GLENDALE, Ariz. – Right-hander Lance Lynn will undergo knee surgery on Tuesday in Chicago to repair a slight tear in one of the tendons by his right knee, as announced by general manager Rick Hahn on Sunday.
The procedure will last somewhere around 30 minutes, and he won’t be throwing off a mound again for four weeks. There will be a process to build him back up after two weeks of recovery and two weeks of long toss, probably sidelining Lynn for close to two months.
“It’s actually very similar to what Yasmani Grandal endured last season,” said Hahn, as the White Sox 13-4 loss to the Rockies finished behind him. “Once he’s back [pushing] off the mound, we’ll have a better estimation.
“But in all probability, it’s going to take four weeks after that to get him back up to game readiness in Chicago. The good news is that, as it was with Yasmani last year, once this issue is resolved it should be behind us going forward.”
Lynn dealt with right knee inflammation during the 2021 season and spent Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 on the injured list.
This spring’s injury took place during an at-bat in the fourth inning vs. Arizona’s Corbin Carroll on Saturday in Scottsdale, as Lynn threw a pitch and appeared to be in pain as he hopped after the delivery before limping off the mound. He stopped near the dugout and talked with manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Ethan Katz and a member of the training staff before moving into the dugout.
Last year’s knee issues seem to be at the root of this year’s problem.
“He got treatment and it was addressed various ways, and again, there was no tear at the time, so a surgical procedure wasn’t called for until this happened,” said Hahn, addressing how last year’s knee issue was handled. “Can never unfortunately know for certain, but it seems like given the location and given the fact that ultimately this gave way, this should help resolve whatever was going on in that right knee.”
So where do the White Sox stand without Lynn and with Opening Day on Friday afternoon in Detroit?
It’s a near certainty Lucas Giolito will make his third straight Opening Day start, although La Russa chose to wait until Monday to make any official decision. Giolito was in the mix with Lynn and has been the ace of this talented staff, so he is absolutely deserving of such an honor.
Since 2019, Giolito ranks in the top five of 11 different categories involving American League starters, including fWAR (11.2) and ERA (3.47). He made his final Cactus League start on Sunday, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks.
Teams often give the Opening Day starter an extra day before taking the mound, but Giolito is ready to open the 2022 campaign on regular four days’ rest.
“That's what I prefer, is that normal rest,” Giolito said. “Having the extra day can be useful sometimes, and it's definitely there throughout the course of the season with off-days and things like that. It's good for managing, but I like that normal five-day schedule.
“I feel a lot better with my curveball now than I ever have before. I'm excited to use that more this year. As far as everything else and how the body is feeling and getting through five ups and getting the pitch count up around 85, it's pretty good.”
La Russa will speak more to the alignment Monday. But with reliever Garrett Crochet out for the season with a left UCL tear, Lynn’s absence delivers another hit to an area where the White Sox are lacking in overall depth.
“It always sucks, but that’s just how the game goes sometimes,” Giolito said. “The focus is on the here and now. We have a very good team. We have depth despite losing key players. So we just keep pushing forward and we know that we are really good with what we have.”
“We may need to add at some point,” Hahn said. “If this is the group we go with, then we should be able to cover the innings in a decent way, and if we don’t, we’ll adjust on the fly.”