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Zero Days Without Incident

Yet another injury occurs — a key one, to rotation essential Michael Kopech — as management turns the other cheek

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals
Someone needs to shout at White Sox brass, Might as well be Michael Kopech, before they kill him.
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

During warmups in the bullpen before Monday’s makeup game in Kansas City, Michael Kopech felt knee soreness. Or, according to Tony La Russa, hamstring soreness. Without enough time for Dylan Cease to warm up, Davis Martin pitching in Charlotte, and seven straight games before the next day off, Kopech went out anyway.

After grimacing in pain through 19 pitches, no lack of command, an 88-mph fastball, one run in, and the bases loaded — Kopech finally left the game. The White Sox gave up four runs in the first inning after Jimmy Lambert came in as a replacement, all charged to Kopech. The White Sox did come back and eventually tie the game, but still lost, 6-4.

When asked about Kopech, this was all La Russa said:

“He threw some balls to make sure and said, ‘No pain, no pain,’ so if you’re feeling no pain and it doesn’t affect your arm, see what you got,” La Russa said. “But you could see his velocity was down.”

What else did La Russa have to say about the game?

Oh, good. We’re lousy. Yes, the pitcher that could’ve been skipped today so Dylan Cease could pitch today and pass on an extra day of rest to the entire rotation went out, was injured, and tried to pitch through it. As mentioned above, his velocity was down, his command was gone, and he was painfully pitching through a jam. The pitcher was never properly stretched out for this season. The organization — throwing Kopech out on regular rest despite hurtling toward any reasonable innings limit he should be under in 2022 — never had a plan for him other than, “let’s just throw him out there and see if this injury-prone guy can pitch a whole season.”

Naturally, Kopech felt guilty.

Back in June, Kopech left the game after feeling a “pop” in his right knee. An MRI later showed that it was fluid buildup, and no structural damage was found. The knee discomfort from today is from the same knee that had issues in June. He will be further evaluated.

In an article from just last night, I mentioned Yasmani Grandal’s injury after a stupid send by third-base coach Joe McEwing. From an outsider’s perspective, maybe the White Sox are just unlucky with all of these injuries. Or, perhaps it’s a curse.

At the start of the season, hamstrings were all the rage, yet again. Everyone questioned if players were even stretching. I offered to teach a yoga class. But injuries continued to pile up, with no real solutions and lackluster trade deadline moves. Players somehow avoided IL stints, but updates were rarely given. “He’s day-to-day,” has been heard numerous times, but when players like Luis Robert or Joe Kelly left with lightheadedness, concrete answers were never given by the front office. La Russa even threw Leury García out to bat injured because the White Sox couldn’t be bothered to place him on the injured list and call someone up from Charlotte.

The White Sox front office, managers, and trainers are treating the IL like you have to pay to put a player on it. And they seem to have a devil-may-care attitude about sending injured players out to play through games they have no business being in. And what happens? It worsens or aggravates old injuries.

It could also destroy careers.

By the end of the season, how many players will have career-ending injuries, or at the very least, return to nowhere near their best selves because of careless trainers and coaches within the organization? And will the organization care?