PEORIA, Ariz. — White Sox left fielder Nicky Delmonico said Monday that his left shoulder is OK, that he expects to hit Wednesday and that he hopes to be ready for opening day.
The way things have been going for the Sox on the injury front this spring, Delmonico looking none the worse for wear was a welcome, if not unexpected, sight. On Sunday, he collided hard in short left field with shortstop Tyler Saladino, injuring the shoulder on his fall. The Sox announced that Delmonico had a partial shoulder separation and would be further evaluated Monday, although manager Rick Renteria said after the game that he “just got extended and jammed it a little bit. Didn’t pop it. Didn’t do anything.’’
“I think it was more of a scare than anything,’’ Delmonico said, looking healthy in shorts and a T-shirt after receiving treatment at the Sox’ spring-training complex. “I went down hard on it . . . but everything feels good. I didn’t wake up sore, so it’s good.’’
Delmonico, who throws right and bats left, said the team doctor who examined him said “everything was perfect.”
“The MRI was clean,’’ Delmonico said. “Got treatment twice today, coming in [Tuesday for treatment] and swinging it Wednesday.”
Delmonico blamed himself for not calling off Saladino.
Asked if he has hopes for being ready in time for the season opener in 17 days, Delmonico said, “Oh, yeah. I feel like I can go out there and play today. Talking to Tyler today, it seems like he’s doing better, so that made me happy, too.”
Delmonico, 25, who built up a passionate fan base in only two months of games in his major-league debut last season, has handled much worse than injury scares during his career. And that’s part of the reason fans have responded to a player Renteria says has “the ‘it’ factor.’’
During tougher times, Delmonico had become addicted to Adderall, a drug he had been prescribed since high school, and as a Brewers prospect in 2014, he would fail a drug test and be suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball.
The ordeal sent him into such an emotional tailspin that he quit baseball. When he reconsidered, the Sox gave him a shot and watched him climb the minor-league ladder from low-Class A Kannapolis to his call-up to the majors last Aug. 1.
Once there, Delmonico added sizzle to his comeback story by reaching base safely in a franchise-record 13 consecutive games to begin his career.
Delmonico would finish with a .262/.373/.482 slash line, nine home runs and 23 RBI in 43 games and go to spring training as the team’s top candidate in left field, a position he’s still learning after coming up as a corner infielder.
He says he’s in a good place mentally and is always mindful of where he came from and where he is now.
“You never want to say you put everything totally behind you because you want to stay grounded,’’ Delmonico said Sunday. “I am here today because of what I’ve been through. And I definitely have a great appreciation for what I have every day. I’m just thankful to be here.’’
Delmonico has struggled with fly balls in the sun this spring — he also made a leaping catch to save a homer — but Renteria likes how he has worked with outfield coordinator Aaron Rowand and Daryl Boston in camp.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but Renteria has his back.
“You could see his growth in his approach to fly balls and how he’s commanding that position a lot better toward the end,’’ Renteria said. “So he can hold his own, helping us in any way he can.’’
Follow me on twitter @CST_soxvan.
Delmonico had a .262/.373/.482 slash line, nine homers and 23 RBI in 43 games last season. He reached base safely in a club-record 13 consecutive games to begin his career.