Micah Johnson's AFL season over (and other notes)
While we wait for the White Sox to officially announce the signing of first baseman/designated hitter Jose Abreu, which probably isn't happening until after the World Series, let's take a look around the AL Central:
*Top prospect Micah Johnson's Arizona Fall League season is over.
According to the White Sox, Johnson is going to have a surgical procedure Tuesday to reposition a nerve in his right elbow.
Dr. Mark Cohen, the Sox' hand/wrist/elbow specialist, will perform the surgery at Midwest Orthopedic's Surgery Center in Chicago.
Johnson had a similar procedure when he was playing college baseball at Indiana. According to the Sox, the 22-year-old second baseman is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training.
In 131 combined games this season with low Class A Kannapolis, high A Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham, Johnson batted .312 and led all minor leaguers with 84 stolen bases.
In 6 AFL games with the Glendale Desert Dogs, Johnson hit .320 with 6 RBI and 3 stolen bases.
*Do the White Sox have another talented young starting pitcher on the rise?
We'll keep an eye on right-hander Stephen McCray, who was named the Arizona Fall League Week 2 pitcher of the week after a perfect 4-inning start for the Desert Dogs. Overall in the AFL, the 26-year-old pitcher is 2-0 and hasn't allowed a run in 6.2 innings.
The Sox already have a surplus of starting pitcher with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson, John Danks, Hector Santiago and Andre Rienzo. If GM Rick Hahn trades for some more offense this off-season, look for Santiago or Rienzo to be moved.
*Now that Jim Leyland has stepped down as the Tigers' manager, bench coach Gene Lamont's future is also up in the air.
Lamont, who managed the White Sox from 1992-95, seems interested in replacing Leyland but knows the odds are long.
"I'd like to manage again, but I'm not sure a team wants to bring in somebody my age," Lamont said on MLB Network Radio. He'll be 67 years old on Christmas Day.
Speaking to the Detroit News, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said the search for Leyland's replacement could take some time.
"(Last year), there was an obvious name out there that I thought was a real blue-chip candidate to manage a good club - that was Terry Francona (hired by Cleveland)," Dombrowski said. "I don't have a name like that this year, so it's going to take a lot of thorough research to make the right decision."
*At first glance, the Twins' decision to hire Hall of Famer Paul Molitor as a major-league coach in charge of baserunning, bunting, infield instruction and in-game strategy sounds like a bad deal for current manager Ron Gardenhire.
Under Gardenhire, Minnesota has lost 96, 96 and 99 games the past three seasons. Most managers would not have survived such an extended run of failure, but Gardenhire received a two-year contract extension the day after the season ended.
According to the Pioneer Press, it was Gardenhire's idea to add Molitor to the coaching staff.
"This initially came about from Gardy," GM Terry Ryan told the Pioneer Press. "Once the season concluded, we sat down in earnest to see exactly how we wanted to proceed. Gardy had mentioned Paul. We had discussed him at length at previous times. As it got serious, I gave Paul a call and Gardy gave Paul a call to see if he had interest, which he did."