ARLINGTON -- White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez wanted to pitch through the soreness felt near his right rib cage during the fifth inning of a 9-8 loss to the Rangers on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.The 23-year-old already was working with the soreness, having felt something when he woke
ARLINGTON -- White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez wanted to pitch through the soreness felt near his right rib cage during the fifth inning of a 9-8 loss to the Rangers on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.
The 23-year-old already was working with the soreness, having felt something when he woke up earlier in the day. So with two runners on and one out, White Sox manager Rick Renteria and head athletic trainer Herm Schneider left the mound after checking on Lopez and went back toward the visitors' dugout.
At that point, Jose Abreu stepped in via his important leadership role on this young team.
"When Ricky left, Abreu asked me, 'Are you sure everything is good for you?'" said Lopez through interpreter Billy Russo. "Then I told him that my right side was kind of sore. That was the moment when he called Ricky again."
Lopez was 100 percent honest with Renteria when he came to the mound that first time. Renteria asked Lopez about his shoulder and his arm, and Lopez responded neither one was an issue.
But Renteria and his coaches noticed something off about the way Lopez was throwing in the fifth. Abreu noticed the same, leading to the return trip by Renteria to remove Lopez.
"First and foremost, we have to highlight he wanted to pitch through the pain," said Abreu through Russo. "But when Ricky left, I asked him, 'Hey, are you sure you're feeling good?'
"With that kind of talent, you can't mess around. You have to take care of these kids, especially if you are thinking of the future. He told me his right side was sore, and then at that moment, I decided to call Ricky back to let him know."
Chris Beck replaced Lopez, but Beck didn't last long. He was hit in the right side of the back by an Adrian Beltre line drive that went for a run-scoring fielder's choice. After Nomar Mazara connected for a three-run homer, Renteria and team physical therapist Brett Walker checked on Beck, and he was replaced by Mike Pelfrey. Beck is listed as day to day.
In his second start since being promoted from Triple-A Charlotte, Lopez allowed five earned runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four, relying more on his changeup, a plan by design against the aggressive Rangers' offense and not due to his right side soreness.
Lopez's next start would come Tuesday against the Twins, but before that trip to the mound can be even thought about, he will be re-evaluated Friday. Lopez felt as if he would make his next start, and thanks to Abreu's guidance, soreness didn't become something worse.
"Abreu said 'You are young enough, you are going to have a lot more opportunities,'" Lopez said. "This is not a time to mess around with it. Take the rest and get ready for the next start."
"He started talking about don't be a hero," said Renteria of Abreu's message. "Right now, [Lopez] is day to day. I wouldn't speculate on him missing anything. Right now, we'll see how he is [Friday]. Hopefully he's good, still on track."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.