White Sox ace Lucas Giolito was diagnosed with a mild lat strain after going for an MRI on Monday, James Fegan of The Athletic tweets. That type of injury normally takes three to four weeks to recover from, Fegan notes, so the right-handed Giolito’s year is over.
Season-ending injury aside, 2019 will go down as an enormous step forward for Giolito, who finally began to live up to the immense hype he garnered as a prospect. Giolito, whom the White Sox acquired from the Nationals in December 2016 as part of the teams’ Adam Eaton blockbuster, found himself among the majors’ worst starters as recently as a year ago. The 25-year-old turned the tables this season, though, as he fired 176 2/3 innings of 3.41 ERA/3.44 FIP ball with 11.62 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.1 fWAR to reestablish himself as one of the league’s most coveted arms.
While Chicago’s way out of contention yet again as the playoffs near, its hope is Giolito will help lead it back to relevance a year from now. Giolito’s among a few highly talented starters who could help the White Sox accomplish that goal. Michael Kopech should be back from Tommy John surgery by then, and Carlos Rodon figures to return from his own TJ procedure. Meanwhile, the promising tandem of Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez will be a year older and maybe a year wiser when it comes to retiring opposing hitters.