Chicago White Sox rookie Andrew Vaughn hadn’t played above high Class-A before this season. He also had logged little time in left field.
These days, Vaughn is contributing power and dependable defense at a new position for the American League Central-leading White Sox.
He has hit safely in 10 of his past 12 contests entering Chicago’s Wednesday game against the visiting Kansas City Royals. On Tuesday, Vaughn blasted a solo home run in the second inning to open the scoring in a 7-1 Chicago victory.
“A lot of it is between the ears,” White Sox assistant hitting coach Howie Clark said. “He’s far and away ahead of his age.”
Vaughn, 23, batted .308 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in July, his best month in the majors.
Clark credits the converted first baseman’s diligence. Just as Vaughn attacked learning left field with gusto following an injury to incumbent Eloy Jimenez late in spring training, he has adjusted to pitchers who seemingly have learned his tendencies.
“You kind of figure out how guys are pitching you; and, if you can combat that, it’s the most important thing in hitting,” Vaughn said. “It’s knowing your weaknesses. They would just attack and I would kind of chase a few pitches I shouldn’t. And I had to slow everything down, just be in the moment.”
Kansas City will aim to neutralize Vaughn while attempting to end a four-game losing streak. The Royals were held to three hits on Tuesday, and leadoff man Whit Merrifield was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts to snap his 12-game hitting streak.
Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi is day-to-day after straining his left shoulder while sliding to avoid a tag as he stole second base during the fourth inning Tuesday.
Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said the team was “really fortunate” Benintendi didn’t sustain a shoulder displacement, adding that the 27-year-old outfielder regained some strength and mobility in the shoulder as the night progressed.
“It just got twisted in the wrong direction,” Matheny said. “The trainers were very encouraged as he walked off the field. … We’ll have to see how he looks (Wednesday).”
Royals right-hander Carlos Hernandez (2-1, 4.98 ERA) gets the call on the heels of throwing six shutout innings to defeat the visiting White Sox on Thursday. Hernandez spaced four hits, one walk and four strikeouts.
Hernandez is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career appearances against the White Sox, including the start last week.
Lucas Giolito (8-7, 3.67) is set to start for the White Sox as he aims to build on a July 28 no-decision in Kansas City. He scattered one run on four hits in six innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Giolito is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season. He has defeated Kansas City more than any club in his career, going 8-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 16 starts.
Chicago’s Tim Anderson had three hits — including a home run — Tuesday for his second multi-hit game in the past four contests.
–Field Level Media