Rookie Andrew Vaughn continues to have an impact for the Chicago White Sox.
In the opener of the three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, Vaughn hit his fifth home run of the season in the seventh inning to tie the game at 1-1. An inning later, he hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly and the White Sox added four runs to defeat Toronto 6-1.
The two teams will meet again Wednesday night in Chicago.
Vaughn’s contribution to the White Sox extends well beyond this game. He’s a first baseman who was expected to be used as designated hitter this season, but he played his 41st game in the outfield Tuesday.
Yermin Mercedes put a grip on the DH spot with his hot start. And with an outfield decimated by injuries, the White Sox have been forced to employ three infielders — Vaughn, Danny Mendick and Jake Lamb — in the outfield
One of those injured outfielders is back. Adam Engel returned from his hamstring injury on Sunday to make his season debut, and on Tuesday, he played center field with Vaughn in left and Leury Garcia in right.
Vaughn has made the transition look easy.
“I would call him an average outfielder,” said White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston, who is responsible for the outfielders. “I didn’t do anything. That’s all Vaughn and his work ethic. Comes out every day — well we kind of backed off a little since the beginning of the season because he doesn’t need as much work — but he gets his early work. Him and Jake Lamb have been relentless in getting their work done.”
Lamb, a corner infielder, had never played outfield before this season. He has played in 16 games in the outfield.
“The biggest thing is they get live balls off the bat in batting practice, and you just can’t teach the experience you get from actual live balls,” Boston said. “They take it really seriously.”
Vaughn had the athleticism but needed to learn about throwing from the outfield.
“Vaughnie is learning on the job but it’s coming fast for him,” Boston said. “He is not afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes an infielder wants to play everything safe but he’ll lay out for a ball.”
Right-hander Lance Lynn (7-1, 1.23 ERA) will start for the White Sox on Wednesday. He is 1-3 with a 5.45 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against Toronto.
The Blue Jays will send out right-hander Alek Manoah (1-0, 3.86) to make his third career major-league start, all this season.
After handcuffing the New York Yankees with six scoreless innings in his major-league debut May 27, Manoah allowed three home runs and lasted 3 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins on June 2.
He said difficult situations on the mound do not frustrate him.
“I’ve been in a lot tougher situations than the bases being loaded, so when the bases are loaded, it’s still all fun and games for me,” Manoah said. “I work really hard. I take this really personally, because it’s something I want to do for a really long time. At the same time, I understand there’s more to life. That allows me to navigate the pressure. I’ve been in tough situations before. I wouldn’t consider pitching the toughest of situations, where it’s life or death.”
Toronto put catcher Danny Jansen (hamstring) on the 10-day injured list Tuesday and called up Riley Adams from Triple-A Buffalo. Adams made his major-league debut Tuesday and was 1-for-3 with a double.
–Field Level Media