CHICAGO -- The return of J.B. Shuck to the White Sox active roster and the designation of infielder Emilio Bonifacio for assignment points up the White Sox dual desire to push for the American League's second Wild Card but also give their young players a chance.
Shuck appeared in three rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte to test his strained left hamstring and now returns to the White Sox outfield mix. The White Sox could have optioned Trayce Thompson back to Charlotte, keeping the versatility of Bonifacio, but with six hits in 12 at-bats since his callup, Thompson has earned his place on the roster.
"With kind of the emergence of Trayce, you are getting Shuck back and you can have him as a pinch-hitter playing the outfield," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Again, you look at what Trayce has done since he's been up here, you have some options there.
"We are going to run into some lefties coming up here on the road trip. He's going to get some playing time. You like what he has done and it's a credit to him and you have to make a decision based on that."
That decision also could be influenced by Adam LaRoche's continued poor production at the plate. Ventura might use LaRoche in more of a platoon situation against right-handed pitchers, with Thompson a better starting option than Bonifacio against southpaws.
Bonifacio was a very popular figure in the White Sox clubhouse, but after the team agreed upon a $3 million deal during the offseason, with a $1 million buyout or $4 million option for 2016, the switch-hitter just never found a fit on the South Side. He hit .167 in 78 at-bats with four RBIs and five runs scored in 47 games.
"It's a tough one. That stuff is never easy," Ventura said. "It didn't really pan out the way we really saw it happening with him. It's always tough. He's a great guy inside the clubhouse."
Thompson joins Tyler Saladino, Carlos Sanchez and Carlos Rodon as young, homegrown products making a big league impact. But this mini-youth movement doesn't mean the White Sox are giving up on their hopes of completing an improbable postseason run.
"Player development is one thing. But we are bringing these guys up here to play, and they deserve to play," Ventura said. "With the way Trayce is playing, I don't know if we look at it as player development. You let them go play. His numbers right now look pretty good. Player development is more about when a guy is hitting .180 and you are trying to get him over the hump.
"Right now, we are still continuing to focus on what we have and what we can use right now to win games. Trayce is definitely part of that."