White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey felt something funny near his groin after throwing a pitch in the fourth inning Saturday.
The sensation wasn’t painful, but it was nagging. By the fifth, Covey realized the problem wasn’t going away.
‘‘I was bracing every pitch for something,’’ said Covey, who walked a batter in the fifth and reached a 2-1 count on the next batter before walking off the mound with trainer Herm Schneider. ‘‘It was affecting the quality of my pitches.’’
Now the Sox must brace to find out whether Covey will miss time because of the injury.
More disappointment followed Covey’s early departure. The Sox squandered a five-run lead and lost 7-6 to the Athletics. It was their ninth loss in their last 10 games, and they fell to 7-16 in one-run games.
The team’s medical staff will re-evaluate Covey on Sunday to determine his status going forward. He has been a bright spot for the Sox’ rotation this season, going 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA in eight starts.
Manager Rick Renteria said there was no debate about pulling Covey and replacing him with right-hander Chris Volstad.
‘‘Anytime you lose your starter in any situation, in particular for an injury, you feel it,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘But everybody’s got to pick up the slack. I thought, in essence, that they did. Gave up a run here or there, but we were still in the ballgame. I thought everybody did what they needed to do to minimize damage from that point on.’’
A routine fly ball to right field spoiled the day for the Sox.
The score was tied at 6 in the eighth when the A’s Stephen Piscotty hit a high fly toward right fielder Avisail Garcia. But Garcia lost the ball in the sun, and it landed several feet away as Piscotty easily reached second.
One batter later, pinch hitter Nick Martini drove a pitch from Juan Minaya up the middle for his first major-league hit. Piscotty scored from second as teammates cheered for Martini, who grew up in suburban Crystal Lake.
Renteria has harped on the importance of focus this season, but he said Garcia fell victim to something he couldn’t control.
‘‘He just lost it,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He didn’t see it. Everybody was trying to communicate and point it out. Once he recognized where he was at, he kind of spun out a little bit and wasn’t able to recover. He just lost it in the sky.
‘‘You can’t do anything about that. That’s just baseball. It happens.’’
The loss spoiled a good day at the plate for shortstop Tim Anderson, who celebrated his 25th birthday with a three-run home run to right in the first. Anderson has homered in back-to-back games and has 13 this season.
Anderson said he took pride in going deep to the opposite field, even if a steady breeze helped the ball clear the fence.
‘‘It was a birthday gift to myself, I guess,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘It was a good pitch, though. I was able to handle it and drive it out of the park. I’ve just got to keep working.’’
Covey, meanwhile, said he hopes to heal fast.
‘‘I don’t know if any of you saw my warmups in the fifth, but they were, like, all in the dirt,’’ Covey said. ‘‘I was bracing for the feeling. It was just me overcompensating and trying not to have it be more serious. It was a good decision to take me out of there.’’