Updated July 27, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
By Adam Hoge –
(CBS) When White Sox prospect Alejandro De Aza was pulled in the first inning Tuesday night in Charlotte, Twitter immediately became abuzz with rumors that Kenny Williams had pulled off a trade involving the minor league outfielder.
With one out and two on in the top of the first inning, De Aza was replaced in the outfield by Donny Lucy, a rare move early in the game that is usually only made in the case of injury or player movement.
Injury was immediately ruled out when the Charlotte Knights posted this on their official Twitter account:
That clarification left three other options on the table: 1) De Aza had been traded, 2) De Aza had been called up to the White Sox, or 3) De Aza had simply been pulled from the game for a different reason (possibly a personal issue, family emergency, dog died, who knows?).
After a pretty intense scan of the news wires, I can’t find a single story addressing why De Aza was pulled. Not one quote from manager Joe McEwing. Not one quote from any players on the team. Nothing.
Doesn’t anyone cover this team?
The only story that even mentions that the Knights lost to the Indianapolis Indians last night is a wire story in the Charlotte Observer, which, of course, has no quotes.
As it turns out, De Aza is being called up to the White Sox and will start in center field Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers.
At first glance, it seemed doubtful that De Aza would be called up to the White Sox, who had no obvious corresponding moves on the horizon. Even if there was an unknown injury they were going to announce today, there wouldn’t be any need to pull De Aza from a game a day before he would be playing in Chicago. But, if a different trade not involving De Aza was on the table, they would have room for him on the roster.
That’s exactly what happened as Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen were shipped to Toronto for Jason Frasor and a Zach Stewart.
For now, De Aza will be on the Major League roster, but don’t rule him out as a trade possibility these week either as he is a nice piece for Williams to move. He leads the International League in hits (124), is tied for second in runs scored (64), is third in doubles (29) and fourth in batting average (.322) and stolen bases (22). Meanwhile, he has never made me think he will ever be a star at the Major League level.
De Aza is the perfect “sell-high” player right now and could be packaged with a high-priced player on the Major League roster. The White Sox’s financial situation is worse off than most people realize. They need to shed salary whether they are staying in the pennant race or not and trading a high-priced starter is the most likely scenario given that they have six starters.
In the meantime, De Aza is going to be starting in center field as Kenny Williams announced Wednesday that Alex Rios will be benched.
That’s great news for De Aza. Much better than if his dog had died.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.