Michael Kopech ready to return to White Sox’ rotation

SEATTLE — The White Sox likely will get a key piece of their starting rotation back for their series finale Wednesday against the Mariners. And now that right-hander Michael Kopech is ”rejuvenated” after a stint on the injured list with knee soreness, the hope is that he will be ready for the rest of the season.

Kopech’s return will come at a good time, with the Sox trailing the first-place Guardians by two games in the American League Central entering play Tuesday. Kopech said he expects to be reinstated from the IL and start Wednesday.

Kopech has been sidelined since he left his start Aug. 22 against the Royals in Kansas City with a strained left knee. He had been dealing with soreness in his right knee, too, but ”is feeling quite a bit better” and is ”ready to go.”

”Giving myself a chance to get rested and recovered,” Kopech said Tuesday. ”Hopefully I can come in this last month or so with a rejuvenated body and mind.”

Kopech (4-9, 3.58 ERA) has pitched a career high 110? innings, so the break for his arm and body came at a good time. He said that the knee felt good a few days after the injury and that he has ”really cleaned up some things mechanically.”

Kopech pitched a simulated game Friday and a bullpen session Sunday, shaking off some rust. His pitch count will be watched as he builds back up toward deeper starts.

”I’d imagine it would be shortened,” he said. ”I’m going to go out there and give it what I’ve got [Wednesday], and they’ll probably come get me when they feel it’s ready.”

Moncada returns to lineup

Third baseman Yoan Moncada, who came off the IL on Monday after dealing with a strained hamstring, returned to the lineup batting second and lined a single to center against right-hander Logan Gilbert in the first inning. Moncada has struggled, batting .197/.269/.313 with a .581 OPS and seven home runs in his first 80 games.

He started the season on the IL with a strained oblique and never has found a rhythm.

”Those are things that you can’t control,” he said of the injuries. ”You prepare and you try to do your best and try to stay on the field as much as you can, but injuries are there. Now I’m feeling good. I’m just trying to stay healthy and help the team as much as I can in this final stretch.”

Robert update

Outfielder Luis Robert insisted his wrist felt ”100%” when he returned to the lineup Monday, but acting manager Miguel Cairo exercised some caution, keeping him in the seventh spot for a second consecutive day.

”He told me that he was fine, so I’m going to listen to what he says,” Cairo said. ”We’re going to take it day by day. He says he wants to play, so I’m going to put him in to play. But I’m going to be smart, too. If he’s hurting or if he’s got something that he can take a day, we’re going to give him a day.”

It didn’t help that Robert was hit by a pitch on the left wrist in the second inning. Robert was checked by trainer James Kruk and stayed in the game.

”Of course, I want to contribute to what the team is doing here, and I know the way to contribute is being in the lineup,” Robert said. ”That’s what we want to do, to make the playoffs.”

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