Nick Madrigal's shoulder seems to be in good shape.
The White Sox rookie second baseman separated his shoulder sliding into third base during just his fifth major league game. But, supposed to return before the end of the month, he's looking pretty healthy while rehabbing at the team's alternate training site in Schaumburg.
During a simulated game Monday night, he blasted a home run that banged off the scoreboard in left field.
It was an impressive show of power from a guy who's faced questions about whether he'll be able to be more than a high-contact singles hitter at the major league level. Team brass has been confident from the night he was drafted in 2018 that there would be some sort of power element to his game.
Madrigal hasn't been too concerned about hitting the ball over the fence.
"I've talked to older guys, and they've all told me they are not really worried about me hitting for a ton of power," Madrigal said last month. "I've heard many stories from guys who say they haven't gained the power until later in their career a couple of years into The Show. So it's something I've really not worried about a whole lot. At the end of the day, if I'm getting on base, no matter if it's soft or hard or whatever it looks like, as long as I'm getting the job done, I'm not going to be too worried about it."
But while those long-term questions exist, they aren't the most pressing in the minds of White Sox fans right now when it comes to Madrigal. They want to know when he's going to be back in the major league lineup.
Manager Rick Renteria was asked about Madrigal's rehab Saturday and had no specifics to offer in terms of a timeline.
"Nicky's progressing well positively, participating down in Schaumburg," he said. "He'll do some hitting, but he's moving well, he's swinging the bat and still trying to get his timing, things of that nature. He's moving in a positive direction."
General manager Rick Hahn spoke a little more than a week ago and had this update on Madrigal's status:
"Nick's resumed virtually all baseball activity," he said. "He's fielding ground balls, he hits in the cage, he will be joining Schaumburg soon on a daily basis to go through their workouts and game simulations and continue to believe he'll be able to rejoin us by the end of this month, as well."
Well, there are only a few days left in the month of August, and Madrigal's been at Schaumburg a week. Monday, he could be spotted taking ground balls and participating in batting practice and the simulated game in full. Smoking that home run was a loud indication that he might be approaching his return from the injured list.
Of course, the White Sox have done well in Madrigal's absence, just seeing a seven-game winning streak end in a dramatic series-finale against the Crosstown-rival Cubs on Sunday. Madrigal's replacement at second base, Danny Mendick, has fared quite well at the plate in his opportunity to play every day. Since Aug. 5, he's slashing .305/.333/.492 with a pair of home runs and six total extra-base hits.
Madrigal, of course, figures to resume everyday duties at second base upon his return. But Mendick will still be quite useful as a reserve infielder as the White Sox try to chase down the franchise's first playoff berth in more than a decade.
White Sox injuries: Rehabbing Nick Madrigal homers off Schaumburg scoreboard originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago