The White Sox activated right fielder Nomar Mazara on Monday, and an already potent offense got potentially more dangerous.
The Sox ranked 1-2 in numerous offensive categories going into their game against the Brewers at Miller Park, and Mazara, while not starting against left-hander Brett Anderson, figures to get the most of the action in right starting Tuesday night.
“You’re going to see him a lot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s a big add for us.”
Through nine games, the Sox ranked first in the major leagues in batting average (.281), tied for first in hits (92) and second in the American League in runs (50), on-base percentage (.342), slugging (.456) and OPS (.797). Rookie Luis Robert, batting leadoff in defending batting champion Tim Anderson’s place while he’s on the injured list, ranked second to Aaron Judge in overall wins above replacement, and production is falling in line behind him.
“It’s been really fun, man, just watching the guys go out there and do their thing,” Mazara said.
“We’re loaded, man.”
Mazara was participating in summer camp workouts at Guaranteed Rate Field when he went on the injured list July 21.
Mazara said he had strep throat, alerted training staff and “they still made me follow the MLB protocols to make sure everybody was safe.”
“I was only sick for two days and that was it. They took really good care of me and that was it. I was sick for two days and I was good like a week and two, three days.”
Mazara began participating in workouts with the taxi squad in Schaumburg six days ago.
Viewed as a former top prospect who put up decent numbers yet not tapping his full potential with the Rangers, the Sox acquired the 6-4, 215-pound Mazara in a trade for outfield prospect Steele Walker during the offseason.
Mazara is 25 but already has four years of major league experience. He achieved career highs in batting average (.268), slugging (.469), OPS (.786) and runs scored (69) last season and recorded 20, 20, 20 and 19 home runs in four seasons with the Rangers. Two of his homers ranked among the top four longest in the majors in 2019, a 505-foot blast against Sox right-hander Reyaldo Lopez (first) and a 482-foot shot against Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery.
“We made some adjustments with Mazara and he’s taken to them, and he looks really good,” Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino said during camp. “And his rhythm, his bat path is really cleaned up, and I’m really happy with what he’s doing. And I can see a sense of confidence in him just by the way he does his work, the way he’s going about his business. I’m really pleased with what he’s doing, and so is he.”
The Sox might platoon Mazara with the right-handed hitting Adam Engel, a superior defender who was the starting right fielder in Renteria’s lineup Monday.
Nicky Delmonico, Leury Garcia and Engel, whose three-run homer carried the Sox to a 3-2 win at Kansas City Friday, have held down right field in Mazara’s absence, hitting a combined .167/.211/.333 playing the position.
“If [Mazara is] the same player he’s been for the last couple years at the big league level, having a bat like that against right-handed pitching in the lower third of our order which is where he may well end up, has a lot of value,” general manager Rick Hahn said during the winter meetings in December.
The Sox scored 5, 10 and 2 runs against the Twins, 3, 3 and 4 against the Indians and 4, 11 and 9 against the Royals, racking up 35 hits without 2019 major league batting leader Tim Anderson (strained groin) in the last two against the Royals to complete a series sweep.