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Michael Kopech placed on 15-day injured list with knee strain

by Joe Binder

Prior to tonight’s series opener at Baltimore, the Chicago White Sox placed right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech on the 15-day injured list with a left knee strain. Left-hander Tanner Banks was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte as the corresponding move.

Kopech was in visible discomfort during warmups before yesterday’s game, enough so to force out manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Ethan Katz, and a trainer before he even made his first pitch. He was somehow still allowed to start and faced just four batters, walking two of them and hitting another. His average fastball velocity checked in at 91.7 mph during the abbreviated outing, an alarmingly low number given his season norm usually touches the mid-to-upper 90s.

After loading the bases on 19 pitches, nine of which were strikes, a clearly frustrated Kopech was yanked for reliever Jimmy Lambert. The bullpen arm didn’t do the injured starter any favors, sticking him with a line of one hit, two walks, and four earned runs.

Kopech has been dealing with a knee injury for some time this season. Back on June 12, he exited a game with inflammation in the same knee and described feeling a “pop.” An MRI later confirmed that he had a fluid buildup in that knee, but that there was no structural issue to be concerned about. He would immediately return to the rotation after getting his knee drained, effectively avoiding the injured list.

Kopech, 26, is 4-9 with a 3.58 ERA (44 ER/110.2 IP) and 98 strikeouts over 23 starts this season. Most notably, he’s cleared the 100-inning mark for the first time since 2018, when he threw 126.1 innings at the Triple-A level.

Banks is 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA (15 ER/42.2 IP), one hold, and 36 strikeouts in 29 relief appearances with the White Sox this season. He has held the opposition scoreless in 14 of his last 17 appearances since June 2. Banks is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA (4 ER/9.1 IP) in five games (two starts) with Charlotte in 2022.

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Featured Photo: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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