CHICAGO -- White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon didn't feel right as he began to play catch pregame Thursday night.
That explanation was provided by the southpaw following an 11-2 White Sox loss at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Indians' franchise-record 15th straight win. It was a game that Rodon was scheduled to start, but instead he was scratched with left shoulder stiffness about 25 minutes before first pitch, giving way to Mike Pelfrey.
"I can't really put a finger on it," Rodon said of the shoulder issue. "Just a day you don't feel right and you know you don't want to be, you don't want to compete when you're not at your best. Didn't feel right."
"He said his shoulder felt sore," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "So we just thought instead of pushing him, use caution and take him out."
An MRI of Rodon's left shoulder will be taken on Friday, and he will be re-evaluated. His removal Thursday caused an interesting night on the mound for the South Siders.
Pelfrey, who had thrown 40 pitches and 2 2/3 innings in relief on Tuesday, got the replacement nod and allowed four runs before the first out was recorded. He yielded seven runs on eight hits over four innings, not exactly doing wonders for his ERA but earning respect in the White Sox clubhouse.
"That's a big pick-me-up for everybody," Renteria said. "As a baseball person, I respect him already, but like [pitching coach Don Cooper] says, he's at the top of my list for respect because that's kind of a tough thing to happen."
"They came in at 6:45 or 6:47 or something and said, 'Hey, you've got to go.' I was like, 'What?' 'You've got to go.' And I was like, 'All right, let's go,'" Pelfrey said. "I tried to make the most of it. Obviously it didn't work out too well. But it got to a point, I just tried to eat innings for the guys."
Chris Beck and Jace Fry followed Pelfrey to the mound, before giving way to catcher Rob Brantly in the ninth. Brantly warmed up with Beck in the second inning, but it was more to see if he could actually throw the baseball the necessary 60 feet, 6 inches with some accuracy.
By Brantly's estimation, he was a 12-year-old Little Leaguer when he last took the mound.
"My heart was pounding. When I was jogging down there, I got pretty nervous," said Brantly, who allowed a solo homer to Erik Gonzalez along with inducing two groundouts and a flyout. "Then the warmup pitchers were OK, but the first pitch I think I threw it maybe 40 feet. So that was a rough start, but once I threw a strike I kind of relaxed and got into the groove of it a little bit."
Rodon started the 2017 campaign on the disabled list due to biceps bursitis. He didn't debut until June 28 against the Yankees but has 76 strikeouts over 69 1/3 innings, and he had felt good until pregame Thursday.
"It's tough. It's frustrating," Rodon said. "It's like a roller-coaster going on right now. It felt really good, and it just spurts up on us."