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White Sox reinstate right fielder Nomar Mazara from the injured list: ‘It’s a big add for us’

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Nomar Mazara watched as the Chicago White Sox collected 21 and 14 hits in the final two games of their weekend series in Kansas City.

The right fielder couldn’t wait to contribute to the offense.

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Mazara returned to the Sox on Monday after being reinstated from the injured list.

“We were talking about in spring training we were going to be able to do a lot of damage, and we’ve proven to all those people that we can do it,” Mazara said before Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. “I’m back here and happy to be back with my teammates and I’m here for whatever they need me for.”

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The left-handed-hitting Mazara was not in the starting lineup Monday against the Brewers, who had left-hander Brett Anderson on the mound. Sox manager Rick Renteria anticipates Mazara will get plenty of chances against right-handers and left-handers.

“I wanted him to just get back in, get re-acclimated with the club, take advantage of (right-handed hitter Adam Engel) and the way he’s running right now,” Renteria said before the game. “But we’re glad to have him back. You’re going to see him a lot. It’s a big add for us.”

Mazara entered in the sixth and went 1-for-2 with a bloop single in the 6-4 victory.

Mazara went on the injured list July 21 for an unspecified reason. He said he had strep throat.

“I sent a text to (assistant trainer) James (Kruk) and was like: ‘Usually when I get the strep throat, I get really, really sick. I just want you to know. I don’t want to go out there and give it to somebody else,’ ” Mazara said. “They still made me follow the MLB protocol to make sure everybody was safe.”

Mazara said he felt better after a couple of days but remained at home to comply with the protocols. He began rehabbing in Schaumburg on July 28.

“My main thing (in Schaumburg) was get my legs ready, especially going on and off the field from the outfield,” Mazara said. “I had plenty of at-bats out there. I had close to 40 at-bats in three or four days. They did a pretty good job of getting me back ready so quick. I feel ready to go.”

The Sox acquired Mazara in a trade with the Texas Rangers in December, looking to add power in right field. He hit 20 home runs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and hit 19 in 116 games last season, also batting .268 with 66 RBIs.

“He’s been around, he’s a guy with a lot of power,” Renteria said. “He’s been working very, very well with everybody here since he joined us. He just becomes another piece that can do a lot. He has been down for a little bit, so we’ll continue to talk to him on a daily basis to see how he’s feeling, to see if we can get him out there feeling good and healthy and sound.

“Hopefully he’s in good enough shape. He was working quite hard (in Schaumburg) from everything I’ve been reading and talking with him about. Hopefully he’ll be able to transition pretty easily.”

Mazara had a strong spring, hitting .364 with one home run and five RBIs in nine Cactus League games before play stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic. It carried over to summer camp.

“I was working so hard and then this stuff happened and I had to sit at home for two weeks,” he said. “It was frustrating a little bit, but I’m back here. That’s in the past and I’m happy to be here.”

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In other roster moves, the Sox optioned catcher Yermin Mercedes to Schaumburg and transferred reliever Jimmy Lambert to the 45-day injured list.

Mercedes made his major-league debut as a pinch hitter Sunday, grounding out to second in the eighth inning of a 9-2 win over the Royals. He joined the team Saturday from Schaumburg. Lambert went on the injured list Wednesday with a right forearm strain.

Additionally, the Sox signed pitcher Clayton Richard to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Schaumburg. The 36-year-old left-hander has a 69-84 record with a 4.51 ERA in 275 career appearances (210 starts) in parts of 11 major-league seasons.

The Sox selected Richard in the eighth round of the 2005 draft, and he has pitched for the Sox (2008-09), Padres (2009-13, 2016-18), Cubs (2015-16) and Blue Jays (2019).

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