Lopez seems fit for return
Rookie looks to be on target for Friday; Holland lit up again
MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie right- hander Reynaldo Lopez is ready to return to the White Sox’ rotation after missing a couple of starts with discomfort in his back.
Lopez, 23, made one good start and one bad one after a muchanticipated call- up from Class AAA Charlotte, the latter halted by a back issue he failed to speak up about before his outing. He is set to start when the Sox open a 10- game homestand Friday against the Rays.
The Sox haven’t officially named a starter for Friday, but ‘‘ tentatively it looks like it might be Lopey,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘ His side [ session of 30 to 35 pitches Tuesday] went very, very well.’’
Renteria indicated a six- man rotation in September isn’t likely, which probably means left- hander Derek Holland will be working out of the bullpen. Holland, who fell to 7- 14 with a 6.16 ERA after giving up five runs in five innings in an 11- 1 loss Wednesday to the Twins, probably will be the odd man out, Renteria said after the game, with Carlos Rodon, Miguel Gonzalez, Lucas Giolito, James Shields and Lopez the likely five. That’s assuming Gonzalez isn’t traded before the waiver deadline at 11 p. m. Thursday.
Lopez said he is 100 percent and feeling no pain.
‘‘ After I threw in the bullpen [ Tuesday], they were surprised because of the way I was throwing the ball,’’ Lopez said through an interpreter. ‘‘ They said, ‘ You are feeling really good, right?’ I told them, ‘ Yes, I’m feeling good.’ ’’
Lopez’s velocity was down in his second start with the Sox because of his back.
‘‘ Next time I’m going to be 100 percent with my velocity,’’ he said. ‘‘ That was one of the issues in my last outing, but right now I’m feeling good.
‘‘ Once I start throwing in the games again, I will probably be as good or better than I was before.’’
Holland, who will be a free agent after the season, again wasn’t good. He allowed eight hits — including a home run to Eddie Rosario, who also homered against reliever Mike Pelfrey — and walked four.
Holland, who signed a one- year, $ 6 million deal with the Sox last offseason, is frustrated with his performance but pleased that he is healthy again. Asked about his understanding of going to the bullpen — he has made two previous relief appearances this season — he said: ‘‘ Yeah. Oh, yeah. I know what my job is. I have to take whatever they give me.’’
When Holland hit the Twins’ Joe Mauer in the ribs with a 3- 1 fastball with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth, plate umpire Scott Barry warned both dugouts. Jose Abreu had been hit by Twins right- hander Jose Berrios in the top of the inning.
Berrios ( 12- 6, 3.80 ERA) struck out the side in the seventh to match his career high with 11. He yielded four hits in seven innings and displayed the kind of young, live arm the Sox hope to see from Lopez in the coming years.
Lopez, meanwhile, will look to get back on track after he allowed two runs in six innings in his first start with the Sox against the Royals on Aug. 11 at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed six earned runs in 4„ innings six days later on the road against the Rangers.
Lopez was 6- 7 with a 3.79 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 121 innings for Class AAA Charlotte.
‘‘ Lopey came in, made a nice splash and threw very, very well,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘ We were all concerned after he tweaked his back a little — or whatever that was — and he recovered from that pretty well. We’re looking to see him get back on the hill and see what he can do.’’
Rookie right- hander Reynaldo Lopez is on track to return to the Sox’ rotation Friday against the Rays. He missed a couple of starts with discomfort in his back. | GETTY IMAGES