CHICAGO – The White Sox placed Carlos Rodón on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation prior to Thursday's series opener against the Red Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
But the injury seemingly runs deeper for the team’s Opening Day starter, as general manager Rick Hahn and Rodon explained, with Tommy John surgery a possibility.
“We don’t have a specific treatment plan in place yet, but at this point, I can just say everything is on the table,” Hahn said. “I can’t rule anything out. We have to get everybody involved and understand exactly what we are dealing with and come up with consensus for the best course.”
“Anything's on the table to fix the issue,” Rodon said. “Honestly, I'm only 26 years old, luckily, and hopefully I can play this game for 10 more years. So, I'm still fairly young. If it's Tommy John, so be it to get me back on this field.”
Rodon pitched well through three innings during his start in Chicago's 5-4 loss to the Orioles in Game 1 of a doubleheader Wednesday, but he needed 41 pitches during a fourth inning he would not finish. It was after that fourth when tightness Rodon had been experiencing at some level all season got him good, according to the southpaw.
A post-start examination was performed by the White Sox team physicians, during which Rodon felt some tenderness in the forearm. Studies ordered by the team revealed edema in the flexor mass, according to Hahn, which essentially is some blood in the muscle.
“That’s not a good thing, obviously. Trying to figure out the cause of that is ultimately what will dictate the course of action,” Hahn said. “There’s going to be follow-up studies, there’s going to be consultations with second-opinion docs, and over the course of the next several days or week or so, we’ll come up with a specific plan. At this point, you can say, based simply upon the edema, he’s going to be down for a little while.”
It would be easy for Rodon to feel sorry for himself with this latest injury. In parts of five big league seasons, the third overall pick in the 2014 Draft has never topped 30 starts. He made 12 starts in 2017 before having season-ending shoulder surgery in September and then rehabbed his way back to make 20 starts in 2018. Dylan Covey will replace Rodon in the starting rotation.
Self-pity doesn’t seem to be in Rodon’s range of emotions, which is an admirable quality. He’s frustrated, but understands injuries are out of anyone’s control.
“How many guys in this game have had elbow issues or whatever? It doesn't matter. Any sort of injury, it happens,” said Rodon, who is 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings this season. “I can't say, 'Why me?' I'm not going to sit and mull over it and go, 'Oh, poor me, poor this, poor that.’
“Our guys are still out here. We've got a game today. So, I'm going to be out here on the bench cheering them on. Things like this happen. It's the second time now that something like this happens, and there's not much you can do about it. You've just got to roll with the punches.”
Speaking of punches, Hahn understands that feeling as he deals with another setback for an important contributor to the rebuild and beyond.
“'Punch in the gut' is one of many phrases we’ve been throwing around here over the last few hours. Due to FCC regulations, I won’t say some of the other ones,” Hahn said. “Yeah, it’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. At the same time, it’s the by-product of having a significant number of potentially impactful guys.
“When you are focused on the potential futures of 25, 30, 35 guys in this organization that you believe have high upsides, a handful of them are going to have injury issues on the way. It’s disappointing, and on the individual basis, you feel for that player and you are disappointed they won’t be able to take that next step in their development for the period of time they are down. But looking at the larger picture, we are aiming to put ourselves in a position where we can withstand things like this.”