White Sox’ Andrew Vaughn out with lower-back soreness

White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn fields a ball during an MLB spring training baseball practice, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP

AP Photos

GLENDALE, Ariz. — First baseman Andrew Vaughn will be sidelined for a few days with lower-back soreness, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Saturday. Grifol said Vaughn, who has not played in a Cactus League game since last Sunday, is day-to-day.

“Andrew’s going to take a few days off,” Grifol said. “We’re going to err on the side of caution. He’s had a ton [31] of at-bats He’s played a ton.”

Vaughn owns a .323/.364/.516 hitting line with one home run this spring. With Jose Abreu gone, Vaughn is the Sox’ every-day first baseman.

While back issues always bear watching, Grifol downplayed the magnitude of Vaughn’s condition. Opening Day — March 30 in Houston — is 12 days away.

“He’s in a good spot,” Grifol said. “There’s no reason to push him through anything. I’m sure if you asked him right now if he could play, he’d say yeah. But we’re not going to push him through anything right now. He’s had a great camp. He feels comfortable at first base. We like where his swing is at. He likes where his swing is at. So we’re good.”

On Friday, Grifol said Vaughn was out with “soreness” but said he would not elaborate until Saturday.

“Just giving him a rest,” Grifol said. “He’s day-to-day, though.”

Kopech not as sharp

After retiring all nine batters he faced and touching 98 mph in his first game, -Michael Kopech wasn’t as crisp in his second start against the Dodgers, allowing a run, two walks and three hits while striking out three.

Kopech pitched 2 2⁄3 innings, touching 95 mph and sitting at 91-92 on the stadium gun. He was pulled after walking the leadoff batter in the third, re-entered and was removed after retiring the first batter in the fourth.

“I know it wasn’t much there today,” he said of his velocity. “I also know it will be there when I need it to be. I’m just trying to make pitches now. With that, the velo will come.”

Kopech, bouncing back from knee -surgery at the end of the season, started his progression to the season behind the other starting pitchers.

“I threw some breaking balls that were slower than I’d like, but the shape and -efficiency were there,” Kopech said. “I know that’s going to pick back up and come back, but I’m not too worried at this point.

Santos impresses

Right-hander Gregory Santos, who struck out all four Cubs batter he faced Friday in his fifth scoreless appearance, has made an impression.

“What impressed me the most, it’s not the 100-mph fastball, it’s not the slider he throws for strikes for high percentage, which is a good combination,” Grifol said. “His will to be great, that’s what’s impressed me the most.”

Grifol said Santos has to be told just once with instruction.

“That was a great pickup,” Grifol said of Santos, who was acquired from the Giants in a trade for Kade McClure.


• Andrew Benintendi (above), leading off, homered to right against Michael Grove in the first inning for his first long ball of the spring.

• Rule 5 pick Nick Avila, competing for a spot in the bullpen, allowed a run but struck out the side in one inning. Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless inning.

• Eloy Jimenez, who DH’d in his first game back from the WBC on Friday, had Saturday off and will play right field Sunday against the Padres.

• On deck: Sox at Padres, 3:10 p.m. Sunday, Peoria, Dylan Cease vs. Robbie Ray. Cease is scheduled for five innings. Reynaldo Lopez, Tanner Banks and Jimmy Lambert also will pitch.

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