Outfield prospect Luis Alexander Basabe suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice Monday and will undergo surgery to repair it Wednesday in Chicago, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. The recovery process will keep him out of all activity for 4-6 weeks, and he isn't expected to return to game play for 12 weeks in total.
Basabe ended the 2018 season ranked as the No. 9 prospect in an impressive White Sox system and was two steps away from the Majors at Double-A Birmingham. The 22-year-old switch-hitter produced a .258/.354/.445 line with a career-high 15 homers to go with 16 stolen bases between that affiliate and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem last season. He also played 15 games in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .180/.333/.180 with four stolen bases and 12 walks.
Video: Basabe crushes two-run blast for Birmingham
Acquired from the Red Sox as part of the Chris Sale deal in December 2016, the Venezuela native has been praised for his plus speed and strong arm. He's played all three outfield spots but is expected to have the right set of skills to stick in center field long-term. He has dealt with other injuries in the past, including a torn meniscus in his left knee that limited him to 107 games in 2017.
Basabe is likely to return to the Southern League when ready to play, and with a spot on the 40-man roster already in place, a 2019 Major League debut isn't out of the realm of possibility. The White Sox are expected to open the season using Adam Engel, Leury Garcia and free-agent signing Jon Jay as possibilities in center field.