clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

White Sox put Dallas Keuchel on 10-day IL

The move is retroactive to Sept. 7. Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez is recalled from the Schaumburg training facility.

The White Sox put pitcher Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day injured list.
The White Sox put pitcher Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day injured list.
Jim Mone/AP

White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel landed on the injured list with back spasms Thursday, a move that in the best-case scenario costs him only one start and allows him to face the defending American League Central champion Twins next week. The move is retroactive to Sept. 7, a day after Keuchel left his start against the Royals with a sore back.

In the worst-case scenario, Keuchel’s back problem lingers and limits his availability or effectiveness when he’s most needed, with the Sox (27-16) pursuing their first division title since 2008. The Sox open a three-game home series Friday against the Tigers, beginning a stretch of 17 games in the final 17 days.

In any scenario, the Sox are loving right-hander Dane Dunning, who, in a small sample size of four starts against the sub-.500 Tigers, Royals and Pirates, has looked good enough to be trusted in a postseason start. His stuff is that good and is commanded well.

Dunning pitched six-plus scoreless innings in the Sox’ 8-1 victory Wednesday against the Pirates, lowering his ERA to 2.70. General manager Rick Hahn did not make a deal at the trade deadline to bolster a rotation that lost Michael Kopech to opting out and Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez to injuries, so Dunning assumes the “title” of pennant-push addition.

“Absolutely,” said catcher James McCann, who guided Dunning through his latest strong start. “And he’s going to be an integral part of our rotation for the next month, and I would assume for the next several years. He’s proved that every time he takes the ball, he’s going to give us a chance. It’s been a lot of fun to watch him take the mound.”

That said, Dunning is pitching for the first time since having Tommy John surgery, and the Sox don’t want to ride him too hard.

“It’s kind of weird to say, but he’s kind of having his rehab outings now,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s throwing the ball very well. He’s a confident young man, very poised. He has been thrust into a pennant race and is doing a very nice job. He has stabilized us.”

Lopez was recalled from the Schaumburg training facility Thursday with the fingers-crossed hope of adding stability and could start Saturday. Lucas Giolito starts Friday, and ‘‘TBA’’ is listed for Saturday and Sunday. Options include a bullpen day or Dylan Cease pitching on regular rest Sunday, although the preference might be having Cease, Dunning, Giolito and Keuchel for the Twins next week.

So many question marks.

Such is the state of a rotation scrambling to keep it together through a pandemic and an assortment of aches and pains, albeit one owning a very nice 2.63 ERA in its last 38 starts.

Keuchel going on the IL could be an ominous sign, but it also might not be alarming. Renteria said Wednesday that his scheduled turn against the Tigers on Saturday would be skipped and Keuchel would aim to start in the Sox’ four-game home series against Minnesota.

While Giolito was the returning All-Star and Opening Day starter as well as the superb craftsman of a no-hitter against the Pirates, Keuchel, 32, has been the Sox’ most consistently excellent starter. The 2015 Cy Young winner is 6-2 with a 2.19 ERA in nine starts in his first season with the Sox after signing a three-year, $55.5 million deal in the offseason. Keuchel is second among AL pitchers in ERA and opponent slugging percentage (.279) and is third in opponent OPS (.542).

Renteria said Wednesday that Keuchel was “feeling better.”

Lopez felt better when he returned from the IL with a sore shoulder, but he’s 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in four starts. The Sox need so much more than that from him.

“The whole thought when we first sent him out [to Schaumburg] was that we wanted him to work on his rhythm and timing,” Renteria said Wednesday. “He’s continuing to improve. The reports have been good.”

We shall see.