Adam Dunn was benched yesterday for the second straight game as his season-long slump gets deeper and deeper, and now the White Sox are saying the struggling designated hitter has a sore knee.
Or at least that’s the official reason manager Ozzie Guillen gave for sitting Dunn, although “we faced lefties in both games and Dunn can’t hit them to save his life” would have been a sufficient explanation. Dunn is 2-for-64 versus southpaws this season.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago writes that Guillen didn’t even know which knee was bothering Dunn, speculating that the injury may simply be a way for the White Sox to get him out of the lineup and on to the disabled list for an extended break.
Chicago is off today and for now Dunn is scheduled to rejoin the lineup tomorrow, but there’s a DH alternative crushing the ball at Triple-A, where 22-year-old Dayan Viciedo is hitting .311 with 16 homers, 24 doubles, and an .876 OPS.
Of course, getting Dunn on the DL and Viciedo into the lineup would be a short-term solution for a long-term problem, as he’s under contract for $14 million in 2012 and $15 million in both 2013 and 2014. Assuming he doesn’t retire, that it.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.
Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.
The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.
Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.
Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.
It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.