I was wrong about Brent Lillibridge.
It appeared the magic of his late May-early June heroics had worn off, and the diminutive backup was only serving as a late-inning defensive replacement/pinch runner, a role that could easily have been filled by the more offensively-inclined Alejandro De Aza or, better yet, Dayan Viciedo.
Lillibridge began to slump in mid-June following an extended break from the playing field. After taking away what would've been a home run off the bat of Coco Crisp to save a win against Oakland June 11, Lillibridge didn't start again for a week -- partly thanks to rain in Minnesota and partly thanks to Ozzie Guillen's desire to jump-start Juan Pierre's season (which has actually worked out).
His next start was June 18, a game in which Lillibridge went 0-5. From that June 18 game to the end of July, Lillibridge saw his playing time drastically cut due to poor performance. In 43 plate appearances, Lillibridge hit .200/.238/.225 with no home runs, no walks and 16 strikeouts.
The pixie dust was gone. Back was the Lillibridge of 2009 and 2010, years in which his OBPs were .273 and .248.
But over the last week or so, I've warmed back up to the thought of Lillibridge being on the roster. His willingness to play first base -- and his relative success there -- have been invaluable with Paul Konerko still hobbling around like someone fired a Derringer at his right leg and Adam Dunn being, well, Adam Dunn.
He can act as a late-inning defensive replacement for either Carlos Quentin or Dunn and as a pinch-runner for Konerko. Lillibridge hardly is the only player who could fill those roles, but he's at least done them to the best of his abilities.
And now, he's starting to hit again. Lillibridge belted his third home run of the month Sunday off Jeff Francis and added a single later in the game to give him seven hits and two walks in 25 plate appearances this month. An ideal sample size? No. But when have sample sizes been ideal for utility players anyway?
Lillibridge has resumed his role as an ideal utility player. He's able to provide some pop at the plate, he's skilled at numerous positions with the glove and he's more than fast enough to be used as a pinch-runner.
And that's certainly deserving of a spot on the White Sox roster.