Luis Robert returned to the lineup after missing the last two series with a sore right groin. When he got there, he saw that his spot was taken.
Andrew Vaughn, who took a .300/.375/.600 hitting line, team-best .975 OPS and four home runs into the White Sox’ game Friday against the Angels at Guaranteed Rate Field, batted second for the fourth consecutive game and fifth time in his last six.
“He earned that spot,” La Russa said of Vaughn, the team’s best hitter in a slumping offense this season. “We talked about it. That’s the way I was taught. That No. 2 spot, especially when you have quality middle guys, it’s a really important spot.”
Robert, who missed six games, is much faster than Vaughn, but coming off the groin issue likely limits his value as a stealing threat.
“Hopefully we get Luis sharp right away, and with his legs, he’s a nice fit there, as well,” La Russa said.
“It’s very nice to see his name in there; now we’ve got to keep him in there. Track it inning to inning with him, at-bat to at-bat. Make sure everything is not getting tight or sore. It’s a lift for us.”
With Yoan Moncada (oblique) at Triple-A Charlotte on a rehab assignment, the Sox are “trending in the right direction,” La Russa said. “People are getting hurt all over baseball. The game you’re playing is the game that counts, and the guys who are playing can help you get a win. You don’t want to get distracted by what if, what if. Just take what we’ve got.”
Right-hander Ryan Burr returned from his rehabilitation assignment at Charlotte, and righty Kyle Crick was optioned to Charlotte to make room. Burr was on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder strain.
Burr got five outs in two scoreless appearances at Charlotte. He had a 2.45 ERA in 36‰ innings with 33 strikeouts in 34 games last season. Crick allowed four earned runs in six innings this season.
Talking things over
When the pitching staff meets before each series to go over the opponent’s hitters, right-hander Kendall Graveman is all for the pitchers speaking up more.
“A lot of times, it’s led by a pitching coach or bullpen coach,” Graveman said, “and the analytical department has put together some numbers. My goal is eventually we get to a place where we’re leading those meetings because we know the hitters that well.”
Players can study video on their phones, tablets or laptops, or in the video room. It takes time and effort, Graveman said, but pitchers can come to the meetings armed with info.
“We have the time and technology at our fingertips to watch it at our home if we want,” Graveman said. “I’m hearing guys speak up in those meetings, saying, ‘This is what I saw; I feel like I can attack him’ and bouncing those ideas off everyone. That’s the biggest thing, having knowledge of how to get guys out.”
This and that
Dallas Keuchel will receive his 2021 Gold Glove, the fifth of his career, in a pregame ceremony Saturday.
† Joe Brand will fill in for Len Kasper on the ESPN 1000 radio broadcast Saturday. Kasper is broadcasting the game with A.J. Pierzynski for Fox Sports 1.