The Chicago White Sox outfield ranks have thinned even further.
Impossible as it might have seemed for the unit to suffer even more injuries, the team placed Adam Engel on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a hamstring strain.
It's the same injury that sidelined Engel for months earlier this season, from the middle of spring training to his long awaited return at the beginning of this month. Slated to be the team's fourth outfielder before the season started, his return from injury was a big boost for the White Sox, who were by then without starting left fielder Eloy Jiménez and starting center fielder Luis Robert. And he was a welcome addition to the lineup, hitting three home runs in 10 games.
But despite the team attempting to manage his health by interspersing his playing time with regular days off, Engel still wound up making a return trip to the injured list.
Engel joins Jiménez, Robert and starting right fielder Adam Eaton on the IL, putting basically the White Sox entire preseason outfield corps on the shelf simultaneously. Billy Hamilton, a reserve outfielder thrust into a larger role with all the injuries, is also on the injured list at the moment.
While fill-ins have done an admirable job in the outfield — particularly Andrew Vaughn and Jake Lamb, who have moved there from their normal positions on the infield — it's a shocking amount of injuries in one area of the roster.
Likewise, Engel's latest IL trip makes for another hamstring injury, the same ailment that knocked Nick Madrigal out for the season, has Eaton on the IL right now and has sent Hamilton and Tim Anderson to the injured list earlier in the year. General manager Rick Hahn, talking the day Madrigal's torn hamstring was announced, said the team is looking into potential causes for the rash of hamstring issues.
In the end, it's another big test for a White Sox team that's managed to show continual resilience throughout the first two and a half months of a campaign they hope ends in a World Series championship. Still atop the AL Central standings — though by a mere two games following a four-game losing streak over the weekend in Houston — the White Sox have weathered one significant injury after another.
Down their top four outfielders and their starting second baseman, at the moment, the challenges are as steep as ever.