The White Sox have placed lefty Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day injured list and recalled righty Reynaldo Lopez from their alternate training site in his place, per a team announcement. Keuchel is dealing with back spasms. His placement on the IL is retroactive to Sept. 7, so he could return in as little as a week. That appears to be the hope, as it was already known that Keuchel’s next start would be skipped because of this issue. Given that expectation, it’s not entirely surprising to see an IL stint to bring in a fresh arm.
Chicago’s three-year, $55.5MM investment in Keuchel has paid off in spades thus far. Prior to going on the injured list, the 32-year-old was in the midst of perhaps his best run since capturing the 2015 American League Cy Young Award. Through 53 1/3 frames this year, Keuchel has worked to a 2.19 ERA and 3.14 FIP with 5.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.34 HR/9 and a 56 percent ground-ball rate. He’s never managed to limit home runs at this rate, so there may be some regression coming on that front, but Keuchel still looks better than he’s been since that Cy Young win.
Lopez was only just optioned to the White Sox’ Schaumburg site last week. The former top prospect simply hasn’t performed well enough to be one of the team’s top rotation options over the past two seasons. Dating back to Opening Day 2019, Lopez carries a dismal 5.53 ERA and 5.18 FIP in 193 2/3 innings. He started four games for the Sox in 2020 before being optioned out, but he lasted only 9 2/3 innings overall. In that short time, he yielded 11 runs (nine earned) on 14 hits, eight walks and a hit batter with 10 strikeouts.
Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning currently lead an impressive core of young ChiSox starters, and veteran Gio Gonzalez was just activated from the injured list earlier this week. Assuming Keuchel’s injury doesn’t worsen, he could return for the finale of a pivotal series against the division-rival Twins next Thursday. The Sox also play four games in Cleveland from Sept. 21-24, and if Keuchel is able to make it back for the finale against the Twins, he’d line up to start the second game of an equally important series against the Indians.