Cease to undergo MRI on injured left hamstring

White Sox right-hander scratched minutes before Thursday's game

September 27th, 2019

CHICAGO -- was four pitches away from completing his warmup prior to his scheduled start for Thursday’s game -- which turned out to be an 8-0 White Sox victory over the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field -- when he felt his left hamstring “seize up” on a pitch.

The 23-year-old White Sox right-hander gave the problem a minute to see if it was a one-time thing, before he tried to throw again and was then scratched from the final outing of his rookie season.

“I could tell something was up,” Cease said.

“Didn’t expect it. It literally was five minutes before the game,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “The phone rings in the dugout and [pitching coach Don Cooper] says, ‘He can’t go, and who do you want?’ So, it’s kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision.”

Cease will undergo a precautionary MRI on Friday, but he doesn’t think the injury is severe. Right-hander José Ruiz started in his place, leading a group of five White Sox relievers who shut out the Indians and allowed only four hits. That group included lefty Héctor Santiago, who threw 100 pitches on Tuesday.

After Thursday's injury, Cease finishes his debut campaign at 4-7 with a 5.79 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 15 home runs allowed and 35 walks over 73 innings in 14 starts. The numbers might not be overwhelming, but Cease was pleased with what he learned in Year 1.

“This was a really good season for me,” Cease said. “I didn't necessarily perform how I would have liked to, but I learned a lot from it. So, I feel excited for next year.

“One of them was more a physical adjustment with my front side. But a lot of it was just continuing to battle when you don't necessarily feel good and continuing to prepare and treat every start like you're supposed to. It’s disappointing, but it is what it is. I feel good. I feel like I ended pretty strong. I feel excited.”