White Sox manager Robin Ventura suggested to reporters after Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers that designated hitter Adam Dunn might be ready to return to the starting lineup Wednesday evening.
But Dunn failed to make it through batting practice on Wednesday afternoon, according to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, and has experienced little to no improvement in his sore right oblique over the past couple of days. A pain-killing injection administered Tuesday morning did not achieve its intended effect.
The 32-year-old slugger has been out since September 5 — a full week — and seems unlikely to appear in a game before the weekend. Dan Johnson, a .236/.335/.406 career hitter in the major leagues, is filling in at designated hitter on Wednesday against tough Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer.
Dunn is batting .208/.340/.485 with 38 home runs and 88 RBI through 133 games played this season. Chicago is currently clinging to a two-game lead over the Tigers in the American League Central standings.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.