White Sox ace Lucas Giolito nicks finger, Michael Kopech to start

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Vinnie Duber
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Kopech gets spot start after Giolito delayed by cut finger originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The sheepish look on Lucas Giolito's face said it all: This was nothing to worry about.

But when a staff ace gets scratched from a scheduled start about 15 or so hours before first pitch, some eyebrows are going to go up.

That's why Giolito got in the Zoom chair after Saturday night's White Sox walk-off winner, to explain why he wouldn't be pitching in Sunday's series finale against the Texas Rangers.

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It wasn't a spring training hot-tub slip or a back-wrenching sneeze, but Giolito had his own embarrassing injury to share.

"So I got pushed back a couple days because, unfortunately, I cut the top of my middle finger," he said. "I thought that a glass water bottle I had was twist-off, and it wasn't twist-off. And so I tried to do that (making the motion of twisting off a cap), and I got a little nick right there.

"So just to be cautious, we've been covering it. It's been healing very, very well. But the team, everybody, wanted me to go back a couple days just to make sure it heals perfectly well before I pitch.

"I threw a bullpen yesterday, it was great. And I've got another one tomorrow, and I'm sure it'll be fine. And then I'll be good to go Tuesday."

In the grand scheme of things, no big deal. But there is undoubtedly significant interest in what Giolito does next after he was uncharacteristically roughed up by the Boston Red Sox the last time he took the mound. Now it will be seven full days of rest between starts for the right-hander, thanks to this bottle-related mishap.

According to him, this injury, if we're even calling it that, has had no effect on his pitching as he's thrown bullpen sessions in between starts.

"I'm not feeling anything on that finger," he said. "I personally think it's in a spot where it's not even touching the baseball. But I'm not a wound expert. I'm going to listen to our training staff and all that. I'll be ready to go on Tuesday."

Tuesday is when the White Sox open up a three-game set with the division-rival Detroit Tigers. Before the White Sox get to that game, they'll close out this weekend series with the Rangers, pushing Michael Kopech into his second spot start in eight days.

Kopech, who's ticketed for the White Sox rotation someday, has been sensational out of the bullpen this season. Last Sunday, in the second game of a doubleheader in Boston, he finally got to start a game for the first time since going down with the arm injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery back in 2018.

He was excellent then, too, allowing just a run in three innings. He set down the first nine hitters he faced in order before allowing a hit and a walk to start the fourth and making his exit.

Now he'll get to make a start in front of the South Side fans, giving them a glimpse of a future where he starts every fifth day. That future could come by the end of this season, or maybe it'll wait till next year. But it promises to be exciting, regardless.

For the time being, the White Sox have seemed to settle on Kopech as rotation depth, even if he's only going to pitch a few innings at a time, a great luxury to have considering how effective he's been out of the bullpen.

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