The White Sox have reinstated right-hander Michael Kopech from the 10-day injured list, and also called up left-hander Jace Fry from Triple-A Charlotte. The moves come in response to a pair of bullpen injuries, as both southpaw Aaron Bummer (right hamstring strain) and righty Evan Marshall (strained right flexor pronator) are headed to the 10-day IL.
Due to a Tommy John surgery and then a COVID opt-out, Kopech’s 31 1/3 innings this season marked his first big league action since his debut campaign of 14 1/3 frames in 2018. One of the game’s more highly-touted pitching prospects, Kopech has displayed that potential with a 1.72 ERA and a 36% strikeout rate this season before a strained left hamstring sent him to the IL on a retroactive May 28th placement.
The White Sox planned to keep Kopech in a hybrid swingman role a way of managing his innings, and it’s possible he could get more looks out of the pen in the near future considering the absences of Bummer and Marshall. Chicago manager Tony La Russa told reporters (including James Fegan of The Athletic) that the club is hopeful Bummer is able to return after a minimal stint on the IL, though Marshall will be out of action for a to-be-determined longer period of time.
Bummer has a 3.26 ERA over 30 1/3 innings, with his typically large ground ball rate (a career-best 74%) as well as a 32.1% strikeout rate that would be a career high by a large margin over a full season. Bummer has been an effective weapon out of Chicago’s bullpen for five years now, with the exception of an injury-shortened 2020 campaign.
Marshall pitched well last season to help account for Bummer’s absence, but 2021 has been a much tougher ride for the right-hander. Marshall has a 5.60 ERA over 27 1/3 innings, due to the combination of a larger-than-usual homer rate, a below-average strikeout rate, and a 40.8% grounder rate that is well south of his 52.6% career average.