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White Sox rotation takes hit with Banuelos injury

Lefty dealing with shoulder strain, allows five runs in loss to Tribe
@scottmerkin
May 14, 2019

CHICAGO -- With the White Sox in a stretch of 33 games played in 33 days and 15 games in 14 days since May 1, Rick Renteria’s first directive to his team following Tuesday’s 9-0 loss to the Indians was to enjoy the free evening followed by a rare Wednesday

CHICAGO -- With the White Sox in a stretch of 33 games played in 33 days and 15 games in 14 days since May 1, Rick Renteria’s first directive to his team following Tuesday’s 9-0 loss to the Indians was to enjoy the free evening followed by a rare Wednesday off-day.

Meanwhile, the White Sox front office, Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper have more pitching issues to iron out after their starting rotation took another direct hit. Manny Banuelos departed in the fifth inning after throwing a first-pitch ball to Leonys Martin. The injury was first announced as soreness in his left shoulder, but it was later diagnosed as a left shoulder strain.

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The left-hander had moved from long relief when the White Sox designated veteran right-hander Ervin Santana for assignment after just three starts. Banuelos joins Carlos Rodon, who will have Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles, and Michael Kopech, who is on the recovery trail from Tommy John surgery last September, as members of the rotation who have moved to the sideline.

Banuelos will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, with more information coming Thursday when the White Sox return to action.

“That's part of the game. Every team goes through it,” said White Sox catcher James McCann of the starting staff's injuries. “You look at teams that stay healthy, a lot of times they're playoff teams.

“They can count on five, six guys throughout the course of a season. But that's just -- I don't want to say luck -- it's just part of the game, people going down with injuries.”

Cleveland touched up Banuelos for five runs on three home runs over four-plus innings, as the White Sox three-game winning streak came to an end. He grimaced after throwing that pitch to Martin and was then removed from the game by Renteria after 73 pitches. Banuelos was replaced by Josh Osich, who had just started throwing in the bullpen.

Renteria checked on Banuelos from the dugout during the previous plate appearance, a walk to Roberto Perez.

“He was just moving it, shaking his arm around a lot,” Renteria said. “I thought that something didn't seem right, so it doesn't hurt us to take the trainer out there to see if there's anything going on. He said he felt something, just some soreness there.”

“The crispness of stuff wasn't quite the same,” McCann said. “And then just seeing his reaction, I knew something was off. You hope for the best. I don't know what the word is, but you hope for the best.”

Dylan Covey, throwing in Thursday’s series opener against the Blue Jays, already has replaced the injured Rodon. Dylan Cease, the No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline, would be the next logical choice from Triple-A Charlotte if Banuelos misses more than a start or two, but general manager Rick Hahn has stressed countless times none of the team’s prospects will be rushed in promotion due to what’s happening at the big league level.

Hahn has followed that plan without falter since the rebuild began. There doesn’t seem to be a candidate from Charlotte otherwise. Kyle Kubat, who recently was promoted to Double-A Birmingham and has a 0.43 ERA in three starts, could be a considered, as could Jimmy Lambert and Bernardo Flores with the Barons, although none of the three are on the 40-man roster. But the White Sox will be able to formulate a better plan once they have more information on Banuelos.

“There's nothing to point a finger at, no excuses to be made,” Renteria said. “It is what it is and we'll do the best we can as we continue to move forward and try to find the pieces that continue to help us build and get better.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.