Takeaways: Lynn (knee) exits; Pollock talks trade

April 3rd, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s Cactus League action for the White Sox.

Lynn leaves exits early
Lance Lynn left Saturday’s start against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Field with right knee discomfort. The right-handed hurler will be further evaluated Sunday.

The injury took place during a fourth inning at-bat with Corbin Carroll at the plate. Lynn threw a pitch and appeared to be in pain as he sort of jumped after the delivery before limping off the mound. He stopped near the dugout, talking with manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Ethan Katz and a member of the training staff, before moving into the dugout.

Lynn was on the injured list with right knee inflammation at the end of August last season, missing time from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11. The ’21 All-Star was one of the prime candidates to start Opening Day in Detroit on Aug. 8, with Lucas Giolito also an option for his third straight Opening Day start.

Vince Velasquez and Reynaldo López have been stretched out this Spring Training and could move into the rotation if the knee issue presents any sort of ongoing problem for the 34-year-old. As of now, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Dallas Keuchel figure to join Lynn and Giolito in the rotation.

Over 3 1/3 innings and 79 pitches on Saturday, Lynn allowed seven runs (four earned) on seven hits. He struck out five.

Pollock likes his new venue
AJ Pollock was sitting at home with his wife, Kate, during a Friday off-day when Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called the outfielder.

“I was like, ‘I’m gone. Please be somewhere cool,’” said Pollock with a wry smile of his immediate message to his wife. “And [Friedman] said White Sox and I was like, ‘Chicago, that’s a good squad, I’m ready to go.’

“Trades are a part of the business. I look at where I could have been. These guys just kicked our butt a couple days ago and I saw that lineup. It’s a cool team to be a part of and we’re excited.”

Pollock came to the White Sox with $10 million owed in ’22 and a $10 million player option for ’23 with a $5 million buyout. The White Sox sent reliever Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers after they had picked up his $16 million option for ’22 early in the offseason.

Although he has only played six games during his career in right field, Pollock started there Saturday and finished with a run scored while hitting second. La Russa, who knows Pollock from their D-backs days, had no doubt about Pollock in right, and the veteran felt the same.

“You just get a couple BPs, take a couple fly balls out there, similar concepts, just going the other way,” Pollock explained. “Like Tony said, I’m not too worried. No big deal.

“For me every day is a new day. I don’t try to look too far in the future. Right now, it’s Spring Training, try to go out there and do everything I can today, and the numbers take care of themselves throughout the year.”

Along with the move from the Dodgers to the White Sox, the Pollocks are expecting their second child soon.

“That was the one thing that was a little stressful,” Pollock said. “We have a baby coming in 10 days.

“Our first daughter was born at 24 weeks old so there is a little stress going into the pregnancy, but I talked to Tony [and he was] super supportive. I know he’s a big family guy. So early on in the season, we’ll enjoy that and get back at it.”

Eloy’s outfield barometer
Left fielder Eloy Jiménez wants to serve as the White Sox designated hitter as little as possible. He’s made that point very clear. La Russa laid out a plan for him to achieve that goal with a slightly sarcastic tinge.

“I made a promise to Eloy if he hits .300, he can play left field a lot,” La Russa said. “If he hits under .300, he may be DHing and if he hits near .200, he’ll be sitting next to me. He’s smiling like I was kidding.

“He likes to play, he hits better when he plays left field. I said, “OK, hit better because you have DH'd a few times and you’ve done good, too. I need to keep you healthy.’”

Honoring Roland Hemond
Prior to Saturday’s contest at Salt River Fields, the White Sox and Diamondbacks honored Roland Hemond in a special tribute ceremony. Hemond, one of the most well-respected and gracious men in all of baseball and an individual who played an integral part in both organizations, died on Dec. 12, at the age of 92.

“Well deserved,” said La Russa, who spoke at the ceremony. “It will be a special night.”