The Chicago White Sox roster has the feeling of a Jenga tower.
And another block just got yanked out, meaning we'll find out if the latest batch of horrendous injury luck is enough to topple this first-place group of South Siders.
General manager Rick Hahn announced Thursday that second baseman Nick Madrigal, who was among the team's hottest hitters of late, will be out months with a torn hamstring. The rookie infielder departed Wednesday's loss to the Toronto Blue Jays after attempting to beat out an infield single, falling to the ground past first base and requiring assistance getting off the field.
Madrigal joins left fielder Eloy Jiménez and center fielder Luis Robert as key players knocked out with significant injuries, creating another huge hole in the White Sox batting order that could last the duration of the summer.
According to Hahn, the White Sox are still looking at different treatment options for Madrigal's injury, with one of the possibilities being season-ending surgery.
It's awful news for Madrigal, who after battling a dislocated shoulder during the shortened 2020 campaign vowed that he'd show what he can really do in 2021. And he was doing just that, leading the White Sox with 61 hits and a .305 batting average.
In Madrigal's absence, the White Sox will turn to reserves Danny Mendick and Leury García, once more leaning on their bench in the absence of an everyday position player. That response has worked well for the White Sox to this point, with Andrew Vaughn and Yermín Mercedes helping to keep the team's World Series hopes afloat with Jiménez and Robert sidelined. Adam Engel's recent return to center field should be a boost, too.
Indeed, even with the misfortune on the injury front, the White Sox are a first-place team and one of the American League's true contenders.
But with the trade deadline approaching, Hahn's front office could start a more urgent search for improvements not just to fill the newly created hole at second base but the still existing ones in the lineup thanks to the injuries in the outfield. Such improvements could help cement their contender status moving into the later stages of the regular season and the postseason.
But right now, it's the latest in a string of all too frequent tough days for the White Sox as they must keep playing at a high level in the face of another key block getting removed from their Jenga tower.