White Sox manager Tony La Russa tells reporters, including Scott Merkin of MLB.com, that starter Lance Lynn will likely be reinstated from the injured list in order to start Tuesday’s game against the Tigers.
Acquired from the Rangers prior to the 2021 season, Lynn had just one year remaining on his contract at the time he joined the Pale Hose. He was excellent in his first few months with the White Sox, throwing 90 2/3 innings over 16 starts with a 1.99 ERA. That showing was enough for them to put down $38MM in order to keep him around for two more seasons, with a club option for 2024 as well.
Coming into this year, Lynn was set to be a key member of a rotation that looked to be a strength for the South Siders, though that hasn’t gone according to plan. Lynn left his final Spring Training start with discomfort in his right knee, the same knee that sent him to the injured list for a time in 2021. He ultimately required surgery and has been working his way back to health ever since.
The Sox have seen their rotation depth tested in a few different ways this year, on top of not yet having any contributions from Lynn thus far. Lucas Giolito has been on the IL twice, Vince Velasquez is currently out due to a groin injury, and Dallas Keuchel struggled enough to get released. Still, the starting corps has still held its own, thanks to strong performances from Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Johnny Cueto. Chicago starters have a 3.99 ERA on the year as a unit, 14th-best in the majors, not terrible considering the hiccups they’ve faced.
The club has been weathering their injuries enough to tread water in the American League postseason race, currently sitting on a 27-30 record, just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. If Lynn can return and show anything resembling his 2019-2021 form, he will give a huge boost to the club. Over those three seasons, he threw 449 1/3 innings with a 3.26 ERA, 27.5% strikeout rate and 6.9% walk rate. The 12.3 fWAR he accumulated in that time was fifth among qualified pitchers across baseball, trailing only Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler and Max Scherzer. Once Lynn takes the ball, the rotation should be at full strength, with the 35-year-old slotting next to Giolito, Cease, Kopech and Cueto. Davis Martin, who recently fared well in three spot starts (one behind an opener), will likely be bumped down to the sixth spot on the depth chart, pitching in Triple-A or long relief in the meantime.