Right-hander Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox left his start against the Kansas City Royals on Monday (GameTracker) after facing four hitters due to an apparent injury sustained during his warm-up.
Before he threw his first pitch, manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Ethan Katz, and a trainer went to see Kopech, who appeared to have a lower-body issue. He then showed evidence of being compromised but was allowed to begin the game. His average fastball velocity was 91.7 mph, three ticks below his seasonal average, as he faced four batters, walking two of them and hitting another.
Jimmy Lambert, a right-hander, took over for Kopech.
Kopech has had knee soreness all season, but it’s unknown what ailed him on Monday. After feeling a “snap” and having to quit a start in June, an MRI revealed that he had fluid buildup in that knee but that there was no structural problem to be concerned about. He has so far stayed off the injured list.
In his first 22 starts of the season, Kopech, 26, had a 3.25 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 1.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For the first time since throwing 126 innings at the Triple-A level in 2018, he has already surpassed the 100-inning barrier. Due to Tommy John surgery, he has now missed a significant amount of time.
The White Sox, who have a dismal record of 62-59 for the season, are 2 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central. Additionally, they trail the Minnesota Twins by 1 1/2 games in the division and by 3 1/2 games in the race for the wild card.
Just a few days before to La Russa’s questionable treatment of Kopech, the manager had issued yet another intentional walk in a two-strike count.
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