Are there reasons for White Sox's endless string of injuries, or is it just 'bad luck?'

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • White Sox's Eloy Jimenez leaves the field on a cart after being injured during an April game. As they deal with one injury after another, the White Sox are trying to figure out why they keep happening and come up with answers to ensure better health in the future.

    White Sox's Eloy Jimenez leaves the field on a cart after being injured during an April game. As they deal with one injury after another, the White Sox are trying to figure out why they keep happening and come up with answers to ensure better health in the future.

 
 
Updated 6/25/2022 5:10 PM

At season's end, I'm going to medical school.

Being around the White Sox this year -- actually, the last few years -- have given me exposure to hamstring injuries, torn tendons, strained obliques, elbow and shoulder inflammation, even the elusive pectoral tendon tear.

 

With such a vast knowledge of so many health issues, it seems only right to crack the books and do some doctoring.

OK, maybe not.

But it's been another strange ride covering a Sox team that was expected to pile up wins this season, but instead has been stacking up injuries since late in spring training.

Heading into Saturday's play, the White Sox had 10 players on the injured list and just about every other player on the roster has been sidelined with a bump, bruise or bum leg over the first three months of the season.

The Sox were beat up last year as well, and the string of injuries have actually been happening for several seasons.

The obvious question is why?

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn addressed the issue a few days ago.

"Look, we obviously take the injury situation very seriously," he said. "You don't want any of these guys to go through anything that not only compromises our competitiveness, but more directly their careers. So any time there's any injury issue, whether it's one guy or it's multiple guys, we look at it fairly seriously in terms of the causes and how we can get better."

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The Sox have a head athletic trainer. They have a medical advisor. They have a new director of strength and conditioning, a director of rehabilitation, an assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning coach and a massage therapist.

That's a large staff and they're responsible for keeping White Sox players healthy and getting them back on the field when they're not.

Are they failing on the front end?

"There are many possible explanations, ranging from the most insular, to something perhaps we're doing in our training methods, to the most broad in terms of the unique offseason that we all had and the shortened spring training," Hahn said. "This is something that's going on throughout the game. It doesn't mean we aren't each day trying to answer that question in terms of what perhaps are we doing, if not appropriate, what can we do to help stem this tide on the fly?

"It's going to be difficult in-season to perhaps change the results over the next few weeks and months in terms of health. It's more something that you need to build over an extended period of time in a normal offseason, I think, in terms of building the proper foundation, so a guy is able to get through a seven-month season, ideally unscathed."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hahn is right about the abbreviated spring training preceded by a 99-day lockout being bad for the good health business.

He's probably right that better days are ahead for the Sox's training staff. And the GM is definitely right that injuries have been a scourge for most major-league teams this year.

With that being said, watching the underachieving White Sox far this season has been a painful exercise on two fronts.

There's been the inability to get over the .500 mark, for starters.

On the medical side, outfielder Adam Engel just went on the IL with a strained hamstring. That's the same issue that's taken down over a roster full of Sox players the last few years.

Why?

"I'm sure somebody out there a lot smarter than me could give you a better answer," said Engel, who missed almost three months last season with another hamstring injury. "I know that within our organization, we've got a lot of really smart people that are doing everything that they can. If there's a reason out there, I'm sure they'll find it.

"It's hard to not chalk it up to bad luck. I think we have a lot of guys that are really fast, maybe more tightly wound than other teams. I don't even know if that means more chance for injury. Again, there's smarter people than me out there."

The Sox overcame a rash of injuries last season and easily won the AL Central. That's not going to happen this year, but manager Tony La Russa still believes his team can get past the Twins and Guardians and finish first in the division again this season.

"Injuries are part of the game," La Russa said. "You can stay in the race because you don't get discouraged or give into it. I'm just like everyone else. I wish we had more of our lineup, but you don't. I know we have enough to win with whoever we play."

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