White Sox utility man, Brent Lillibridge, is now likely out for the year after being drilled in the hand by a Josh Judy pitch in the 7th inning. Initially, Lillibridge stayed in the game, and scored on a Paul Konerko grand slam. In a season of disappointment, Lillibridge has been one of the shining stars. Starting the year, Lillibridge was fighting for the 25th spot, and seemed likely he was just going to be used mostly as a pinch runner. Lillibridge, who was acquired in the Javier Vazquez trade from Atlanta, was brought up as a SS in the minors. With Alexei Ramirez there, Lillibridge had to find somewhere else to play. That’s when he discovered the outfield.
Lillibridge has been a human highlight reel this year in the outfield. He single handedly saved two games off the top of my head (@NY in RF, OAK in LF) just from his defense. Then, towards the latter part of this year he has been acting as the world’s smallest first baseman. In total, Lillibridge has played 22 games at 1B, 6 at 2B, 9 in LF, 11 in CF, and 43 in RF. 46 of those games have been starts. Aside from his defensive prowess, and versatility, he has shockingly (and some what depressingly) been one of the White Sox best hitters.
Lillibridge is 4th on the team in homers (13), ahead of Adam Dunn (11) and Alex Rios (9). So, it’s good to see a guy making under 500K in less than 50 starts can out homer guys making over 10M in more than 100 starts (that’s where the depressing feeling comes in). Lillibridge is also 2nd on the team in OPS (.845), obviously behind Paul Konerko (.941).
Going into 2012, it will be nice knowing the White Sox have a bench player that can presumably back-up every position outside of catcher. Once Omar Vizquel is off the team (not a moment to soon) it will allow the Sox to put together more of a potent bench. You can pretty much guarantee that De Aza or Viciedo will be on the bench, if not starting, next year. It’s sad to see a positive season end abruptly, but looking back at 2011, Lillibridge does get a gold sticker.
Final thought, the Sox have been hit 75 times this year, which is 1st in MLB. while only hitting 39 men, which is 3rd in the AL. For Ozzie always barking about retaliation from his guys getting hit. There you go. Typical Ozzie more bark than bite.