Cease avoids serious injury in White Sox's win at Cleveland

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) gets a pat from Jose Abreu after getting hit by a ball off the bat of Cleveland Indians' Bradley Zimmer during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

    Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) gets a pat from Jose Abreu after getting hit by a ball off the bat of Cleveland Indians' Bradley Zimmer during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

 
 
Updated 9/24/2021 10:37 PM

The White Sox won a game and, more important, didn't lose another starting pitcher to injury Friday night.

Luis Robert's home run in the fifth inning was all the offense the Sox needed in a 1-0 decision over the Indians, and Dylan Cease is OK after taking a rocket one-hopper off his right triceps.

 

"It could have been a lot worse," Cease said after being hit by a 110-mph drive off the bat of Cleveland's Bradley Zimmer with one out in the sixth inning. "I think it's fine. Nice little bruise."

Cease threw three warmup pitches after getting hit before coming out of the game.

"I thought we caught a real break," manager Tony La Russa said. "It hit him in a spot, part of the muscle, wasn't sure if it nicked the elbow. But he said he felt good to throw and I said, 'You think you can.'

"But when you make a throw, you make an alteration, that's how you get hurt. I said, 'You can be upset at me if you want to, but that's not worth the risk.' "

Cease, who piled up 9 strikeouts while allowing 3 hits over 5⅓ innings, understood La Russa's decision.

"My arm was heavy," the 25-year-old righty said. "I tried to throw the warm-up pitches just to see if maybe it would relax or was one of those things I could throw through, but it was pretty apparent I wasn't going to be able to finish."

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The White Sox's bullpen picked up the slack, and it was encouraging to see Craig Kimbrel strike out the side in the eighth inning before Liam Hendriks worked a perfect ninth to earn his 35th save.

"I thought his delivery was really relaxed," La Russa said of Kimbrel. "The breaking ball, he had everything the other side doesn't like to see, command of nasty pitches."

Making his first start since June 13, when he went on the injured list with a right-shoulder injury, Indians ace Shane Bieber pitched 3 perfect innings.

Robert homered off reliever Trevor Stephan leading off the fifth.

"(Stephan) made a mistake," La Russa said. "We didn't get too many mistakes to hit today, but (Robert) got one there and you just see the carry that he gets when he catches it right."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Injury update:

After missing 12 games with lower-back inflammation, Andrew Vaughn came off the injured list Thursday and played in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Cleveland.

Vaughn was back in the White Sox's lineup Friday.

"I asked Andrew today if his legs were OK to play right field and he said yes," manager Tony La Russa said.

Adam Engel, who was reinstated from the injury Tuesday after being sidelined over a month with left-shoulder soreness, was not available Friday due to a leg injury.

"Adam made a move one of the times he was on base (Thursday), as he's rounding first base, where he felt a little discomfort," La Russa said.

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