KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They took batting practice, shagged balls and went about their business in the clubhouse Thursday wearing black T-shirts with “Pray for 43” across the chest and “For Danny” on the left sleeve.
They hung a No. 43 jersey in the visitor’s bullpen at Kauffman Stadium, as they’d done in the home one at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The White Sox haven’t been able to see or speak with teammate Danny Farquhar since the relief pitcher suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm during a game last Friday. As they opened a seven-game road trip with the first of five games against the Royals, they were keeping him by their sides the best they could.
“I know our guys are very close, and they want him to know they’re thinking of him,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And [the Farquhars] know. [Wife] Lexie and Danny know that the guys are thinking about them and praying for them. At this point, it’s just their show of love for a teammate.”
There wasn’t much good news surrounding the Sox as they returned to Kauffman Stadium for the first time since opening the season with consecutive victories. Their home record at 2-10, at least they know the Royals are bad enough — 5-17 coming in, to the Sox’ 5-16 — to keep them company at the bottom of the A.L. Central.
But there was this ray of brightness, shared by Renteria: Farquhar has taken some “light walks” around the ICU at Rush University Medical Center.
“So he’s progressing positively, and everybody’s very, very thankful for that,” Renteria said. “Obviously, it’s all still guarded and very delicate, but we’re happy to report it’s moving in a positive direction.”
It was nice to hear at an otherwise grim time for the Sox, who only seem to be running out of players. First baseman Jose Abreu, who left Wednesday’s loss to the Mariners mid-game with flu-like symptoms, was out of the lineup and clearly still feeling poorly. Outfielder Nicky Delmonico was a late scratch due to a stiff neck that started bothering him in his final at-bat in Wednesday’s loss to the Mar. The ability to turn one’s head to the right is the sort of thing a guy takes for granted until he can’t do it.
“For me, as a left-handed hitter, it’s kind of a big thing,” Delmonico said.
With right fielder Avisail Garcia nursing a hamstring injury that sent him to the disabled list, the Sox’ starting lineup — featuring Trayce Thompson in right and Daniel Palka at DH — was like something out of spring training.
We are saddened to learn that Ricky Renteria’s mother, Angela, 91, passed away Wednesday. Renteria will miss games Friday and Saturday while he attends services in Austin, Texas, and will rejoin the team on Sunday. Our sympathies go out to Ricky and the entire Renteria family.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 26, 2018
And there was truly sad news, too, with word coming that Renteria’s 91-year-old mother, Angela, had died on Wednesday. The manager will miss Friday’s game and Saturday’s doubleheader here to attend funeral services and be with family in Austin, Texas. Renteria called it a “difficult time” but otherwise declined to discuss the matter with reporters.
“Our sympathies go out to Ricky and the entire Renteria family,” the Sox said in a tweet from the team account.
The rebuilding Sox knew this season would have its ups and downs, but this has been a tougher stretch than anyone could’ve anticipated. Thoughts of Farquhar on his feet and walking surely help. For his team, there are games to be played — and how bad can that really be?
“Let’s just get to the baseball,” Renteria said.
Sometimes, it’s all a team can do.