White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka finished his rookie season last year with a healthy 27 home runs and 67 runs batted in, in 417 at-bats. It was a promising year, even if Palka also struck out a whopping 153 times. His sophomore year has not been so promising—Palka opened the season 1-for-35 from the plate with 16 strikeouts and was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte on April 17.
The good news is, Palka might be too damn good for Triple-A: in 59 games down in Charlotte, our hero slugged 16 dingers and accrued a .922 OPS. The White Sox, meanwhile, have sagged to the second-lowest non-Tigers* offensive output in the American League. They could use some help at the plate, and so they called the healthy and rejuvenated Palka back up to the majors on Friday.
*The Tigers do not count for these exercises, because they are pure crud.
So what did two and a half months in the minors do for Palka? For one thing, Palka told the Northwest Herald that he got in “a little cleanup” of his swing mechanics, and “everything came together” for him. For another thing, not unlike a child that comes back from summer camp with a new vocabulary of swears and having smoked their first cigarette, Palka came back from Charlotte with a hot new name:
Perhaps hedging against the confusion caused by too much change all at once, Palka has gone 0-for-5 since returning to the White Sox, and is now 1-for-40 on the year.
Disclosure: The former Deadspin Editor in Chief who sent in this tip was once provided Gordon Beckham’s used footwear by the Chicago White Sox, and was sent a Hawk Harrelson alarm clock by a White Sox enthusiast. His opinions are frankly incomprehensible.