Back at full force, White Sox beat Angels 9-3
No offense to rookie outfielder Andrew Vaughn or relief pitcher Ryan Tepera, who both landed on the injured list Tuesday.
But with shortstop Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito coming off the IL before Tuesday night's game against the Angels, the White Sox finally had all of their top players healthy with three weeks to go before the playoffs.
"You want to compete at your highest possible potential, and that's with the team (vice president) Kenny (Williams) and (general manager) Rick (Hahn) put together," Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "We're close to that. Now it's just do everything we can to keep them healthy, keep them competitive, win games and we've got a chance."
Left hamstring strains sidelined Anderson and Giolito for the first two weeks of September, but they were both back on the field for the opener of a three-game series vs. Los Angeles at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The White Sox beat the Angels 9-3.
Designated hitter Gavin Sheets sparked the offense with an RBI single in the second inning and a 3-run homer in the third while falling a triple short of the cycle.
Giolito was effective, piling up 8 strikeouts in 4 innings, and he got MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani swinging in the first inning and looking in the fourth.
The right-hander was also rusty, and Giolito gave up a solo home run to Phil Gosselin and a 2-run homer to Jared Walsh before calling it a night after throwing 87 pitches.
"My hamstring felt great," Giolito said. "I liked how I threw the ball but I didn't like the results, That's OK, we ended up winning the game and that's all that matters."
The White Sox are easing Giolito back in and employing the same strategy with Anderson, who has been dealing with hamstring issues since the third week of August. He went 1-for-5 in his return and will get Wednesday night off.
"Just trying to get a feel for being back out there," Anderson said. "I felt great overall. I'll get back to where I need to be."
Vaughn is on the IL with lower back inflammation and Tepera is sidelined with a right index finger laceration.
Mired in a 4-for-50 slump, Vaughn started feeling discomfort when the Sox were in Oakland last week.
"The back tightened up and it was getting stiff," he said. "It was to the point where it felt like something was going to happen and I went into the training staff and said I had some tightness. Got it checked out but we couldn't make the progress."
Tepera cut his finger Monday night on a door frame at home. "We're hoping five to seven days," the relief pitcher said. "I didn't need any stitches or anything, so we put a little strip on it to keep the skin flap down and put this little guard on it."
The White Sox also recalled catcher Zack Collins and optioned Seby Zavala to Class AAA Charlotte.
"We've been eyeballing Seby, we're going to eyeball Zack," La Russa said. "This gives us a chance to take a fresh look at Zack and at the same time Seby's going to be playing every day down there, which keeps him in shape."
A 1-for-22 slump dropped Zavala's batting average to .183 before he was sent down.