DETROIT — The chances of Michael Kopech pitching again this season are slim.
First, the White Sox would have to be in contention in the final four days of the season, when his IL term for shoulder inflammation runs out. Second, he would have to feel well enough to pitch, but considering Kopech has been dealing with “general soreness” through the season, as he shared Sunday, there seems to be little reason to push it.
“It just didn’t feel right,” Kopech said. “It’s hard to push through something if you don’t know and you know it’s not feeling right. I’m probably glad I’m taking the time.”
Kopech said if pitching again wouldn’t risk long-term damage, “I’m going to come back and give the team what I got here at the end.”
That sounds more like the voice of a team guy than a voice of reason.
“I’ve had a heavier workload this year,” said Kopech, who pitched a career high 119 1/3 innings while posting a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts. “I’ve been kind of working through a little bit of, just general soreness over the course of the season. It’s been taking me a little bit longer to get loose and what have you.
“Threw that bullpen in Cleveland [Thursday] and just felt like I never could get loose. For precautionary reasons, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t doing anything to cause potential damage. So the team had me shut down for a little while.”
Joe Kelly on leave
Right-hander Joe Kelly went on the Family Medical Leave List and will be away for a minimum of three days, meaning he can return for the second game of the three-game series against the Guardians Wednesday. Left-hander Tanner Banks was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
Kelly owns a 6.42 ERA but is on a streak of five scoreless appearances. Acting manager Miguel Cairo said he didn’t know how long Kelly would be away.
Banks is 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 32 relief appearances with the Sox and a 2.65 ERA in nine appearances at Charlotte.
Home runs in small bunches
Not since Ivan Calderon led with 14 in 1989 and Carlton Fisk with 18 in 1990 has a Sox home run leader had fewer than George Bell’s 25 in 1992, with the exception of Jose Abreu’s 19 during his MVP, Covid-shortened season in 2020.
The Sox still stand a chance of having a leader with fewer than 20. Here is their bunched up leaderboard: Andrew Vaughn 17, Jose Abreu 15, Eloy Jimenez 14, Elvis Andrus 14 (six with Sox),Gavin Sheets 13, AJ Pollock 12, Luis Robert 12, Yoan Moncada 10.
The Sox rank 22nd in the majors with 136 home runs but have 31 in their last 19 games, including Vaughn’s grand slam Sunday.
After playing a full game Saturday, center fielder Luis Robert rested his sore wrist, giving him two days off with Monday’s off day. When Robert started back to back days last Tuesday and Wednesday, he needed two days to recover for another start.
“Hopefully with two more days he’s fine and can go [Tuesday], Wednesday and Thursday [and] for the rest of the season,” Cairo said. “That’s what we’re hoping.”