With 2017 being essentially a year free of the worries of competition for the Chicago White Sox, one of the main selling points for fan enjoyment was watching the young talent that was left behind develop and hopefully take that next step. The results were a bit of a mixed bag. Avisail Garcia finally broke out against all odds while Tim Anderson’s sophomore season showed somewhat of a slump (though I can’t imagine being particularly effective at my job if what he experienced in his personal life happened to me). And somewhere in the middle was Carlos Rodon pitching, well, pretty much like Carlos Rodon just sandwiched between season-starting and season-ending injuries.
Rodon struggled with upper biceps bursitis all season long and ultimately needed arthroscopic surgery to resolve the issue. His current timetable for a full return is 6-8 months, which seems fairly reasonable for a relatively non-invasive procedure and is generally good news seeing as that optimistically places his return at the end of spring training next March. And I have no reason to doubt that a professional athlete with a major league medical staff at his disposal can pull such a thing off.
Contrary to what you may occasionally read, surgery never makes the operated part stronger. That’s just not how the body works. Surgical repair at its most basic is cutting away part of the body and hoping what you leave behind will repair at an acceptable level. The ideal treatment for inflammatory issues not involving major organs is rest and medicating. Surgery should always be the last resort. And that has me worried.
Rodon is one of the more important parts of the rebuild. He’s young, cost-controlled, and has the kind of talent that is one breakout away from being perennial All-Star caliber. But he’s only managed to pitch 234.1 innings over the past two seasons and is now battling back from going under the knife. Speaking from experience as someone who has had arthroscopic surgery on their dominant shoulder, it’s not the most fun thing to live with. I’ve healed perfectly, but the lingering thought of “what if this movement puts me right back in that sling” hovers. The Sox need to play it careful with Rodon next season or risk losing the one currently-proven member of their future rotation in seasons that will actually matter.
Lead Photo Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports