When Lance Lynn is on the mound, fellow Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito always notices his “presence and attitude.”
“When it’s a big spot and he starts running that fastball up there and gets a couple of big strikeouts to get out of an inning, it’s always great to see his reaction to it,” Giolito told the Tribune Monday afternoon at Comerica Park.
“It fires everybody up and keeps the momentum on our side.”
The Sox reinstated Lynn from the injured list for his season debut against the Detroit Tigers. The Sox won 9-5, with José Abreu leading the offense with two two-run homers.
Lynn allowed three runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and no walks in 4⅓ innings. He threw 88 pitches (52 strikes).
The right-hander’s return was one of three roster moves Monday by the Sox, who placed catcher Yasmani Grandal on the 10-day injured list with lower back spasms and requested waivers on pitcher Ryan Burr for the purpose of granting his unconditional release.
Lynn, 35, had been out since he hobbled off the mound in an April 2 Cactus League game after throwing a pitch to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll. He underwent right knee surgery to repair a torn tendon three days later.
“We’ve all seen what he can do,” Grandal said before the game. “We need that mentality, we need that confidence. And he’s a big piece, especially when he’s on the mound.”
That mentality was on display Monday as Lynn settled in after a tough first couple of innings. The Tigers scored twice in the first, including a homer by Willi Castro on Lynn’s first pitch. Lynn allowed one more run in the second on a two-out bloop single to center by Harold Castro. The Tigers had seven hits in the first two innings.
Before the start of the third, cameras caught a lively discussion between Lynn and Sox coach Joe McEwing in the team’s dugout. Lynn had a 1-2-3 third inning and allowed two hits, but struck out two, in a scoreless fourth. He exited after allowing a one-out double in the fifth.
Lynn was originally in line to start Tuesday but was bumped up a day after Michael Kopech left Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers in the first inning with right knee discomfort. Monday’s scheduled starter Johnny Cueto stepped in for five relief innings beginning in the third.
“Unbelievable,” Giolito said of Cueto. “Stepped up big time.”
Sox manager Tony La Russa said Kopech will throw a bullpen later this week and the team will determine if he’ll be available this weekend in Houston against the Astros.
Lynn’s return gives the rotation a boost.
He went 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 28 starts last season — his first with the Sox — and placed third in Cy Young Award voting. He signed a two-year, $38 million extension last July.
Lynn made three starts during a rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and eight strikeouts. He allowed 10 runs on 15 hits in 10 innings.
“He came to us last year and really became a part of the team immediately,” Giolito said. “Became a team leader, a staff leader. A guy that all of us on the pitching staff, us younger guys, could look up to and go to him for advice in a lot of different areas. We’ve definitely been missing him big time when he was going through this rehab assignment. We’re excited to have him back and it’s going to be not only a big force on the mound that he brings, but a wonderful presence in the clubhouse.
“He’s always there to help us work through things and he knows a lot about pitching in the sense of when you’re out there, utilizing your stuff, reading swings, reading hitters’ approaches. All those kinds of things that I feel like I need to continue to improve. It’s always helpful.”
More help could be on the way for the Sox pitching staff: La Russa said reliever Joe Kelly is in line to be activated Tuesday. Kelly has been on the injured list since May 26 with a strained left hamstring.
La Russa also said Vince Velasquez, who was retroactively placed on the injured list May 31 with a left groin strain, is Wednesday’s likely starter.
But the Sox will be without their starting catcher for a period. Grandal’s IL stint is retroactive to Sunday. He left Saturday’s game in the third inning with left hamstring tightness.
“(Sunday) I was doing great,” Grandal said. “I thought for sure I would have been nothing less than a day. I don’t know what happened, but throughout the night I just started getting this pain down my leg and couldn’t even walk (Monday). It ends up being more of a lower back spasm and that’s what’s making everything else tight, which is probably the reason why the hamstring pulled.
“But we don’t think it’s anything I haven’t gone through before. I think, 2020, I had almost the same thing. I think it was against Detroit, too, at home. We just decided it was best to go on the 10-day just to get everything cleared out and that way by the time I come back, it’s full go. We won’t know how long it’s going to take, but if it takes five days maybe I’m able to go down to Charlotte or something like that and start getting (at-bats) down there and catching down there.”
Source: Berkshire mont