Lynn readying Sox for 2021 arguments: 'He wants the ball' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
One who's ready for a fight.
It's all a little tongue in cheek, of course, but in describing his initial interactions with the newly acquired veteran, new White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz told Our Chuck Garfien about the pair's upcoming arguments.
"He wants the ball, he’s already stated that to me," Katz said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. "When you have a guy who goes out there and performs and gets you deep into games and you have a great personality, it’s a win-win situation.
"(Lynn told Katz), 'We’ll probably get in some arguments about when to come out of the game. We’ll figure it out at the end, and I just want you to know that.’ And I said, ‘I want you to know, too, if there’s a game where we can protect you a bit, and you don’t go your eight innings, you go six innings, and we’re in a great spot — we only had a 60-game season last year, so I am thinking about your workload in the back end (of the season), not so much the front end. I just want to make you aware.’
"And we kind of laughed about it. And he was like, ‘I get it, but just understand in the moment, though, I might not like it.’ And I was like, ‘That’s OK.’"
This has been part of the early scouting report on Lynn, the dependable innings-eater who the White Sox acquired for that very reason, that he doesn't like coming out of the game.
And Katz loves it.
"Who doesn’t want a pitcher that wants to stay in the game? If he doesn’t want to stay in the game, I would question why he is even playing in the first place," Katz said. "So I love that mentality, I respect it. Ultimately, it’s going to be (Tony La Russa's) decision. But I want a strong Lance Lynn at the back end more so than Lance Lynn throwing complete games at the front end.
"Those games are very important, but the back-end games could be even bigger."
It will perhaps help that the man lifting him will be his former manager with the St. Louis Cardinals, La Russa. The pair won a World Series together during Lynn's rookie season in 2011.
But Lynn might not need to be unpleasantly yanked too often. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his two seasons with the Texas Rangers, establishing himself as one of the most reliable arms in the game. He faced more batters than any pitcher in the American League while logging a career-high 208.1 innings in 2019. He led baseball with 84 innings of work during the shortened 2020 campaign.
All that and more has earned him rave reviews from Katz's pitching-coach colleagues.
"People who I really, really trust were calling me and going out of their way to tell me how much they love Lance Lynn," Katz said. "So that’s awesome. When you get somebody who vouches for a guy like that, it makes it really exciting."
Certainly Lynn's arrival has boosted the potency of Katz's new pitching staff, a big step toward the White Sox building a championship-caliber rotation.
It's all reason to celebrate on the South Side. Just don't try to take the ball away from the new guy.
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