Central Notes: White Sox, McCann, Yelich, Wong, Candelario

White Sox catcher James McCann could represent an integral part of his team’s jump to contention, which might opt for a sort of veteran infusion to supplement a blossoming young core led by Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson, and Eloy Jimenez. As The Athletic’s James Fegan writes, McCann sees himself as one of the first veterans to steer the young club towards that next step. He compares his team to recent versions of the Indians and Royals, who rode young cores to World Series berths from 2014-2016 as McCann watched from Detroit. He’s enjoyed his best offensive season, riding a strong first half to an All-Star selection, though he prides himself in his game-calling and management of a pitching staff. His collaboration with breakout star Lucas Giolito, along with a strong showing at the plate, has earned him a spot in the Sox clubhouse for 2020 and beyond.

  • Brewers megastar Christian Yelich, who suffered a fractured kneecap after fouling a ball off his right knee, is showing signs of progress more than a week after the injury. Per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Yelich could be walking with crutches in about a week, with the possibility of running as early as the end of October. That’s not to say that he’ll be ready in time for a potential playoff return, however. While that doesn’t make the absence of the Brewers’ franchise player any more bearable, it’s encouraging that he’s making progress in his recovery.
  • The Cardinals are going to exercise caution with injured second baseman Kolten Wong, who tweaked his hamstring on Thursday while running. An MRI on Friday revealed that he didn’t suffer anything worse that a mild-to-moderate hamstring strain, per Anne Rogers of MLB.com. That’s encouraging, especially after a situation last year in which Wong may have made the same injury worse by continuing to run despite the strain. For fear of aggravating the injury, he won’t be able to play until he demonstrates that he can swing and field without complication, though Wong, who’s been one of the stars of the second half for the Cards, says he is feeling better so far.
  • Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario may be playing himself out of the Tigers’ future plans, writes Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. Thought to be the third baseman of the future when he was acquired from Chicago in 2017, Candelario has taken steps backward this season, with his wRC+ plummeting to just 67. The organization hasn’t completely given up hope yet, though the 25-year-old is running out of chances to rediscover his swing if he’s to stay on a Major League roster as a corner infielder. He hopes that playing winter ball after the season—something he wasn’t able to do last year because of a wrist injury—will help him get on the right track.