Injury Notes: Kopech, Pasquantino, Ashcraft, Tigers

The White Sox placed starter Michael Kopech on the 15-day injured list this afternoon due to a left knee strain. The righty seemed to suffer the injury during warm-ups before yesterday’s start against the Royals, and his velocity was well down during the outing. Kopech didn’t record an out, allowing two hits, a walk and a hit batsman before being taken out of an eventual 6-4 loss. Alarming as that showing was, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times relays that the club expects Kopech to return when first eligible two weeks from now (Twitter link).

Even a minimal IL isn’t ideal for a Chicago team that entered play Tuesday three games back of the Guardians in the AL Central. Kopech has been one of the club’s more effective pitchers, carrying a 3.58 ERA through 110 2/3 innings (and a 3.25 mark if one throws out yesterday’s performance as an injury anomaly). Kopech’s strikeout and walk numbers haven’t been as impressive, however, and there are lingering questions about precisely how many innings the 26-year-old may be equipped to throw this year. He worked primarily in relief last season and tallied 69 1/3 frames during his first season back after missing all of 2019-20. He’s already eclipsed that mark by over 40 innings this year.

Catching up on some other injury situations around the game:

  • The Royals placed rookie designated hitter/first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino on the 10-day injured list due to right shoulder discomfort this afternoon. Like Kopech, the 24-year-old was injured in yesterday’s contest between Chicago and Kansas City. After a breakout 2021 season in the minors, Pasquantino emerged as one of the game’s top offensive prospects heading into this year. He mashed in Triple-A and has hit the ground running as a big leaguer, carrying a .263/.350/.434 showing with eight home runs and an excellent combination of walks (11%) and strikeouts (13.5%) through his first 200 MLB plate appearances. The left-handed hitter looks like a key long-term piece for a Kansas City team with its attention firmly turned towards 2023. Fellow top prospect Nick Pratto should pick up the first base playing time in Pasquantino’s absence, while Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier may get the majority of the DH at-bats. Kansas City didn’t specify a timetable on Pasquantino’s return.
  • Reds starter Graham Ashcraft landed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to August 20, with biceps soreness. The rookie right-hander is headed for an MRI, but skipper David Bell indicated the club was optimistic about his ability to return before the end of the season (via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The 24-year-old made his big league debut debut in May and has joined Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene as rookie rotation cogs for the Reds. Through 16 starts, the hard-throwing hurler owns a 3.97 ERA on the strength of an excellent 54.8% ground-ball rate. Ashcraft looks to have made a strong case for a rotation role next season, generally outperforming both Lodolo and Greene — each of whom has been more highly-regarded by most prospect evaluators.
  • The Tigers placed second baseman Jonathan Schoop on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 21, with a sprained right ankle. It’s the first IL stint in two years for the veteran infielder, who has played in just under 95% of Detroit’s games since the start of 2021. Schoop posted above-average numbers last year to earn a contract extension in August, but he’s had a dreadful showing offensively this season. Over 447 plate appearances, he’s hitting only .202/.235/.318 with nine home runs. Defensive metrics have been enamored with his glovework at the keystone, but no other qualified hitter is within 19 points of Schoop’s league-worst on-base percentage. He’s likely to exercise a $7.5MM player option this winter to return to the club for 2023.
  • Sticking with the Tigers, manager A.J. Hinch cast doubt on the possibility of seeing catcher Jake Rogers this season (via Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic). Rogers underwent Tommy John surgery last September, and he’s spent the entire year on the 60-day injured list while rehabbing. It’s almost been a calendar year since that operation. The 27-year-old Rogers hit .182/.264/.378 in 255 plate appearances between 2019-21.

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