Andrew Vaughn had never played in a Triple-A game before Wednesday, when he joined Charlotte for a rehab assignment while recovering from a bruised right hand.
It wasn’t a long stay.
Vaughn homered twice Thursday, and the Chicago White Sox reinstated the outfielder from the 10-day injured list Friday.
“It happened very fast,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn’s return comes as the Sox placed starter Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19-related injured list.
Giolito began experiencing symptoms Wednesday, the team said. He is expected to rejoin the Sox next week.
“I think we’re going to be OK but just a good heads-up, a reminder you’ve got to be careful,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field. “If you’re careful, hopefully things work out.”
La Russa said Giolito had “mild” symptoms.
“Nothing that knocked him on his butt,” La Russa said. “We had a little bit of that in spring training. It was just a normal cold, it was 24 hours, but he didn’t test positive (in that example).
“He feels fine. Get guys to just take a day off and get better.”
The Sox had Giolito lined up to start Monday’s series opener against the Royals in Kansas City, Mo.
“He can come back once he gets tested that he’s good,” La Russa said. “The way it’s looking, hopefully sometime in that Kansas City series. We’ve got a pitcher for (Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the Yankees) and we know what we’re going to do. We’ve got a doubleheader to cover (Tuesday), so hopefully one of those five (games in the series against the Royals) he can pitch, he’ll be OK.”
Asked if veteran Johnny Cueto — who is with Charlotte — is an option in Kansas City, La Russa said, “I think Cueto’s a candidate (in the series) just because we’ve got the five games and not irrespective of Lucas. We’re definitely looking at him.”
Vaughn is back after two games with the Knights. He went on the injured list May 2 after getting hit on the hand by a Mike Mayers pitch in the ninth inning April 29 against the Los Angeles Angels.
“The biggest thing was just getting healthy and getting right and help the team win,” Vaughn said. “When you’re hurt, you’re trying to get back as quick as possible but you really can’t rush things. So I took my time and got myself right.”
He went 2-for-7 with two solo home runs and three runs with Charlotte.
“The first day I was telling everybody I was test driving it and just seeing if it worked nevertheless,” Vaughn said. “It felt really good. The next day I stuck to my approach and kept playing baseball.”
Vaughn was the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft and spent that year with Arizona Rookie League Sox and the Class A teams in Kannapolis and Winston-Salem.
With no minor-league baseball in 2020 because of the pandemic, he was at the Sox training facility in Schaumburg. Vaughn made the major-league list in 2021.
“It’s all baseball,” Vaughn said of the first Triple-A experience. “It’s the same thing.”
Vaughn has a .283/.367/.566 slash line with three doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs and five runs in 16 games with the Sox this season. He’s ready to contribute again.
“It’s a bone bruise, I’m going to feel it for a while,” Vaughn said. “It’s going to be sore, but I’ve just got to play by it.”
Vaughn arrived about five hours before the start of Friday’s game. He was not in the starting lineup but is expected to be penciled in this weekend.
“He just got here a associate hours ago so give him a nice (pregame) workout and he can play the next two games,” La Russa said. “Watched him in the (batting) cage, he looks good. Glad to get him back quickly.”
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