Lance Lynn of the White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Chicago. (AP)
The worst thing about all of this, Lance Lynn said, is not being able to compete.
Sitting on the sidelines, recovering from knee surgery, unable to contribute.
The end, though, is drawing nearer. The 35-year-old horse of the White Sox pitching staff leaves for Charlotte soon to begin a rehab stint, his final step before rejoining the team. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list June 4, but will need at least three starts, which takes him to at least June 12 for his first start with the Sox.
“The process of being injured and getting back is probably the worst process there is for athletes,” Lynn said. “You miss competing. You miss being part of the team. You miss trying to help your team win. But as long as you get yourself back ready to go and you are 100 percent when you get back, then you did your job.”
Lynn will start with three innings and about 45 pitches and progress from there.
“It’s all about how you can recover,” Lynn said. “Some days you are going to feel worse than others. It’s how you get through it and how you respond. The more I get on the mound, the better I feel, the more comfortable I feel.
“Games [are] the next step of intensity. I’m sure I’ll have some soreness you gotta get through and that’s what the rehab process is all about so you feel comfortable when it’s time to be back here.”
Lynn won’t be rushed, manager Tony La Russa said. It’s not unlike a buildup in spring training, where “you feel good and there’s one day after the third or fourth start that your arm hangs a little bit,” La Russa said. “Hopefully we can use the patience that we want to use to get him back and keep him.”
Lynn was 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 28 starts last season. He is fifth among major league pitchers with 449 1⁄3 innings from 2019-21.
Eloy Jimenez, who had surgery April 26 to repair a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee, will also be with Charlotte this weekend to begin his rehab stint. Jimenez played in 10 games on his rehabilitation assignment last July for a torn pectoral muscle suffered during spring training.
“Don’t ask Eloy [how many games he’ll need],” La Russa said. “Let’s see.”
La Russa said Jimenez will play left field and DH when he returns to the Sox.
After the Red Sox blitzed him for seven runs in three innings in a 16-3 win Tuesday, Dylan Cease speculated he might have been tipping pitches. But upon review, La Russa said that wasn’t the case.
“Didn’t see it,” La Russa said.
“That wasn’t the reason.”
Quality of pitches and command were the culprits for Cease, whose ERA climbed to 4.24.
“And they’re hot,” La Russa said of the Red Sox. “They’re seeing the ball.”
This and that
The Sox launched an ad campaign Tuesday centered on Tim Anderson, on seven billboards from Bucktown to the ballpark as well as at multiple digital panels across all L lines. Two of the signs say “Change the Game” and “Baseball needs more Tim Andersons.”
*Johnny Cueto and Dylan Cease are the scheduled starters Saturday and Sunday for the Cubs series.
*Saturday night’s game will air on FOX as part of it’s “Baseball Night in America” package. Len Kasper and A.J. Pierzynski will call the game.