As you may know, some injury news sent a shockwave through the White Sox fanbase this afternoon. Despite no particular details being given out, there was a sudden panic among fans of the Chicago White Sox as it was announced that Carlos Rodon would not only pitch in today’s game but is also going to undergo an MRI to examine his left bicep. With love in our hearts and Rodon on our minds we must now trudge through the five stages of grief over this (possible) injury.
Since the day that pitchers and catchers reported to White Sox camp, there was a bit of mystery surrounding Carlos Rodon. Rather than throw with the rest of the pitchers, Rodon was on his own schedule. That schedule revolved around private bullpen sessions with the coaching staff. The White Sox, and even Rodon himself, were quick to dispel any rumors that he may be injured. They were simply taking things slow. When it was announced that he might not even make a start during the first run through the rotation, worries arose again. Those worries were quickly forgotten when Rodon showed up and threw four impressive innings in his first start of Spring Training.
It was so easy to tell ourselves that everything was going to be fine. The White Sox were urging everyone to adopt that state of mind. He pitched well. All signs were that everything was going to be alright. Their slow path for him to start the season was merely a tactic to keep his arm from undergoing unnecessary stress. Even now that he’s having an MRI it’s easy to deny that anything is seriously wrong. After all, the initial exam went well according to Rick Hahn, and that his slow schedule had nothing to do with his injury. Perhaps there is a chance that he is actually okay and this is simply the utmost precaution.
With the White Sox trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton for a ton of pitching talent, there is a simple caveat. Those pitchers have to pan out. The same applies to pitchers who were already in the system or on the team. Carlos Rodon hasn’t quite panned out yet. Sure, he’s already been good enough to pass as a middle of the rotation starter in his first two seasons. However, he hasn’t quite reached the expectations laid out before him on draft day. A serious injury would only make things worse.
There’s absolutely nothing worse than having a rebuilding team, with almost no motivation to win games, lose a key young player to injury. Almost any other thing that happens to the team would be endurable. But not this. This is too far.
Pitcher injuries are never good. But they happen. They happen all the time to pitchers on teams around the league. It’s the cost of doing business, especially with young pitchers. If injuries have to happen to this White Sox pitching staff, couldn’t it have been someone else? I wouldn’t wish an injury on anyone, but Rodon is so important and has so much potential. Why did it have to be Carlos Rodon, the young pitcher with so much promise?
There’s a very really chance that this injury is far more serious than the White Sox are letting on. Sure, an MRI is often used as a precaution. But it should concern us just a little that the team was so secretive about the speed of Rodon’s spring up to this point. The combination of slow start to the spring, secret bullpen sessions, arm soreness, and an MRI don’t exactly inspire confidence. Any trouble with the arm is worrisome, and bicep soreness could point towards trouble with the elbow. If we continue to let ourselves fall down this slippery slope of worry, we arrive at the possibility of Tommy John Surgery. While there’s no indication that Rodon is anywhere close to needing that sort of serious surgery, the possibility naturally pops into our heads. Certainly that would have a massive impact on the direction of the rebuild from here on out. This could be very, very bad for both Rodon and the White Sox.
Pitchers get injured. As a White Sox fan, it’s hard to remember this. The luxury of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana over the past four seasons has allowed us to push the possibility of serious injury to a top starter to the back of our minds. The reality is that this sort of thing happens to teams around the league all the time. In fact, fans of other teams might even go so far to say that we should be thankful that it’s simply bicep soreness. Perhaps a little rest is all it will take for Rodon to be back in tip top shape. What this does mean, however, is that he’s likely to start the season on the disabled list. This causes issues for the White Sox pitching depth as they are, according to Rick Hahn, attempting to move their pitching prospects much more slowly through the system. Whoever takes Rodon’s turn(s) in the rotation, it will not be a prospect that they don’t think is completely ready.
The important thing to note right now is that it’s too early to really freak out about an injury of this sort. Once the results of the MRI are known, there can be either a sigh of relief or moment of dread. For now, we know that Rodon has been mysteriously dealt with all spring long and will undergo an MRI to determine if there is serious injury to the arm. It’s not the greatest news in the world, but so far it’s not completely damning either.
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