CLEVELAND — Michael Kopech has excelled as a reliever and as a spot starter for the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander will miss some time after being placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with a strained left hamstring. The move is retroactive to Friday.
Kopech suffered the injury during Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He fell after delivering a pitch in the seventh inning and limped off the field as third baseman Yoán Moncada caught a pop-up for the final out.
Kopech likely would have been in line to start one of Monday’s doubleheader games against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. The Sox turned to Jimmy Lambert, who was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to serve as the 27th player for the doubleheader and start Game 2.
Kopech is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA, two holds, 45 strikeouts and a .180 opponents average in 14 games (three starts) this season. He was on the bereavement list from Thursday through Sunday.
Kopech, 25, missed all of 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and opted out of 2020 for personal reasons.
The Sox intend to have Kopech in the rotation in the future. But this season, after the lengthy time away, the plan has been to use him as a reliever with an occasional start.
He’s 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 11 relief appearances. He has pitched at least two innings in six of the 11 relief outings. Kopech is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 19 strikeouts in the three starts.
Sox manager Tony La Russa listed José Ruiz, who has a 3.54 ERA in 19 relief appearances, among the possible late-inning options while Kopech is unavailable.
“The way it’s turned out, the experience they’ve had (in the bullpen), I don’t hesitate. It’s just who’s available that day,” La Russa said before Monday’s doubleheader. “José Ruiz has done really well. I don’t know anybody that (I) would hesitate to put in a one-run game with the lead in the last third. It really comes down to availability.”