Danny Mendick didn’t curse his luck.
The White Sox infielder’s season came to end Thursday with news that he tore the ACL in his right knee, an injury suffered Wednesday in an outfield collision with Adam Haseley.
”You know what, that ball was in no man’s land,” Mendick said while using crutches a few hours before the Sox opened a four-game against the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“You’re going out, you’re trying to be aggressive. There’s nothing I would ever take back about it. I’m an aggressive player. I know Haseley is too. I talked to him about it. I wouldn’t change it. You go after the ball — that’s how it works. Maybe a little miscommunication, but that’s part of it.”
The Sox, however, might curse their fortunes when it comes to keeping players healthy.
In addition to Mendick, outfielder Adam Engel on Thursday was placed on the 10-day IL. Engel suffered a strained right hamstring one inning after Mendick went down during a 9-5 home loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Engel’s same hamstring cost him the first 58 games of last season. He returned June 6 but went on the 10-day IL later that month.
This time around, he said the injury feels less severe.
”Waking up today, definitely sore but nowhere near as bad as what I’ve experienced last year,” he said. “So I’m optimistic that it should be on the shorter side of an IL stint and it shouldn’t take too long to get back healthy, get back out there.”
The Sox on Thursday recalled first baseman/outfielder Gavin Sheets from Triple-A Charlotte and selected the contract of Double-A infielder Lenyn Sosa.
Eloy Jiménez was transferred to the 60-day IL and was eligible to be reinstated Thursday. He is rehabbing with Charlotte.
Meanwhile, outfielder Luis Robert was held out of Thursday’s game with a leg injury.
”He’s got an issue he’s had before, so we are going to let it quiet down,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I expect he’ll play tomorrow.”
The Sox count their lineups day to day. They’ve suffered a string of injuries since Garrett Crochet and Lance Lynn went down in spring training.
The injury bug also has nipped Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Liam Hendriks, Yasmani Grandal and Aaron Bummer.
Mendick, 28, who is hitting .289 with 15 RBIs in 31 games, had earned more playing time from La Russa and respect from Sox fans for his gritty play, especially while filling in for Anderson while the All-Star shortstop was recovering from a right groin strain.
”It’s a great game in a lot of ways, but a lot of time there’s no justice,” La Russa said. “What he’s done to earn extra playing time and been so productive.
“Our record, we survived Tim being out, and almost every one of those games, Danny did something or somethings, plural.”
Anderson returned from his IL stint Monday.
Medick said he doesn’t know what’s happening with the Sox, but “for all the injuries we’ve had it’s impressive what we’ve done so far. Guys will be coming back and getting better, to full strength, and we’re going to be dangerous.”
Mendick was upbeat despite the season-ending injury, believing he has ample time to rehab and be ready for Day 1 of spring training in 2023.
”They’ve given me a good timeline of when I end up getting surgery and when I can start getting after it until I can be full,” said Mendick, who wasn’t sure of his surgery date. “It’s exciting to be looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to … being fully healthy and really strong.”
The left-handed-hitting Sheets batted .270 with two home runs in nine games with Charlotte after being demoted June 10. He hit .204 in his first stint with the Sox this season, regressing from his promising rookie year.
But after Sheets’ stint with the Knights and working with their hitting coach, Chris Johnson, Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino “really felt like Gavin was more himself,” La Russa said. “He’s a veteran now, so he’ll get dressed and he’ll get stretched, he’ll play right field.”
Sosa, 22, can play short, second or third and is one of the Sox’s top prospects. He led the Southern League entering Thursday with a .331 average, 85 hits and 48 RBIs while posting a .933 OPS at Double-A Birmingham.
“He’s going to help wherever he can, but when you’re putting together the year he has you’ve got to believe he’s going to be an everyday player, La Russa said. ”He’s been (playing) every day down there and he’s tearing the cover off the ball. The fact he can play three infield spots makes it easier.”
The Venezuelan infielder, signed as an international free agent in 2016, will wear No. 50. He was not in the starting lineup Thursday.
Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan contributed.