White Sox’ Andrew Vaughn out with sprained finger; Grifol stands by Martin Maldonado and his .079 average

MiLWAUKEE — Andrew Vaughn sprained the ring finger on his left hand sliding into third base in Wednesday’s loss to the Blue Jays, manager Pedro Grifol revealed after the first baseman was held out of the lineup a second straight day.

“It’s not feeling too well,” Grifol said Saturday. “It’s a little angry. It’s a pivotal finger on the bottom hand.”

Vaughn is expected out “maybe 3-5 days,” Grifol said, and Saturday was his third day counting Thursday’s off day. Vaughn won’t play in the series finale Sunday and will be reevaluated Monday, another off day.

Vaughn (.199/.264/.313) is having the worst start of his four-year career with four homers and a .513 OPS. He is batting .146 over his last 11 games.

Gavin Sheets started at first base a second straight day as the Sox tried to break a nine-game losing streak.

Benintendi exits game in third inning

Left fielder Andrew Benintendi was removed from the game before the bottom of the third inning after hitting a home run against left-hander Robert Gasser in the top of the inning.

Center fielder Tommy Pham took Benintendi’s spot in left fielder and Dominic Fletcher entered the game in center.

There was no immediate word on why Benintendi left the game.

Grifol stands by Maldonado

Even though catcher Martin Maldonado is batting .079/.128/.124, carrying a minus-27 OPS+ and is punchless funks of 0-for-25 and 1-for-31, Grifol refuses to back down from saying the 37-year-old veteran of 14 seasons has value.

“I don’t evaluate Maldonado on offensive numbers,” Grifol said. “I evaluate Maldonado on how he navigates through a game defensively. I don’t think anybody in the game does. It’s not like he was a .300 hitter last year and all of a sudden not hitting this year. He’s a championship catcher. Has been on championship teams. I love what he does defensively, how he slows things down back there and I’m still able to give Korey [Lee] his at-bats.”

Korey Lee, being groomed to be an everyday catcher – in coming seasons but not this one – was Grifol’s catcher Saturday and will catch again Sunday.

“We all feel like at some point Korey will take over in the next couple of years and be able to catch 130-135 games,” Grifol said.

Clevinger to play catch Sunday

Mike Clevinger, on the IL with right elbow inflammation Tuesday, said he will play catch for the first time Sunday since receiving a cortisone shot and has been throwing Plyo Balls since. He can come off the 15-day IL on June 12. A minor league rehab start could be needed before he returns.

“Have to wait and see what they decide,” Clevinger said.

This and that

The Sox are 2-17 in series openers.

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