ANAHEIM, Calif. — White Sox catcher Geovany Soto will undergo arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on his right elbow. With a recovery time of 12 weeks minimum — going well into August — the bulk of catching duties, if not almost all, for the rest of the season will belong to Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith.
Soto, 34, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list and will have the surgery in Chicago for debridement with loose body removal. He went on the 10-day DL for the second time this season on May 10 with inflammation in his right elbow, a year after being limited to 26 games with the Angels in 2016 because of knee injuries. Knee and groin injuries limited him to 24 games with the Rangers and A’s in 2014.
“He’s been having a lot of fun and has been enjoying the opportunity here,” manager Rick Renteria said, “but I think he wants to resolve the pain that he has in his elbow because it’s been very significant. He opted to have that cleaned up.”
Lost is Soto’s veteran presence, but Renteria said the lefty-hitting Narvaez, 25, and Smith, 28, seem equipped to handle the pitching staff.
“I don’t think they’re overwhelmed by any means,” he said. “They’re comfortable in their own skin and what they’re capable of doing. We continue to monitor, and [pitching coach Don Cooper] continues to talk to them between innings in certain situations. They’re fine.”
Renteria added that both catchers pay attention to detail, study video and do their homework.
“Their preparation and their feel for what guys are doing in a game is real good,” he said.
Soto was batting .190 with three home runs and nine RBI over 13 games. Narvaez is batting .228 with 12 walks, boosting his on-base percentage to .362. Smith, who batted .377 at Charlotte, was 2-for-15 through Sunday.
Infante back in majors after long wait
A day after struggling designated hitter/outfielder Cody Asche was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte, the White Sox recalled right-hander Gregory Infante.
Infante, 29, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since appearing in four games for the Sox all the way back in 2010, expressed thanks to coaches and managers who he said helped him climb back.
One of them was his winter-ball manager in Venezuela, former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
“He told me to have confidence in my fastball and to attack the strike zone,” Infante said. “To be confident in my stuff. I did it in Venezuela, and it was good for me. I translated that work to spring training, Triple-A, and now I hope to carry it over here in the majors.
“When someone like him tells you the way the game should be played and the way you should approach the game, you have to take that because he’s a person who is very knowledgeable about baseball.”
Infante was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA, three saves and 16 strikeouts in 13 innings at Charlotte. With starters Dylan Covey and Mike Pelfrey struggling to get through five innings, the Sox are wary of their strong bullpen getting overworked on this 10-game road trip.
“It gives us more flexibility,” Renteria said. “We seem to be running off the same guys. Maybe it gives us a chance to give them a little break and be able to use them in other situations that are more impactful to the game.”
James Shields (right lat), who hasn’t pitched in 29 days, played light catch and felt well enough to get started on a throwing program Tuesday, he said.
“Kind of see if I’m feeling anything, and I felt great today,” he said. “Positive and in the right direction.”
Shields, 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA in four starts, is antsy but says he won’t force the timeline.
“I know it’s a process, and I’m going to stick to the process,” he said. “It has been fairly frustrating for me, but today was a great day.”
Shortstop Tim Anderson returned after missing three days to attend the funeral of his best friend. Branden Moss, 23, was shot outside a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, bar after coming to the assistance of a person being assaulted by four men.
“Someone so close to me, it was mandatory for me to be there,” Anderson said Monday. “For his mom to give me a huge role in his funeral, I got to address something and play an important part. For her to turn it over to me was relieving for me.”
Renteria will put Anderson in the starting lineup Tuesday, giving him a day to get reacclimated after being off four days.
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