Lance Lynn is returning to a White Sox team nobody envisioned

Before Michael Kopech’s right knee popped on him Sunday afternoon, the White Sox had an encouraging list of scheduled starters.

Monday: Johnny Cueto on normal rest.

Tuesday: Lance Lynn off the injured list with an extra day of rest off his last rehab start.

Wednesday: Dylan Cease on extra rest, which seemed smart after topping 100 pitches without finishing five innings in each of his last two starts.

Then an off day would arrive on Thursday, giving Tony La Russa a chance to realign his rotation now that all hands are on deck.

Instead, Kopech’s injury forced Cueto to jump out of the sauna and into the fire, which he did commendably despite zero preparation.

Cueto volunteered his services to pitching coach Ethan Katz and manager Tony La Russa after starter Michael Kopech left three batters into the game due to right knee discomfort. Cueto, who has a meticulous training schedule, threw a 45-pitch bullpen on Saturday and didn’t even stretch before Sunday’s unscheduled trip to the mound. […]

“It’s definitely different. I wasn’t ready to pitch today. I was ready to pitch tomorrow,” Cueto said through interpreter Billy Russo. “Today, I was just doing my things in the pool, the sauna. Just getting ready for tomorrow. And then this happened. You just have to go there and do your best.”

But Cueto wasn’t the only one affected. Cease was seen warming in the bullpen late on Sunday’s game because his side day moved up a day, while Lynn is starting tonight in Detroit.

With a knee surgery late in spring training, Lynn was the original Just-Wait-Until-He-Comes-Back Guy, but whether viewed at the individual or team level, this wasn’t the return anybody envisioned. The White Sox are languishing in third place in the AL Central at 27-31, yet it’s not because of starting pitching. They’ve suffered a couple of acute episodes in that department, as Cease blew a 4-0 lead, and Lucas Giolito squandered a five-run cushion over the past week, but the emergence of Cueto lowered the threat level considerably.

Instead, Lynn has been replaced by Eloy Jiménez and Tim Anderson as the new Guys Who Will Make The Roster Complete When Healthy, and Jiménez just had his rehab stint rebooted. The severity of the recent leg injuries for Kopech and Yasmani Grandal have yet to be determined. Aaron Bummer’s unavailability turned into an IL stint, and everybody’s left to hope that Liam Hendriks doesn’t follow the same path.

All of this considerably mutes the excitement surrounding Lynn’s return. What the White Sox need is a player or two who can take some of the pressure off single-game decisions, at least for two games in a row. Sure, La Russa should be fired because never should’ve been here, nobody likes him, he adds nothing and his mere presence represents everything wrong with the way the White Sox conduct business, but most managers would look 77 if three out of four games hinged on ideal batting orders, expedient hooks for starting pitchers and deploying all high-leverage bench and bullpen options at the right time.

Lynn doesn’t really help in that regard, at least not yet. He needs to be gradually reintroduced into the rotation, yet his start arrives when La Russa is looking to spare his bullpen an inning any way he can. He’s also coming back from a knee injury, and with Anderson, Jiménez, Grandal and maybe even Yoán Moncada providing fresh of examples of how the White Sox have struggled to put lower-body injuries behind them, the sight of Lynn won’t provide any sense of finality.

I’m bracing for three or four laborious innings tonight, but Lynn is accomplished enough that he could easily follow the path Cueto cleared earlier this year, using Triple-A games strictly for getting work in, then transcending those mediocre results once he’s back on a big-league mound.

He just doesn’t solve the other problems that have made White Sox games such a drag. For everything Cueto has delivered, he’s 0-3 because the White Sox have scored a total of 13 runs over his five starts, and all he has to show for his heroic five innings of relief is a rare third-inning blown save.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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As Cirensica

One could think the White Sox train at the Rogers Centre. Maybe Bossard should do something with the turf and make it if soft as a bouncing castle.


Wow, that’s amazing.
Yanks went from 12 to 0
Dbacks 11 to 0
O’s 11 to 0
Milw 11 to 4
Bos 9 to 0
Tex 9 to 1
Cubs 9 to 1

WSox 13 to 7……and counting.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

It’s very much starting to feel like the lasting legacy of the White Sox rebuild will be everyone collectively coming to the realization that they are a fundamentally broken organization.

Last edited 3 months ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers

Others treat their lower body issues like they are in a race and will be needed, the Sox treat their legs like they’re in a pub crawl.


Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t deserve another World Series. You shouldn’t be rewarded as an owner when you do things the way he does them.


At least the Sox dont have the Orioles ownership situation. Sometimes you have to look at the positives!


Hah, my question to Jim in this week’s P.O.Sox is a comparison between the two! Let’s see what he thinks.


There’s a lot I’d criticize Reinsdorf for, but I don’t think he’s responsible for the high rate of leg injuries the team has endured over this season and last. As Major League Baseball owners go, I’d take Reinsdorf over a lot of others. I like his obvious loyalty to players and front office staff even if the organization often carries that loyalty to a fault and beyond. Although I was a huge fan of Marvin Miller, I can respect Reinsdorf’s efforts to keep free-agency from giving rise to a game dominated by corporate owned large market teams. This team is this team and not every problem stems from Reinsdorf being “cheap” nor will every problem be solved simply by having a different owner.

Last edited 3 months ago by denman

Jerry’s loyal to unqualified people who work cheap or kiss his ass. Nothing more.

As Cirensica

Which begs the question, how on earth he became a billionaire?


That seems wholly unfair to Reinsdorf and to Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko, Greg Walker, Richard Dotson, John Danks, Kenny Williams, Minnie Minoso, Harold Baines and a great many others.

Last edited 3 months ago by denman
Joliet Orange Sox

The White Sox did win a World Series with Jerry as owner. Things had to break a certain way for it to happen but there are owners for whom the chances of a championship are literally zero (e.g. Pirates). I think Jerry actually wants to win a championship but overestimates greatly the possibility of doing so without giving any long-term big money contracts.


This is the great misperception that is owned by a great many fans. One that pits the owners integrity vs. the players greediness. In reality, both sides are equally greedy and the owners do things for the sole betterment of the owners. Greedy is a negative word, but it does apply to both sides. When the players fight for another 1M on a 30M contract, fans jump on the “players greedy” bandwagon. But isn’t the billionaire who’s fighting just as hard to keep his 1M even more greedy? It’s perception and spin.

Your assessment that Reinsdorfs efforts did anything but help Reinsdorf, couldn’t be more off base. The reason I say this, is that there is a finite money pie. Your conclusion is that Reinsdorf actions split the money pie in a way that benefitted baseball at large. There is absolutely no evidence of this. There is no evidence that the size of the money pie changes whether it’s corporate or private ownership (what’s the difference after all, a billion dollars is a billion dollars, and money doesn’t care who owns it).

Neither side is working for the better interest of anyone but themselves, and quite honestly, I can’t see anything wrong with that, it’s capitalism 101. How we perceive and react to a bunch of millionaires and billionaires fighting over money, that’s a different story.


This is quite a pessimistic take—mostly true, but not wholly. Like denman pointed out, there are examples of owners and players acting out of something other than greed. See the most recent Jose Abreu contract as exhibit A. Abreu wasn’t going to negotiate with anyone else, and the Sox rewarded that by paying him more than anyone else would have.


Interesting comment. While economic interests may be a prime motivator it isn’t the only one and can become irrelevant once a certain level of economic security has been attained (ask Zach Wheeler). I stand by my view that Reinsdorf’s during the work stoppage of the 90’s (unlike the owners of say Cincinnati San Diego and Minnesota) was not out to break the union and keep player’s salaries low, but to establish a system were “small market” teams could remain competitive. I cannot speak to as to what extent Reinsdorf’s personal economic interests factored into his decision making; I don’t think it matters.

Last edited 3 months ago by denman

I don’t disagree with your sentiments about his efforts, just his motivations towards those goals. And you’re right, there can always be mitigating factors (Wheeler) and outliers (Abreu). In the end, Jerry is about Jerry. The whole TLR thing is an excellent example. He’s willing to give the fanbase the finger for nothing more than to ease his conscience. That’s the power of fuck you money, right there, which he brazenly flaunts. I fail to see how that is superior for baseball, fans, or anyone, to corporate money.

I did always like his comment that in free agency he’s forced to bid against the stupidest guy in the room (paraphrase). But tis the nature of the open market.

Last edited 3 months ago by chipporter

I remember how excited Hahn was during the manager search, because interviewing managerial candidates would give him a glimpse into how other organizations conduct themselves.

Jerry clearly wasn’t having any of that.

Last edited 3 months ago by BenwithVen

It really is astounding that they fired Ricky so they could hire someone older, dumber, and worse in every facet of managing.

As Cirensica

I find myself actually missing Ricky.

The Cool

Ricky would be light years better than The Russa at this point. I’d love to have him back as long as he gave up on his bunting obsession.

Root Cause

If you are going to keep Tony, then you might as well trade Hendricks.
There is just no point in having him sit there like the last cigarette in your shirt pocket.


Can the White Sox approach to training be *that* different from other teams?


I wonder about this as well. Haven’t they pulled people from some other orgs. Maybe there is one thing they are doing wrong and haven’t identified? But a completely different approach across the board… And even the players would know if something is different Pollock came from the Dodgers which must be close to best practices. Players from other teams would say ‘get those leeches away me.’


This is a little out of date but after the Madrigal/Robert injury back to back last year a friend of mine brought up a point that im reminded of now. What if the long track record the Sox had back then of keeping guys healthy made them look the other way when bringing in guys who might have an injury history or the way they move around (Eloy) makes them prone to getting hurt?


It really seems like Herm Schneider’s retirement + Brian Ball’s firing corresponded with a significant dropoff in this area


I’d say it’s less to do with approach or training and more to do with having more injury-proned players + bad luck. It’s far from only luck: Anderson, Moncada Eloy, and Robert, at least, have long histories of getting injured (to varying degrees), and Grandal and Lynn are both at ages where members of their position should basically expect injury.

The fact that they’ve piled up like they have, though, is bad luck.


* I should add this asterisk: the injuries piling up is bad luck, but the way the Sox have crumbled under the weight of the injuries is about 60% poor roster construction, 30% poor managing, and 10% luck. So they are still mostly to blame for the position they are in.


As you all know I’m a glass half full guy, so I love the fact that these injuries allowed us to see various prospects that would have otherwise just rotted away in the minors.


Which 30-year-old rookie journeyman bullpen arm with a WHIP over 1.3 is your favorite?


It’s going to be interesting to see what Lynn has. I have reservations.

They shouldn’t wait to DFA Harrison until TA comes back, do it now and bring up Haseley.


What? Why? That leaves them with two middle infielders total lol


Burger and Vaughn can play second. If Mendick gets hurt, one of the can shift to short.

Augusto Barojas

If Mendick gets hurt, Burger and Vaughn at 2nd/SS, I like it. With the worst manager in history, might as well go for all time worst defense as well.


And Velasquez, don’t forget Velasquez, the best athlete on the team according to The Russa.

Last edited 3 months ago by chipporter
Augusto Barojas

He’s just being modest. We all know the best athlete on the team is The Russa himself.

As Cirensica

Bitter pill:

Byron Buxton was named player of the week. He hit 5 homers last week.

White Sox homerun leader has only 8 (Jake Burger)
Only four White Sox players have more than 5 homers all season
The Twins have 73 HR. The White Sox 49 HR (60 HR in last year by the 58th game)
Luis Arraez (Good hitter with Nick Madrigal power), has more HR than either Eloy, Yoan or Grandal.
Jorge Polanco has more HRs than Grandal, Moncada and Eloy combined.

I am not trying to reinvent the wheel but one of the main reasons the White Sox struggle to score runs is the tremendous lack of power. We rely on rallies built on well timed singles and some doubles. We need to start hitting it out of the park more often.

Augusto Barojas

They have not hit righties well going back to and including 2020. Their only offensive additions during this time? Harrison and Eaton. Plus Pollock I guess. That’s so bad an effort there are not words for.

I’ve come to accept that we have a cheap and weirdly inept owner who has crippled this team with the ultimate albatross of a manager, plus the complete unwillingness to take on the contracts necessary to make this team elite. Add to that Yoan and Eloy both have negative WARs and contracts that now look the opposite of team friendly, this team does not look like a great young team with a promising core like it did 2 years ago. Yoan will be due 17M next year and 24M in 2024, the Sox might be lucky if he proves to be worth 1/2 of that. I doubt they could find a team willing to eat his contract even while giving up nothing in return.

A bitter pill as you said, seems close to time to move on from this team.

Nellie Fox

The Sox are continuously blaming injuries for their failures but Minnesota and Cleveland find ways to win despite their injuries, maybe it is time for a manager change to avoid doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


Trying to be optimistic here. Judging from the Bulls’ experience, Jerry will only make big changes if:
1) the coach is so manifestly in over his head that the team becomes a national laughingstock (Jim Boylen)
2) the fans spontaneously start chanting for firings on national TV (“Fire GarPax” chants during the NBA All-Star game)
…so maybe we’re nearly there?
As an aside, what other city has had its fans publicly chant “fire [coach]” to the point where it became a national story for 3 different coaches over a 3 year span?


To the aside, that seems like the standard state of affairs in Philly, and it’s not terribly uncommon in New York. Big markets exert more pressure on incompetence than small ones… hence whatever the hell has been going on in Kansas City


While LaRussa deserves to be fired, paying 70 million dollars to players who’ve produced -5 WAR is a problem that isn’t going away. Unless those guys start producing, no manager will succeed with this group.

Nellie Fox

Agree but the current Manger keeps putting the same .180 hitters out there expecting a different result. Time is now to do something, maybe a AAA prospect, would be a better option. Send the .180 hitters down to another place, cant win a division In the spring but you can lose one.


This season really feels like a game of whack-a-mole. The offense wakes up and scores 23 runs in 3 games, with the caveat of two games in extras, and they still lose 2/3 because after the first game, the backend of the bullpen had just 1 of what should be four high-leverage relievers available and the guy that has been the best of the middle relievers (Foster) is slumping.

Lynn’s finally back, but now Kopech is hurt and Grandal (finally?) is going on the IL. Tim is hopefully back in a week, Eloy’s having troubles… only 1.5 of the 3 player groups can function as they should at a time this year it seems

To Err is Herrmann

One source of hope is that the AL Central isn’t very good. Any team might win it on the last day of the season. Like many, when TLR was named manager and Adam Eaton was signed to play RF, I got a sinking feeling. I didn’t understand during the ’20-’21 offseason why Hahnsdorf wasn’t going for it. The answer is fairly simple. The White Sox FO does not compare to the best teams, i.e., Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, and GMs like Theo Epstein. I would imagine it might feel just as bad to be an Angels fan and watch your team fritter away the best years of Ohtani & Trout.