Hamilton goes on IL as Engel makes long awaited return

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago White Sox outfield continues to be plagued by injuries, though Sunday brought mixed emotions for the banged-up unit.

The team placed speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain ahead of Sunday's game. He experienced visible discomfort while swinging during a fourth-inning strikeout in Saturday's loss.

To take Hamilton's roster spot, however, the White Sox brought outfielder Adam Engel back from his rehab assignment, ending the lengthy recovery from a strained hamstring he suffered during spring training.

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Engel's return is a huge boost for the White Sox, who went without their starting left fielder, their starting center fielder and their fourth outfielder for the last month. They've been without Engel and Eloy Jiménez for the entirety of the regular season to this point.

Engel's return promises to stabilize center field, which has been without the electrifying Luis Robert since his injury in early May. Not only does Engel boast an excellent glove, but he had a nice offensive season during the shortened 2020 campaign and figures to bolster the White Sox lineup, as well.

But losing Hamilton is another blow. Hamilton, whose famed speed has long surpassed what he's been able to do with the bat, was starting to see some positive results at the plate. He hit two homers in two days last weekend against the Baltimore Orioles and scored on a Little League home run during the following series against the Cleveland Indians. Hamilton scored five runs and drove in five more in his last 10 games.


Manager Tony La Russa has taken a by-committee approach to filling the three outfield spots this season, with even right fielder Adam Eaton banged up with various typical baseball maladies, as well as struggling at the plate. Engel's return might not mean an everyday placement in center field right off the bat, as La Russa has mentioned a desire to be cautious with the just-recovered outfielder and preserve his health for the remainder of the season.

But with Andrew Vaughn playing well in left field and Engel returned to man center, the focus shifts to right field as the outfield position where a more imminent improvement is required, something that would be most easily remedied by Eaton finding his way at the plate.

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