing time he receives. Sheets has torn it up in the minors, with a .292/.352/.472 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 41 games.

 

Like Lamb, Sheets is a corner infielder by trade but has converted to the corner outfield spots in an effort to improve his chances at a big league call-up and perhaps help fill a hole for the major league club. Sheets has split his time between first base and right field this season, appearing twice in left field, as well.

As of this writing, there's yet to be an update from the White Sox on José Abreu, who was drilled in the left knee with a pitch Sunday. Though manager Tony La Russa mentioned Monday, when the White Sox scheduled series opener with the Twins was postponed due to rain, that Abreu said he was able to play.

So we'll see if the latest malady to affect Abreu this season will force the White Sox to utilize Sheets at first base on any sort of basis, or if the youngster will be relegated to outfield duty with the MVP continuing to regularly man his usual position.

Regardless of Abreu's status, though, it could greatly benefit the White Sox, who have found runs hard to come by the last two weeks, to get Sheets' bat into the lineup.

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