The White Sox have placed Michael Kopech on the 15-day injured list, as the right-hander is dealing with right shoulder inflammation. Righty Davis Martin has been called up from Triple-A to take Kopech’s spot on the active roster.
Though Kopech hasn’t pitched since September 13, there wasn’t any retroactive date attached to Kopech’s IL placement, and thus his 15-day clock starts today. That means Kopech will be out of action until at least October 2, and it is quite possible his season could be over if his shoulder issue isn’t healed. White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) that tests didn’t reveal any structural damage, but while Kopech’s injury isn’t a long-term problem, his absence will hamper a Chicago team fighting to get into the 2022 postseason.
In his first full season as a starting pitcher, Kopech has a 3.54 ERA over 119 1/3 innings, but also a much less-flattering 4.73 SIERA. A tiny .229 BABIP has helped Kopech overcome below-average strikeout and hard-hit ball rates, as well as an 11.5% walk rate that is only in the tenth percentile of all pitchers.
This is Kopech’s second IL stint of the season, as he previously missed the minimum 15 days while recovering from a knee sprain in late August and early September. Since Kopech missed all of 2019-20 and then only threw 69 1/3 innings in 2021, there was some question about how much Kopech would pitch this season, and he has only hit the seven-inning threshold in two games. However, assuming that this shoulder injury is indeed just inflammation, Kopech has been relatively healthy in the wake of his increase in workload, and should be on pace for more of a normal starter’s routine in 2023.
Martin is the logical candidate to fill in for Kopech, and Martin will actually take the hill today against the Tigers — regular starter Johnny Cueto has been scratched due to a non-COVID illness. Martin has a respectable 4.09 ERA over 44 innings in his first MLB season, though counting on a rookie down the stretch isn’t an ideal situation for Chicago. After the Guardians’ win today, Cleveland holds a 4.5-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central, and the White Sox are also 6.5 games back in the wild card race.