The White Sox announced Wednesday that they’ve reinstated righty Lucas Giolito from the Covid-related injured list and opened a spot on the 40-man by transferring righty Lance Lynn to the 60-day injured list. It’s a procedural move that doesn’t impact Lynn’s timetable; he’s eligible to be activated on June 6, as the “60-day” minimum window is retroactive to his original IL placement — not today’s transfer.
Giolito was placed on the Covid list just last week but will return in a matter of days. The brief stint on the IL pushed back his start by a few days, as he’ll be taking the hill for the first time since May 10 when he does so in a few hours against the Royals. Giolito also missed 12 days earlier this season due to an abdominal strain, but he’s been characteristically excellent when on the active roster. In five starts (26 2/3 innings), he’s pitched to a 2.70 ERA with a 35.2% strikeout rate and an 8.6% walk rate. Dating back to his 2019 breakout campaign, Giolito has been Chicago’s most consistent starter, turning in 454 1/3 frames of 3.43 ERA ball and thrice receiving down-ballot Cy Young votes.
Lynn, 35, left his final Spring Training start with knee discomfort, and subsequent evaluations revealed a torn tendon that required surgical repair. He’s yet to embark on a minor league rehab assignment and isn’t even slated to face live hitters for the first time until Friday, so he wasn’t likely to return prior to June 6 anyhow. Assuming all goes well with his live batting practice session and his handful of minor league rehab outings, an early or mid-June return seems realistic.
The Sox inked Lynn to a two-year, $38MM extension with a third-year club option last July. He’d been set to reach the open market following the 2021 campaign and likely would’ve been positioned as one of the market’s top veteran arms, but he opted for the security of a new multi-year deal with a win-now club that’s just a few hours from his hometown in Indiana. Over the past three seasons, Lynn carries a 3.26 ERA with a 27.5% strikeout rate and a 6.9% walk rate in 449 1/3 frames.
With Giolito now back and Lynn perhaps not terribly far behind, the White Sox’ rotation is approaching full strength for the first time this season. They’ll have some decisions to make, barring further injuries, as Giolito and Lynn will join a starting mix that also includes Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Dallas Keuchel, Vince Velasquez and Johnny Cueto, who blanked Kansas City over seven frames in an outstanding ChiSox debut this week. Of that group, Keuchel and Velasquez have struggled considerably, though Keuchel’s $18MM salary may earn him some additional leash. Kopech, meanwhile, could have his innings carefully monitored as he embarks on his first full season as a big league starter.