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Reynaldo López’s injury is another hurdle for the Chicago White Sox bullpen to clear: ‘We’re deep enough to compete’

Joe Kelly shook his right arm after striking out Colorado Rockies slugger Kris Bryant in the eighth inning Wednesday at Coors Field.

The Chicago White Sox reliever received a visit from the training staff and exited with right biceps discomfort.

The Sox decided to keep Kelly on the active roster as they began a three-game series Friday against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field, with manager Tony La Russa saying the setback for the right-hander was “something he’s felt before.”

“That part is good news,” La Russa said Friday. “Hope that’s what it is.”

While Kelly didn’t land on the injured list, the Sox have some juggling to do in the bullpen after placing Reynaldo López on the 15-day IL on Thursday with a lower back strain. López’s move is retroactive to Monday. He hasn’t pitched since July 23.

Even before the injuries, Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the bullpen is one possible area the team would look to address before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Asked Friday if he’s expecting bullpen help from outside the organization, La Russa said, “I’m expecting what they (members of the front office) have done before I’ve ever got here. They always look at the roster and try to improve it.

“We’re excited that we’ve got our rotation set, knock on wood keep those guys heathy. Our bullpen, even losing (López), we’re deep enough to compete because guys have proven they can step up.”

López, who is 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA, 44 strikeouts and zero home runs allowed in 37 appearances (one start) this season, has become a reliable late-game option for the Sox.

Kelly has plenty of experience in those circumstances as a setup man. He has a 6.20 ERA in 23 outings in his first season with the Sox but has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances (7⅔ innings) and has held opponents hitless in four of his last seven games.

The Sox on Friday announced the corresponding move to the news of López’s trip to the IL, recalling right-hander Davis Martin from Triple-A Charlotte. The rookie has made six appearances (three starts) during five stints with the Sox this season. He’s 1-3 with a 4.67 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

La Russa said Martin would be a possible fit with López out.

“Davis is ready to pitch and we’ll look at who else is available,” La Russa said. “That’s a good name to bring up because I wouldn’t be afraid to send him out there in the seventh or eighth.”

La Russa expressed confidence in the group as a whole as he tries to mix and match — while keeping arms fresh — before getting to Kendall Graveman and All-Star closer Liam Hendriks.

“The philosophy I was raised under, lose a game, don’t lose a pitcher,” La Russa said. “We’ve had games, especially here at home, that have gotten away because we weren’t going to use guys that shouldn’t pitch that day. One of our strengths, got tapped some with López, but we had very nice depth going in the bullpen. Especially with the emergence of (Jimmy) Lambert (1.02 ERA and .164 opponents average in 15 relief outings) and (José) Ruiz is doing stuff (and Matt) Foster.

“Losing López, that happens. That happens to everybody. But the fact is that every day we check with the guys and if they’re not available, we don’t pitch them.”

Rehab assignment underway for Luis Robert

Center fielder Luis Robert went 1-for-5 on Thursday as he began a rehab assignment with Charlotte. Robert was the designated hitter and batted second for the Knights. He singled in the seventh inning of the 3-1 loss in Nashville, Tenn.

Robert was not in the lineup Friday as he dealt with cold symptoms. He’s expected to play center field for the Knights on Saturday, according to the Sox.

Robert last played for the Sox on July 15 against the Twins in Minnesota, exiting after the first inning with lightheadedness. He missed the final two games before the All-Star break and went on the IL with blurred vision on July 19.

“Besides the (cold) symptoms, we have to see what his game looks like, see how he moves around,” La Russa said. “The fastest (he could return) would be (Monday against) Kansas City. That’s written in pencil. They’ve got a lot to see this weekend.”

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Source: Berkshire mont

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