Posted on September 29, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2017 season isn’t yet over and the Chicago White Sox have already suffered their first setback of 2018. White Sox GM Rick Hahn announced Thursday that left Carlos Rodon has undergone arthroscopic shoulder surgery. The expected recovery timeline for Rodon is six to eight months. Under that timeline, Rodon may be able to make it back in time for opening day in 2018. But it’s also possible that he remains sidelined until June or July.
“The timing as to his return to a Major League mound is still difficult to pinpoint at this point and will be dependent on how his rehab goes,” Hahn said. “We will not know more of the specifics of that timing until Carlos completes his rehab and begins throwing in Spring Training.”
Rodon began the season as one of the bright spots on Chicago’s rebuilding roster. He posted a 3.75 ERA during his rookie season in 2015 and followed that up with a 4.04 ERA in 2016. However, Rodon was hampered by injuries all season. He began the year on the DL with biceps bursitis. He made his season debut in late June but only made 12 starts before being shut down with shoulder inflammation.
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When he was healthy, Rodon continued to pitch well despite a couple rocky outings. In 12 starts, Rodon was 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning. But for much of the summer, it was clear that something was off with Rodon.
“Part of it was that he obviously returned to form for a stretch there so when he started to regress a little bit and you did see some of it in some of his starts where it took him a few innings to get loose, you could tell from watching him it wasn’t quite right,” Hahn explained.
Fortunately, the surgery helped reveal the problem with Rodon’s shoulder. Hahn explained there was “significant bursitis” in Rodon’s shoulder, leading to the removal of dead and damaged tissue. The procedure also revealed no damage to Rodon’s labrum or rotator cuff, which is great news for the 24-year old’s long-term health. Hahn says the team is confident Rodon will make a full recovery and return to the form he had in 2015 and 2016.
“Again, any time you go into someone’s shoulder, you do so with the utmost caution and we don’t try to prognosticate too much on what’s going to wind up happening,” Hahn said. “But in terms of what was medically performed and what they saw inside the shoulder, it was as good as we could hope.”
Looking ahead to next year, veteran James Shields will help lead a rotation of young pitchers like Carson Fulmer, Reynaldo Lopez, and Lucas Giolito. Once Rodon is added to that group, the White Sox will have an immensely promising group of young starters.
Of course, the White Sox may prefer to be extra cautious with Rodon. That could create opportunities for other young pitchers like Michael Kopech and Zack Burdi. It may also force the White Sox to look for free agent veterans to supplement their rotation.
“We’re just going to be very cautious,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria. “He’s got an excellent arm, and he’s a kid we obviously see as a piece of the puzzle. When he gets back, he gets back. Hopefully some of the depth we have, some of the guys we have within the system and we’ll acquire along the way, will help us get through that point.”