Mark Payton smiled when he was asked if he grew up rooting for the Chicago White Sox.
“South Side, it’s part of the life,” Payton said Friday.
Payton was born in Orland Park and attended St. Rita. Growing up, he made it to as many Sox games as he could.
“Parents took me all the time,” Payton said. “As much as we could get out, dad would get out of work and we’d come watch the night games. A lot of memories here as a kid.”
Friday marked another day to remember for the outfielder when the Sox selected Payton’s contract from Triple-A Charlotte and he joined the team ahead of the three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“This is awesome,” he said. “Going to be special. Something I’ve always thought about as a kid coming to games. And getting a chance to go out and play here is going to be pretty cool.”
The Sox also placed center fielder Luis Robert on the paternity list and transferred reliever Aaron Bummer to the 60-day injured list.
Robert is eligible to return from the paternity list after one day but might gone for as many as three. Robert has appeared in just two games, once as a pinch runner and the other as a defensive replacement, since his last start Aug. 25 at Baltimore because of left wrist soreness.
Bummer, who has been on the injured list since June 9 with a left lat strain, is eligible to be reinstated as soon as Saturday.
Eloy Jiménez, who exited Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals with right leg soreness, was not in the starting lineup Friday. Acting manager Miguel Cairo said Jiménez was “a little sore. It’s day to day.”
“It’s going to be something that he has to deal with (until) the end of the year,” Cairo said. “We hope that he can help us by being in the lineup.”
Cairo continues to fill in for Tony La Russa, who missed Tuesday’s game at the direction of his doctors and is out indefinitely. He went to Arizona to undergo additional testing by his personal physicians, the team announced Wednesday.
“I talked to him (Thursday) night, he’s doing good,” Cairo said. “I talked to him, the same Tony. They’re doing some tests. … So we’re going to find out more later on in the next couple days.”
Cairo referred to Payton as “a gamer, he’s ready to play, and hopefully he can help us when he’s here.”
Payton, 30, appeared in 32 major-league games in parts of two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2020-21). He went 7-for-40 (.175) with one double and two runs.
Payton slashed .289/.365/.522 (110-408) with 25 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs, 77 RBIs, 74 runs and 11 stolen bases in 104 games with Charlotte after being signed on March 28.
“He plays all three outfield positions, he can swing the bat, he’s a good outfielder and he can run too,” Cairo said. “We’re going to find a way to put him in there in a condition that can help us. I told him to be ready because you never know when I’m going to use a pinch hitter or (need) an outfielder or anything. Just be ready. Watch the game and learn, watch the pitchers and learn from the game.”
Payton is among the International League leaders in runs (fourth), OPS (sixth, .887), hits (sixth), slugging percentage (seventh), triples (tied-seventh) and home runs (tied-ninth).
“Just going out and trying to put together the best at-bat I possibly can,” Payton said. “Not give any pitches away and not miss the pitch I want to hit. I’ve kind of stayed in rhythm and the hitting coach down there, Chris Johnson, has done a great job keeping me on the right path all season.
“I think the consistency of just the amount of at-bats and getting the chance to play every day (has helped). The last couple of years have been kind of difficult in the sense of being on a taxi squad for a week at a time and coming back down trying to get back in a rhythm. Basically playing every day down there (in Charlotte) and getting four or five at-bats a night keeps you in rhythm and you find the confidence wave and try to ride it out as long as possible.”
That approach paved the way to Friday’s move.
“This is awesome,” Payton said. “Happy to be here and fight for this team to get to the playoffs.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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