6:18PM: Speaking with The Athletic’s James Fegan (Twitter links) and other reporters after the game, Kopech said his knee is sore and there is some fluid buildup, but an MRI revealed no structural problems. He did feel a small twinge or pop sensation in his knee during his final pitch of the game.
Both Kopech and manager Tony La Russa expressed hope that the injury wasn’t serious, and that Kopech might potentially not even miss a start. For the Detroit series, La Russa said Lynn will now pitch on Monday, Dylan Cease will start Tuesday, and Wednesday’s starter is to be determined.
5:21PM: Michael Kopech lasted only 13 pitches into today’s start against the Rangers, as the White Sox right-hander had to leave the game due to what the Sox later described as discomfort in his right knee. After tossing a strike to Adolis Garcia, Kopech was in visible discomfort on the mound, and departed after a visit from the team trainer.
More will be known about Kopech’s status after he receives testing and treatment, yet for now, it looks like the White Sox have perhaps suffered yet another key injury. With several notable players sidelined for long stretches of time (or even the entire season, such as Tommy John patient Garrett Crochet), Chicago has been unable to get much momentum going, as the club carried a 27-30 record into today’s game with Texas.
Just as it seemed the rotation was finally taking shape with the impending return of Lance Lynn, the White Sox now face another possible absence in Kopech. Lynn had been slated for Tuesday’s game against the Tigers, though Chicago’s rotation will have to be reshuffled since Johnny Cueto (Monday’s scheduled starter) ended up pitching five innings today. An off-day on Thursday should help to settle things, but in the short term, the Sox now suddenly face a bit of a crunch for this series in Detroit.
In his first full year as a starting pitcher, Kopech has an outstanding 1.94 ERA over 51 2/3 innings, though his 4.34 SIERA and 4.49 xFIP aren’t as impressed by his performance. The righty has benefited from a .180 BABIP, and his 12% walk rate is only in the 13th percentile of all pitchers. While some regression was probably inevitable, it also remained to be seen how long Kopech would remain in the rotation, as it seemed likely the White Sox would limit his innings to some extent given Kopech’s lack of work in 2019-20, and his usage as a reliever in 2021.