The Chicago White Sox were certainly busy this offseason adding another ace starting pitcher in Jeff Samardzija and .300 hitter Melky Cabrera. The new look White Sox are expected to be a much improved team after last years disappointing 73-89 season, and they are even in the talks of competing for a division title. So what could hold them back from breaking out in 2015?
The Chicago White Sox have already began feeling the injury woes. Even though they have not even played a spring training game yet, starting pitcher Chris Sale is expected to miss three weeks and maybe even opening day. According to the White Sox Twitter page, Chris Sale has suffered an avulsion fracture in his right foot. This incident happened at the 25-year-old lefty’s home on Friday and has been ruled an accident. Sale has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers in the league having made it to three consecutive All-Star games, and with more firepower in the line up and a stronger supporting cast than previous year, Sale is expected to be in the Cy Young conversations once again this year. The bright side for Chicago is that it is not a baseball injury and it is not in his arm. Sale missed a few starts last year due to a strain in his throwing arm. With his unorthodox release, Sale is always at risk to injuries in his arm, so the White Sox will be watching cautiously as the year unfolds.
Leadoff man and center fielder Adam Eaton has had his fair share of injury troubles as well. Eaton is such an aggressive player and is always running at full speed, that injuries are just something that will come along during his career. Eaton was limited to 123 games last year with the White Sox thanks to two different stints on the DL. One of the bigger signs for caution was his hamstring injury in 2014. Leadoff hitters and outfielders rely heavily on their legs to reach their full capabilities as a player, and leg injuries can be very frustrating for everyday players, because they never know when they are fully back to 100 percent. Losing Adam Eaton at any point this year will be devastating to the White Sox as he is a Gold Glove candidate and one of the most efficient players in the American League when it comes to getting on base. Not only will an injury be devastating to Eaton, but the rest of the line up is relying on him to get things started and provide their power hitters in Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu with runners on base. An injury to Adam Eaton could result in the entire team declining in performance.
The Chicago White Sox do not have much depth on their bench and in their bullpen, so they will be praying every night that the injury bug doesn’t bite them too seriously at any point this season. They might have dodged a bullet with this recent injury to Chris Sale, but they might not be so lucky by the time the middle of the season rolls around. Expectations are high for this win now type of ball club, and an injury can put a halt to those expectations and turn this group of contenders to pretenders in the blink of an eye.