Fri Jul 30 3:09am ET
Cesar Hernandez boasts a .295 career batting average against the Chicago White Sox but is merely a .231 hitter at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Acquiring Hernandez from the American League Central rival Cleveland Indians on Thursday rendered the former statistic moot to the White Sox. Now, they hope their new second baseman can improve upon the latter one by bolstering his output at his new home ballpark.
Hernandez figures to get his chance against some familiar faces as the White Sox host the Indians on Friday in the opener of a three-game series.
Navigating injuries and inconsistency at the position since starting second baseman Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on his torn right hamstring in mid-June, the White Sox pursued various options to upgrade.
In what proved to be his final game for Cleveland on Wednesday, Hernandez added to a career high by smacking his 18th home run of the season. He connected in the third inning of an eventual 7-2 home win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Cesar Hernandez provides our club with a valuable combination of a power bat in the middle infield and Gold Glove-quality defense," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Adding a player like Cesar gives (manager) Tony (La Russa) a strong and proven option at second base for the stretch run of the season and hopefully into October."
Chicago and Cleveland finalized the deal shortly before first pitch of Chicago's 5-0 road loss to the Kansas City Royals in a Thursday matinee. The defeat capped a 2-5 road trip in which the White Sox scored just 15 runs.
The White Sox acquired right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from the crosstown Chicago Cubs later Thursday.
Rookie Andrew Vaughn, a first baseman who converted to left field after Eloy Jimenez was injured in spring training, made his debut at second base Thursday. La Russa juggled his lineup with regulars Jose Abreu (neck stiffness), Tim Anderson (rest) and Jimenez (groin tightness) out. La Russa said Abreu and Jimenez would be re-evaluated Friday.
Franmil Reyes hit two home runs for the Indians on Wednesday, including a second-inning shot that hit the pedestrian bridge in left field and bounded out of the stadium. He homered to deep center one inning later.
"I like to use the other part of the plate," Reyes said. "If you come in and I make the adjustment quick and I pull my hands quick to the ball, I know I'm gonna hit it very good to left field. But I'm a guy that uses the other part of the field, so anything away, I'll extend my arm."
Chicago, which holds an eight-game lead on second-place Cleveland atop the division, will aim to get back on track behind All-Star right-hander Lance Lynn (10-3, 1.91 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four July starts.
Lynn is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA against Cleveland in two starts this season and 4-2 with a 1.95 ERA over six career starts vs. the Indians.
Rookie righty J.C. Mejia is set to get the call for Cleveland as he makes his first appearance against the White Sox. Mejia (1-6, 7.52), who joined the rotation in June following three relief appearances to begin his career, has lost each of his four July starts while pitching to an 11.12 ERA over 17 innings.
--Field Level Media
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