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White Sox tab Lucas Giolito as Opening Day starter

Mar 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito was named the Opening Day starter for Friday afternoon’s game against the host Detroit Tigers.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa chose Giolito as the starter on Monday, one day after right-hander Lance Lynn was ruled out with a right knee injury. Lynn could miss approximately two months.

It marks the third straight Opening Day start for the 27-year-old Giolito, who went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 31 starts last season.

“I’ve made a good amount of starts in this league now,” Giolito told reporters. “Opening Day is always special. I’ll never, ever take that for granted. But I put a lot of work in this offseason, spring training. It’s hopefully one of 35-plus starts this year. Just go out and do my best, kick it off the right way.”

Giolito, a 2019 All-Star, noted that this assignment was coming “under tough circumstances with Lance.”

La Russa knows this too, as the tough decision was much easier when reduced to one candidate.

“It’s really been impressive,” La Russa said of Giolito. “He came in ready to pitch. So, that’s kind of what you look for at the top of the rotation. Lance did the same thing. Taking responsibility, they are accountable, classic stuff. Very fortunate.”

Lynn spoke with reporters on Monday for the first time since his injury was diagnosed Sunday as a slight tendon tear near his right knee. Lynn is slated to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

Lynn said he felt a pop followed by a burning sensation while pitching during Saturday’s spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Sounds like it was going to go eventually anyway, so better now than the middle of the season and then I’ll be ready for the playoffs,” Lynn said. “If we play our cards right, everything goes smoothly, and we get back in the middle of the season and make a run.

“Big thing is we get in there and get it fixed. Hopefully sometime in June or so I should be back if everything goes perfectly.”

Lynn, 34, was 11-6 with a career-best 2.69 ERA in 28 starts during his first season with the White Sox in 2021. He also was named an All-Star for the second time in his career and finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting.

–Field Level Media