White Sox’ Nick Madrigal sidelined by torn right hamstring

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal could miss the rest of the season after tearing his right hamstring, putting another key player on the team’s injured list.

Madrigal was helped off the field after he tried to beat out a grounder in the seventh inning of a 6-2 loss to Toronto. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft had been rounding into form of late, batting .365 (27 for 74) with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last 20 games.

“The only positive I can think of is that we’ve proven how we’re going to handle it, which is play as hard as we can and as good as we can with the guys that we have,” manager Tony La Russa said.

The 24-year-old Madrigal has a proximal tear of his right hamstring, and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team is exploring options for treatment. Rest and rehabilitation is one option, but Madrigal also could be headed for season-ending surgery.

“Regardless of which path we’re on, he’ll be inactive for a minimum of six weeks,” Hahn said.

Madrigal was placed on the 60-day IL before a 5-2 victory over Toronto, and veteran outfielder Brian Goodwin was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte. Goodwin can play all three outfield spots, a big plus for the White Sox with utilityman Leury Garcia sharing second with Danny Mendick while Madrigal is out.

Despite dealing with a steady stream of injuries, the White Sox lead the AL Central by a season-high 4 1/2 games over Cleveland.

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez ruptured his left pectoral tendon during spring training, and center fielder Luis Robert tore his right hip flexor last month. Right-hander Michael Kopech is on the IL with a strained left hamstring. Outfielder Adam Engel was activated after missing the start of the season with a strained right hamstring.

“What we’re dealing with here is a first-place team that has overcome numerous challenges already this season,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen various guys step up with the opportunities they’ve been provided over the first 10 weeks or so of this season, and over the next several weeks we’re going to have more opportunities for other players internally.”

The good news for the White Sox is Kopech is on his way back, and the team remains optimistic about Jimenez and Robert returning at some point this year.

Hahn said Kopech is going to start throwing bullpens “in the coming days” and could be headed for a simulated game. Depending on how those go, he could go out on a rehab assignment or just go back on the active roster.

Jimenez and Robert are “progressing well,” Hahn said.

“Each of them are deep into phase one and closing in on getting ready for part two, which is the clearance and resumption of baseball activities,” Hahn said.

Hahn said the team should know more about the plan for Madrigal within the next week. How the club feels about the possibility of Madrigal, Jimenez and Robert returning this season will affect how it addresses the July 30 trade deadline.

In the meantime, the White Sox are having internal discussions about the team’s health issues, particularly hamstring and leg injuries.

“Out of fairness, it’s important to note we’ve seen an increase of such injuries throughout the game. It’s not just a White Sox problem per se,” Hahn said. “There also is the element of bad luck or bad cluster luck of these things piling on top of each other. Those may be the explanations, but quite frankly, neither of them are particularly satisfying to us internally.”

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.