By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — This 2017 season has for the most part been one of optimism for the White Sox as it pertains to their young prospects and new talent making its way to the big leagues. But much of that good feeling was tempered Thursday, when general manager Rick Hahn announced that left-hander Carlos Rodon had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Rodon expected to be out six to eight months rehabbing and recovering. That six-month timeline would push up to Opening Day late next March. Once thought to be the future leader of the White Sox staff, Rodon may now be the question mark of the future.
The White Sox slowed rolled Rodon in spring training, holding his schedule and workload back. He made just one start in Cactus League play before he was shut down with biceps bursitis. His debut on June 28 then began an unfulfilling season, as he went 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 69 1/3 inning across 12 starts. Rodon, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, was then shut down with shoulder inflammation in early September.
Rodon’s future is now in limbo during a time in which young pitchers Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer have pushed their way into the rotation mix.
“The surgery revealed significant bursitis in his left shoulder,” Hahn said. “The shoulder was debrided. The good news is that the labrum and biceps were viewed as normal. He is expected to make a full recovery. The timing of this return is still dependent on how his rehab goes. There will not be any updates on timing until we get to Glendale next spring training.”
Rodon has encountered many bumps in the road in three-year professional career. He has a career 3.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Rodon has shown promise in averaging more than a strikeout per inning in his career, but he’s also struggled with command at ties, and his conditioning has been a question mark of late. Some believed Rodon reported to spring training earlier this season a tad heavy.
“Wipeout stuff,” an American League scout said. “His problem, like many young pitchers, is consistent performances. He seems to get frustrated early in games. Really, he should be a consistent 15-game winner. When he commands the fastball, the hitters are going to have a bad day. His slider has been as good as any pitcher since he was in college.”
The White Sox did their best to protect Rodon from injury this season, but at some point, you just have to let it fly. Rodon will turn turn in December, and there’s still hope his future is bright.
There’s just more doubt than there was before as well.
“The MRIs and multiple doctors who were consulted agreed all along it was bursitis,” Hahn said. “However, once rehab allowed him to return but not stay healthy, there was a concern for everyone involved. You never want to see a surgical procedure take place, especially on a pitcher’s arm. It got to a point where this became the best way to determine what was going on. We are pleased, though it is a real issue, that he has a good prognosis going forward.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.