White Sox ace Lance Lynn will undergo surgery this week to repair a small tear in his right knee tendon, Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin). Lynn will be sidelined for approximately four weeks before he can throw off a mound again, so the right-hander might not be back until roughly late May, given the recovery period and then a ramp-up period.
The injury seemingly took place last night, when Lynn was in visible pain after throwing a pitch during his final Cactus League start. Lynn immediately left the game and was moving gingerly on his right leg.
There’s no easy way to replace a pitcher of Lynn’s caliber, though the White Sox have Reynaldo Lopez and Vince Velasquez as swingmen in their bullpen, plus Jimmy Lambert and non-roster invite Wes Benjamin in the minors. For now, it seems like Velasquez or Lopez will join Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech in Chicago’s rotation.
Given Keuchel’s struggles last season and Kopech’s lack of starting experience, there were already question marks about the amount of starting pitching depth the White Sox had on hand even prior to Lynn’s injury. The Sox focused much of their offseason shopping on upgrading the bullpen as a way of improving the pitching staff overall, yet even the relief corps has been shortened in recent days, as Craig Kimbrel was traded to the Dodgers and Garrett Crochet (also a potential candidate to move into the rotation at some point this year) was lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery. Carlos Rodon was a big part of the White Sox staff last season, of course, but the southpaw left in free agency to sign with the Giants.
With this in mind, Hahn told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and other media that “we may need to add at some point” from outside the organization. More will be known once Lynn’s timeline becomes a bit clearer, though Hahn is optimistic that Lynn will be fully recovered when he does return to action. Hahn said that Lynn’s injury was similar to Yasmani Grandal’s tendon tear in his left knee, which cost the catcher close to two months of the 2021 season before he was able to get back into the field.
Lynn posted a 2.69 ERA, 27.5% strikeout rate, and 7.0% walk rate over 157 innings last season, his first in Chicago after the White Sox acquired him in an offseason trade from the Rangers. Lynn finished third in AL Cy Young voting, marking the third consecutive year that the veteran righty has finished in the top six of Cy Young balloting.