Plotting out the Chicago White Sox’ starting rotation for the next couple weeks just got a little more complicated.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (left hamstring tightness) will miss at least one start, manager Tony La Russa announced Wednesday.
Giolito pulled his hamstring in the fifth inning of the White Sox’ 4-2 win against the Pirates on Tuesday. He left the game early, after trying to pitch through the tightness. As of Wednesday afternoon, the team had not placed him on the injured list.
“We're not getting any indication from the trainers that he can be ready Tuesday (at Oakland),” La Russa said. “I don't think there's any way he'll pitch in that game. I think we'll get a read on it in Kansas City Friday. If he tries to throw a bullpen, see how he feels.”
If that bullpen session doesn’t go well, La Russa added, the White Sox will also hold Giolito out against the Red Sox the following weekend.
“You've just got to really be careful with him and Lance (Lynn),” La Russa said.
The White Sox placed Lynn on the injured list this week with right knee inflammation. He's expected to miss only one start. Right-hander Reynaldo López is tentatively scheduled to start in Lynn’s place Saturday at Kansas City.
Giolito’s temporary replacement is less certain.
“We don't want to take any series for granted,” La Russa said. “We're going to have a legitimate starter to the best of our ability in Kansas City and then Oakland, and Boston comes in, L.A. (Angels). There's too many uncertainties, but we do have arms available and we're going to mix and match the best we can.”
Three off days in a little over a week give the White Sox some flexibility. But La Russa said he isn’t planning on moving the rest of the rotation up a day to use the Monday off day to skip Giolito’s turn.
“We wanted to take care of them with the schedule that we have and the off days that were coming during this time,” White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said in a conversation with NBC Sports Chicago. “So, that's still kind of the plan. We were going to be creative; we just have to be a little bit more creative (now) and get back to the drawing board of what that might look like to take care of take care of the guys that have been eating the bulk of the innings.”
Coming off a shortened 2020 season, teams across the league have been especially cognizant of managing their pitchers’ workloads this year. Sitting Giolito and Lynn as they recover from minor injuries automatically builds in rest. Carlos Rodón returned from the IL last week (shoulder fatigue) on a similar plan.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Katz said. “Maybe it's a blessing in disguise that they're getting a little break before a late push at the end.”