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White Sox outfielder Adam Engel won’t be ready for Opening Day

“Adam Engel will be out at least a couple of weeks,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Adam Engel throws the ball back into the infield as White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez (74) backs up during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photos

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Outfielder Adam Engel will be out “at least a couple of weeks” with a strained right hamstring, manager Tony La Russa said Sunday, which means he will start the season on the injured list and won’t be ready April 1, when the White Sox play the Angels in Anaheim, California, on Opening Day.

Engel got hurt Saturday making an off-balance throw home after charging to make a running catch on a sacrifice fly, letting go of the ball on the run as he was planting his foot.

“They’re examining it now,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He’s in great shape. He’s a fast healer, but it’s going to be at least a couple of weeks. Hopefully not longer, but we’ll see.”

Engel was set to be the team’s fourth outfielder and figures to platoon in right field with the left-handed-hitting Adam Eaton when he returns. The Sox signed veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton, who can play all three outfield positions like Engel, and Leury Garcia started in center in the Cactus League game Sunday against the Diamondbacks as the Sox look at their options. La Russa mentioned Luis Gonzalez and Nick Williams as outfielders behind Eaton on the depth chart.

“It creates an open spot, so we’ll see what we do with it,” La Russa said. “It’s one of those things that’s not a good break for us.”

Engel batted .278/.278/.667 with a team-high three home runs and two triples this spring. A Gold Glove finalist as a center fielder in 2018, Engel got hurt making “an absolutely great play on a short fly ball,” La Russa said.

“There’s some talent there to consider as to how we replace Adam, and those discussions are going on now,” La Russa said. “We still have games to play; guys are making their impressions.”

Lefty Turley claimed on waivers

The Sox claimed left-hander Nik Turley, 31, off waivers from the Athletics. Turley was acquired from the Pirates in January but struggled in five Cactus League relief appearances with the A’s, allowing 10 runs in 4⅓ innings. He allowed four homers and four walks but touched 97 mph in his first outing and struck out eight batters this spring.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Jimmy Cordero was put on the 60-day IL. Cordero will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery Thursday.

Collins ‘in middle of’ backup battle

Zack Collins is pushing himself into the middle of the backup-catcher competition, La Russa said.

“I don’t hold anything against a young guy,” La Russa said. “With all the preparation stuff that you have to supply him, as long as they can take it all in, embrace it and make it right.”

La Russa likes how Collins (.333 average with a homer after going 0-for-3) is hitting and has “taken to the training, the preparation training that we’ve tried as far as creating a relationship with pitchers and having an idea going in of how to attack. And the next day when he talks and explains, he’s very articulate, intelligent.”

Collins told MLB.com it would be “a mistake” if he wasn’t on the Opening Day roster.

“There’s days to go, and he’s been playing with an edge,” La Russa said. “He’s got to keep it.”

Sox 4, Diamondbacks 4

Rodon is excellent

With a four-inning, one-hit, strike-filled effort against the Diamondbacks, Carlos Rodon pretty much clinched the No. 5 starter spot. Rodon has not allowed a run or a walk in nine Cactus League innings and might be the White Sox’ No. 1 highlight of spring training.

Rodon struck out five, threw 38 of 49 pitches for strikes and got nine swinging strikes. His velocity hit 96.7 mph, per Baseball Savant.

“We attacked and just got outs,” Rodon said. “It feels comfortable in my hand, and it feels strong. That four-seam command makes all of my pitches better.”

Rodon has had 10 strikeouts over his three outings, two of them starts. He is making a shambles of the competition with Reynaldo Lopez for the fifth spot in the rotation. Lopez (9.00 ERA) allowed four runs and six hits, including a home run by Nick Ahmed, and might be challenged to keep a spot in the bullpen if he doesn’t improve.

Lopez remains confident despite the poor results.

“I can make [an adjustment],” Lopez said. “It’s something I can fix in the next couple of days.”

Garrett Crochet struck out two in a scoreless inning, touching 97 mph.

Grandal is progressing

Catcher Yasmani Grandal (knee) is scheduled to catch his third game in five days Monday, working every other day behind the plate now. The aim is to have him ready by Opening Day.

“We’re encouraged because he’s held up well with no setbacks,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Late pop

Yermin Mercedes drove in two runs with a single in a four-run ninth to give the Sox their fifth tie. They are 6-10 in the win-loss columns. Andrew Vaughn thumped a triple off the right-field wall.

On deck

Giants at Sox, 3:05 p.m. Monday, Glendale, MLB.TV, Kevin Gausman vs. Lucas Giolito.