Bernstein: What’s Up With Carlos Rodon?

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Somewhere in Arizona, the elusive and mythical creature known as Carlos Rodon is said to be “throwing off a mound.” That’s good to hear, considering that he’s a professional baseball player, drafted by the White Sox third overall in 2014 with the expectation that he do just that for them in actual games.

We have yet to see blurry photos or grainy amateur video to confirm that this is happening, so we take team officials at their word that he’s making progress in recovering from some kind of nebulous injury. There’s a risk to that trust, of course, because his abbreviated training program in spring camp was said to be routine up until he was placed on the 10-day disabled list April 2 with what was described as “tightness” in his left arm — the one he uses to pitch.

That became “biceps bursitis” shortly thereafter, and he was then transferred to the 60-day DL on May 4. We were told an MRI revealed no structural damage.

Yet the circumstances merit further scrutiny, medical sources told 670 The Score.

“There is no such thing as biceps bursitis,” one doctor said. “There’s biceps tendinitis, and there’s shoulder/subacromial bursitis, but there really isn’t a clinical entity known as biceps bursitis.

“Either this is simply being misreported or misnamed by accident, or there is something more significant going on.”

The doctor specifically raised the idea of a small labral tear despite the reportedly clean MRI, due to how often such injuries fail to show up via that imaging.

“‘Arm fatigue’ and ‘biceps pain’ usually means labral issue,” an experienced orthopedist said. “Not all labral tears need surgery, but an exploratory arthroscopy could be next if he continues to struggle.”

As Rodon rehabilitates, his name has been conspicuously absent in some of the projections of the future rotation, with the minors now restocked with possibilities after the twin hauls brought back from dealing Chris Sale to the Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Nationals. More attention is being paid to Carson Fulmer, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez with Rodon out of sight and out of mind.

He remains a critical component of their envisioned contending team however, just 24 years old and with a pedigree that suggests he should be at or near the top of a big-league rotation. It may behoove the White Sox to scope out what really could be wrong with their potential star pitcher now while they begin to rebuild and give him all the care and time he needs to get back to whatever he can be.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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