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Giolito shut down for season with lat strain

@scottmerkin
September 16, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Lucas Giolito was diagnosed Monday with a mild lat strain and the right-handed hurler was shut down by the White Sox for the final two weeks of the 2019 season. Giolito felt the issue when he was warming up for his side session on Sunday in Seattle. He

MINNEAPOLIS -- Lucas Giolito was diagnosed Monday with a mild lat strain and the right-handed hurler was shut down by the White Sox for the final two weeks of the 2019 season.

Giolito felt the issue when he was warming up for his side session on Sunday in Seattle. He scrapped that side session and had an MRI done Monday, which showed the mild strain.

“I thought it was a cramp in my triceps. So, I was like, ‘I don’t need to throw a side. I’m good,’” Giolito said. “Then the MRI showed it was like a very, very mild lat strain. So, they decided to shut me down.

“For me, it just sucks because I wanted to finish what I started. But at the same time, it is what it is. It just was kind of a random thing that happened. That’s it.”

What Giolito started is one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in White Sox history.

Giolito’s debut season with the team in 2018 featured a 6.13 ERA over 32 starts to go with an American League worst 90 walks. But the right-hander adjusted his mechanics during the offseason and (of even greater impact) he adjusted his thought process and preparatory schedule in between each start. He had a specific focus on every day.

In Spring Training, Giolito declared this season would be different and then went out and proved it over 29 starts and 176 2/3 innings. Giolito finished at 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA and struck out 228 while walking 57. In his last start Thursday against the Royals, Giolito fanned eight straight (12 total) to set a single-game franchise mark.

“It was good. A step in the right direction,” Giolito said. “Considering my body of work before this year, I knew probably a lot of people counted me out. I knew the adjustments I made and all of the stuff I’ve been talking to you guys all year, I knew it was going to pay off for me. It did for the most part.”

“He created a great foundation for himself going forward to be a very important part on a good team,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, who announced the Giolito news following a 5-3 loss to the Twins at Target Field. “Disappointed that his season is ending this way, but given that it’s a temporary thing, certainly excited about the big picture and the totality of his work in 2019.”

Hahn stressed there was no concern over the injury beyond giving Giolito rest and treatment over the season’s final 12 games.

“No, nothing,” Hahn said. “It’s very clear it’s a mild lat strain and [there are] zero long-term concerns.”

This concern is so small that if the White Sox were in the playoff hunt, Giolito would have fought to keep pitching.

“I’d be arguing as much as I could to go out there and pitch. Compete,” Giolito said. “I feel like with how I felt yesterday, I probably would have been able to get through it but just understanding the situation, it’s probably for the best to shut it down.

“Now, for me personally, the focus is on to next year. I know I’m going to improve and get better than I was this year. There’s still areas that need to be fine-tuned and just continue to get stronger.”

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