White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease was put on the injured list Wednesday with coronavirus symptoms. It’s a precautionary move, and Cease hasn’t been ruled out from making his scheduled start Friday.
He has not tested positive, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“Other than having a couple of symptoms, there is no reason to believe it’s more than that,” Hahn said.
Cease is slated to pitch Friday against the Red Sox on the first day of a six-game road trip. With coronavirus symptoms, he is not required to stay on the IL for the usual 10 days.
Hahn declined to share contingency plans to fill Cease’s turn. Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodon are scheduled, in order, Saturday through Monday in Boston.
Right-handed reliever Zack Burdi was recalled from the Schaumburg training facility.
Cease, 25, is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA and nine strikeouts in two starts.
Burdi, 26, made eight relief appearances with the Sox in 2020 in his major-league debut.
La Russa OK with mound test
In an effort to increase offense and decrease strikeouts, MLB will experiment with an additional foot of distance between the mound and plate during Atlantic League games this season.
The pitching rubber will be moved back to 61 feet, 6 inches starting Aug. 3 during the second half of the independent minor league’s season.
“It’s a direct response to the escalating strikeout rate, where you’re giving the hitter approximately one one-hundredth of a second of additional time to decide whether to swing at a pitch, which has the effect, just in terms of reaction time, of reducing the effective velocity of a pitch by roughly 1.5 mph,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations.
Sox manager Tony La Russa said he doesn’t object to such experiments.
“A lot of discussion, creative thinking about making the game more entertaining,” La Russa said. “If you get creative and are trying it in the Atlantic League, it’s smart. Going back a foot, see how it plays out. I like that we’re being creative. If you look around the others sports, no one is staying exactly the same. You have to be willing to adjust, but you want to balance what you’re adjusting with the effect on the game.”
Outfielder Adam Engel won’t return till the next homestand, which begins next weekend, at the earliest. After he strained his hamstring during spring training, the projection for a return was mid-April, but a setback will prevent that, although Engel said he has had four or five straight “really good days” and is making “really good progress.”
Engel said he learned a tough lesson trying to push it, perhaps knowing the Sox’ outfield depth is an issue with slugger Eloy Jimenez also out.
“This is my first hamstring problem, so I’m kind of learning what I can and can’t do with it,” he said. “Definitely being much more cautious this time around.”
Tim returns Thursday
La Russa said shortstop Tim Anderson (hamstring strain) will come off the injured list to play in the series finale Thursday.
“He’ll be in the starting lineup tomorrow, and we will welcome him back with open arms,” La Russa said.